Carmel Christmas time dining
My family (me, husband and grown kids) is heading to Carmel ,CA for 4 nights including Christmas. We are from the Bay Area, so are not strangers to good food, and are looking for some breakfast/lunch/dinner options; it's been a long time since we've been to Carmel. We will be staying not far from Ocean Ave, so walkable places would be especially nice, but not necessary. We are diverse eaters, like eclectic California cuisine (for lack of a better term), Italian, Greek, Asian are fine, love seafood . A mixture of expensive (but not stuffy) and less expensive options would be great.
re: Melanie Wong
Hi there Melanie, and thanks again to all who gave me such great ideas.
We went to: Flying Fish Grill, Little Napoli (with friends who requested we go there specifically), Passionfish, Andre's Bouchee Bistro (for Xmas), and for a quick sandwich, Bruno's. I really wanted to go to La Balena, but they had been closed for vacation before we left, and by then we didn't have many "slots" left to fill-- and they were not open on Christmas day. Demetra and Basil were not open for Christmas either. Breakfast became a moot point, we just stuck to the continental breakfast provided by the hotel to keep it simple ( and relatively cheap) , and most days we didn't bother with lunch.
We did drive to Nepenthe for lunch one day, which was not about the food (only OK) but about the view, which sadly turned out to be impaired by a lot of fog cover just above the water. Still, it was sunny ( despite the fog cover, go figure!) and fun to finally see the place that was so iconic in Big Sur. Visiting the Nepenthe store was a lot of fun, lots of interesting and unusual things to browse through.
Of all of the restaurants, Passionfish was my favorite; in addition to the excellent food, my husband appreciated the unusual and not too outrageously expensive wine list. I'd say that Little Napoli was the weakest, and that Andre's Bouchee was good, but not great ( but Christmas is a tough day for great restaurant food, IMHO). I did enjoy Flying Fish as well, less innovative than Passionfish, but well prepared and fresh .
And the good news is I have a lot of suggestions to try for our next visit: La Balena, Mundaka, Dametra, Basil, to name a few.
Again, many thanks, for the suggestions, Chow contributors!
I grew up just outside of carmel- a few local favorites:
Casanova- upscale french influences, excellent sevice and wine
Katy's place, esp breakfast- it's casual and cheap with great food
Bruno's market- great to pick up sandwiches , snacks, wine
In carmel valley go to wagon wheel for a casual breakfast or lunch, baja cantina for mexican dinner
Sorry but sushi, asian and japanese in the area will pale in comparison to anything in sf
Thanks, Trockwood! I remember liking Katy's last time we were there years ago, now that you mention it -- and a friend took me to Cassanova's ages ago too -- nice to know they are still there and worth a visit. Bruno's is new to me, so I'll check it out. And since Monterey Aquarium is on the list of things to do, the Fish Wife and Sea Harvest are good tips as well. Not sure we'll make it to Carmel Valley, but now we've got some choices ;-) And I can live without Asian and save it for when we're back home, so that's fine.
Since you mention Fish Wife and the MBA together I would suggest Passionfish in PG instead. The FW location across from Asilomar was good years ago but I believe the Fremont St. one gets better reviews recently.
Haven't been for a while but the Monterey Fish House not far from the Aquarium has been consistently good.
My wife and I were in Carmel last month and had two very nice diners. The first was at Basil. They are trying to work with seasonal, local ingredients and doing a good job of it. The second night we ate at Dametra. They are advertising Mediterranean cuisine, but it leans towards Greek. Regardless, we really enjoyed the meal and it was obviously a local favorite that looked to be booked up each evening. The other meal we had in town was a burger at Aw Shucks. It was good solid meal that didn’t break the bank. I’d eat there again, but I don’t know that I’d necessarily make it a must go to destination.