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Apr 19, 2012 03:23 PM

Four dinners in Carmel/Monterey area

We've not been to the Carmel/Monterey area for about a year, and are wondering if there's anything new or great that we shouldn't miss during an upcoming visit. We very much miss Citronelle which closed after a short stint in Carmel Valley...and Fresh Cream when it was in Monterey. On our last visit, we didn't have any great dinners, although Fandango in Pacific Grove and Grasing's in Carmel were pretty good. Cantinetta Luca was good...but for lunch. Where would you go for 4 terrific dinners in the area? Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn has been great in the past, although it's a bit far, especially if you have dinner with drinks and a bottle of wine. Help will be appreciated!

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  1. Have you been to Aubergine? We've had consistently excellent meals there in the last year.

    I'm awaiting the opening of Lokal in Carmel Valley.

    1. If you haven't been to Aubergine then go....

      2 Replies
      1. re: HoosierFoodie

        Unfortunately, Aubergine will not work for us in that one person is a very picky eater for whom lettuce and tomatoes with thick goopy blue cheese dressing and well done filet mignon with fries is about as adventuresome as he will go. Most places can handle this, but Aubergine would be a problem.

        1. re: josephnl

          You didn't say you were traveling with my father in law ;)

          Mundaka probably wouldn't work either then.

          I like La Bicyclette as well but their soup and salad courses are no choice. You can only choose the main. The menu changes frequently so you can walk by earlier in the day to see if it might work.

          Other than Aubergine, I would describe all of these as very good rather than great.

      2. If you haven't been to Passionfish, it is worth a try. Wine list is huge and priced nearly at retail. It is not as fancy and does not have upscale ambiance, but I can't visit the area without at least one meal there.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ed Dibble

          Pacific's Edge @ The Highland's Inn is very good with gorgeous views. Our new favorite in Monterey is Restaurant 1833 where we have enjoyed two fantastic meals. :)

          1. re: syrahgirl

            We had a very disappointing meal at Pacific's Edge last year. Nothing tasted that great and my abalone and my husband's wagyu were both overcooked. The view was spectacular but it definitely felt like that's what we were paying for.

          2. re: Ed Dibble

            We really don't like Passionfish, mainly because of the incredible noise and very variable service. The food is pretty good however.

            1. re: josephnl

              You're right about the noise--though I have been generally lucky with my servers. I usually request a table on the east (southeast) side of the restaurant, the longer room, where the loudness is less pronounced.

          3. Mundaka - Carmel
            The Sardine Factory - Monterey

            1 Reply
            1. re: glbtrtr

              Mundaka is very good.

              Basil in Carmel is worth a try if you haven't been. Depending on when you're there, they do a special tasting menu on the first few weekdays of every month. They're very capable but don't always deliver.

            2. We had a great dinner at charming La Bicyclette a few months ago. We enjoyed the lamb & the filet prix fixe & felt it was a good value. Also loved the lentil curry soup presented in a copper sauce pan (?).