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Jan 7, 2012 02:40 PM

did research; need help deciding on lunch in Carmel (or environs) with views of the water?

Hi all,

I'm driving down to Carmel from San Francisco on a Tuesday in a few weeks. Is California Market my only (and/or my best option) for lunch with a water view? I gather Mission Ranch has a slight view of the water?

I'm not sure I have the time to drive down to Nepenthe or Post Ranch Inn and unfortunately a lot of the recommended restaurants (ie Passionfish, Mundaka, Aubergine) are not open for lunch, although I don't think they have a view of the water anyway. (I'm traveling with a Hungarian who would ideally like to see the ocean.)

Would California Market be better than the options in Monterey (Sand bar and grill or the restaurant inside the Aquarium)? None of the above post their menus online, but I'm fine with a casual/light lunch as long as the food is good!

Are there other options I'm missing?

Thanks for your help/advice!

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  1. ebb, the Mission Ranch is open for dinner and Sunday brunch only. I think the California Market is your best bet. You might take a look at the restaurants in the Pebble Beach area too.
    Roy's at the Inn at Spanish Bay has ocean views as do a couple of the restaurants at the Lodge at Pebble Beach.
    The Sandbar and Grill, though one of our favorites, is a cut below the ones mentioned above. If you do decide you want something more casual, take a look at Massaro and Santos on the coast guard pier in Monterey.
    The drive to Nepenthe is about 40 mins non stop from the Highlands Inn. It would be full of jaw dropping views for your Hungarian friend if you find you can squeeze it in.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gail

      Thanks so much for the advice Gail. The pebble beach restaurants look good; I'll run the options by the Hungarian and see if he has any strong opinions.

      I don't think California Market's menu is online - is it similar to Nepenthe (ie sandwiches and salads) or are there regular entrees?

      1. re: ebb32

        You are right, the menu isn't online. Al least I couldn't find it. Since at lunch, I'm not looking for entrees but rather sandwiches or salads I can't remember for certain whether or not they are on the menu. They have a really good quesadilla. The fish tacos are highly touted...think I'll have them next time. They serve breakfast and lunch only so you might want to check when one ends and the other starts. Also, it's important to get a rail table for the best view. We get there just when lunch service begins and have been lucky.
        Have fun but do try to consider the coastal drive to Big Sur.
        If you end up in Pebble Beach, the entrance fee is $9-$10 which will be refunded at the restaurant you choose.

    2. Quite frankly, do try to find the time to go to Big Sur for views of wild California. South of Carmel the coastline is dramatically different and spectacular. Otherwise, stay in San Francisco for better food and views.

      Pebble Beach is beautiful in its prim and manicured way. Here's the photo of the picture post card view from our table at the Stillwater Bar & Grill at The Lodge.

      But can't compare to the scenery down Hwy 1 to Big Sur.

      Stillwater Bar & Grill
      17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA 93953

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Hi Gail and Melanie,

        Thanks again for the advice. Unfortunately, I don't have a report to make as the Hungarian was unable to make the trip at the last minute. Next time....

      2. We like Rocky Point for views of the wild coast with decent to pretty good food. Stick to the basics: hamburger, breakfasts. Just 10 miles south of Carmel, you can save yourself hours of switchback driving and upset stomachs.