It’s been said that Carmel-By-The-Sea, California has more fine restaurants per capita than any spot on earth. When you walk the quaint streets of this charming city, you’ll become a believer as well. Some restaurants feature longtime celebrity chefs and others are relative newcomers. Most restauranteurs take advantage of the abundance of fresh California fruits, vegetables and beef, bringing the farm to fork concept to life.
Take a Stroll
Carmel is only one square mile, so you’ll feel comfortable meandering through the lovely streets. With 46 special pathways that go through hidden alcoves, be like the locals and take the shortcuts. Make sure you pick up a copy of The Carmel Pine Cone.
Gael Gallagher’s Carmel Walking Tour is a great way to see the town’s highlights. Is that the Eastwood building? Did Van Gogh really eat at this table? Einstein and Dali were here? Gallagher tells all. CarmelWalks.com
Walk and Wine with Carmel Food Tours
Thankfully, there’s lots of walking on this culinary experience as you visit seven of Carmel’s special eateries. Highlights include Casanova Restaurant with its excellent gnocchi and Van Gogh’s table; Trio Carmel
featuring specialty olive oils and vinegars, tasty over ice cream; Figge’s Cellars for wine and Lula’s Chocolates, the perfect finale. Or, go with their “Gimme a Break-Fast Tour” from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Sample the house favorites and come back for the whole enchilada. CarmelFoodTour.com.
For a $10 tasting at each of nine tasting rooms, buy the Carmel WINE WALK passports for $65 at the Carmel Visitor Center.
From casual to upscale, Carmel offers a range of restaurants
to satisfy every palate. Here are a few recommendations:
Mundaka – This tapas restaurant is fun and funky with
Spanish-influenced cuisine. Try the marcona almonds
and assorted Mediterranean olives for starters. The paella
varies daily and is heavenly with the best Sangria in town.
For more than three decades, Anton & Michel has been a Carmel classic, serving fresh, creative California cuisine highlighted with spectacular flambé desserts. Go with the
wild mushroom risotto and rack of lamb with citrus-port sauce as you look out at the sparkling “Court of the Fountains.”
Pepe’s Vesuvio serves authentic Southern Italian cuisine
made from his family’s traditional recipes. Start with their
artichoke lollipops (fresh from the nearby artichoke capital of the world), certified Angus steaks or classic
pastas. Add a glass of wine from the Pepe Winery which combines Italian traditions with Napa-style
Oh, and Carmel Beach
Lest one forget, there is the beautiful azure beach just a few blocks down. Dogs run off leash, warming fires are
allowed during the week and there’s a myriad of water sports to suit your fancy. Walking back to my hotel at night with the gentle ocean breezes blowing, I felt renewed and
uplifted. That’s the magic of Carmel.
Photos courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.org
By Mira Temkin