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Carmel, Cambria recs

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My wife and I are foodies from NOLA & NC, traveling the Cental Coast for the first time. Our sweet spot would be $20 to $30 main course each, but would go more for a special dinner, hopefully inventive, no steakhouse or Tourist "view" places ( although a good inventive dinner with view would be fine). We have heard of Passionfish, but that is the extent of our knowledge.
Also, is this area an early or late eating crowd in general? Thanks

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  1. Carmel is definitely an early eating town. We were wandering around looking for a bite to eat after 10:00pm one Saturday evening and found 2 restaurants still open.

    I posted a recent report http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/851540 All of the places we went are in your price point with Aubergine being a splurge.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PattyC

      Thanks, PattyC, we hate to be the first or last anyplace.

    2. Mundaka in Carmel - tapas and sangria, plus menu items. Very much a taste of Carmel and enjoyed by locals in a charming Carmel courtyard

      1 Reply
      1. re: glbtrtr

        Thanks! That sounds great