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Aug 8, 2011 10:31 AM

4 day trip from SFO to Carmel and Big Sur, best inexpensive restaurants?

My boyfriend and I are getting into SFO on a Friday afternoon and spending 3 nights in Carmel and the 4th in Big Sur. My plan so far is to stop in Salinas for some tacos at El Grullense and then get dinner in Carmel. We will probably do a combination of lunch and dinner out and some picnics in Carmel. It looks like the places that stand out from other reviews are:

Cantinella Luca
Passionfish in Pacific Grove
California Market

And for picnic provisions:
Bountiful Basket
Bruno's Market
the Cheese Shop

For dinner in Big Sur, I think we will bring a picnic because the place we are staying is pretty remote. We will probably pick up some food and a bottle of wine in Carmel before heading out. We will probaby go to the Big Sur Bakery on Tuesday morning before we head back up.

Anything I should consider instead? We are trying to keep expenses down because hotels were so high, so trying for under $20 mains wherever possible. We might splurge on a drink at Sierra Mar if we can still see the view from the bar.

701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Big Sur Bakery
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

California Market Restaurant
120 Highland Dr, Carmel, CA

Sierra Mar Restaurant
Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

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  1. cs53, just an fyi for your planning, Passionfish is dinner only and California Market is breakfast and lunch only.
    If you are interesting in wine tasting, an afternoon in Carmel Valley is fun. It's about 25 mins E. of Carmel and has several small tasting rooms. Also, two really nice lunch places are Corkscrew Bistro and Rustica. If it's foggy on the coast, Carmel Valley makes for a nice sunny change.
    I might add Dametra in downtown Carmel to your list. Their reviews are outstanding. Another idea, if you want take-out for your room or the beach is Tommy's Wok in downtown Carmel. I like to do take-out because the place is so small and can really get crowded.
    Think about a drink at Nepenthe too in Big Sur. Can't beat the view! The food is expensive, but we love the place, in spite.

    701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

    California Market Restaurant
    120 Highland Dr, Carmel, CA

    Dametra Cafe
    Ocean Ave, Carmel, CA 93923

    Tommy's Wok
    , Carmel, CA 93923

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gail

      Thanks, that's really helpful!