Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

58 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 food to find plant-based seafood next to a Wagyu burger?). And the chef draws on local ingredients. 47225 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 6673100, Nepenthe American People come for the scenery and fall in love with the food, drinks and charismatic staff. For more than 75 years, Nepenthe has been cooking up all-American favorites like steak, seafood and burgers; it also boasts one of the world’s best south-facing views of the Pacific. 48510 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 667-2345, Restaurant at River Inn American Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be served inside. But there’s that deck seemingly part of the forest itself, and the plates—meat, chicken, fish, salads—can be brought outdoors. 46800 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 667-2700, Sierra Mar American Wine Spectator Grand Award. Caviar. Wagyu— all of that speaks to the level of this much-honored destination. There is a prix fixe menu of four courses and offerings change, often daily. The quality does not. Reservations required for dinner. 47900 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 667-2800, The Lodge Restaurant International An ode to seasonal ingredients in four courses, with many of the herbs and vegetables plucked from the property’s organic garden. That happens six days a week. On Fridays it’s more casual, with pizza from a wood-fired oven. Reservations recommended. TreeBones Resort, 71895 Highway 1, Big Sur. (805) 9272390, The Sur House International Organic, seasonal produce harvested from Ventana’s gardens allows for cooking and presentation with an upscale flair, though without being stuffy. The dishes are on the level with the patio’s Pacific-facing views. Alila Ventana Big Sur, 48123 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 6674242, Wild Coast Sushi Bar Japanese All dining is an experience, especially here. Wild Coast is an omakase restaurant, with 15 artful tasting courses of the chef’s choice for eight lucky people each seating (book well in advance). There are no vegan or vegetarian options. Treebones Resort, 71895 Highway 1, Big Sur. (805) 927-2390, Delis, Markets and Shops Big Sur Deli This place has been around for three decades. They serve the expected range of deli sandwiches (loaded), as well as some nice breaks from the usual. 47520 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 667-2225 Bakeries, Ice Cream and other Treats Big Sur Bakery You can order some rustic loaves to match the scenery, sure. Be aware, however, that the “bakery” also more than dabbles in dinner, with pizzas, fish, steak, salads—it’s not what you expect. 47540 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 667-0520, Carmel Aabha Indian Cuisine Indian Aabha’s kitchen makes tikka masala a specialty. You say tikka masala is not uniquely Indian? Well, the tikka is—and it is free-range chicken. They also prepare butter chicken, rogan josh, curries, vindaloos, biryanis, tandoori dishes and more. 3690 The Barnyard, Carmel. (831) 250-5940, Akaoni Japanese Sashimi and other dishes are wonders. The tofu can be memorable. There’s an elegance— and then there are the new items scribbled on the board. Amberjack gill, perhaps. Or steamed monkfish liver. This is not your typical American sushi place. Mission and 6th, Carmel. (831) 620-1516 Allegro Gourmet Pizzeria Pizza, Italian A longtime institution for pizza, pasta and salads that marry Old World Italian recipes with a 21st-century California vibe. Allegro was the first parlor in the area to treat pizza as gourmet, yet the vibe is low-key, and the prices are family friendly. 3770 The Barnyard, Carmel. (831) 626-5454, Alvarado Street Brewery & Bistro International, Brewpub This ASB outpost opened late in 2018 to a rather heady response. Their array of sour beers drew one crowd, but the unexpectedly elevated pub fare appealed to a different sort. And yet it all works. Mission between Ocean and 7th (in Carmel Plaza), Carmel. (831) 2938621, Anton & Michel International Anton & Michel is classic, right down to the gracious service. It’s the type of place you expect to find duck breast, rainbow trout or New York steak, but also spring rolls with a fine dining touch. Indoor or patio seating. Mission between Ocean and 7th, Carmel. (831) 624-2406, Aubergine International Awarded the Central Coast’s only Michelin star, this is a 12-table gem of orchestrated excellence, along with a cellar which features a 3,500-bottle wine collection. The eightcourse menu changes daily, based on the finest ingredients. L’Auberge Carmel, Monte Verde and 7th, Carmel. (831) 624-8578, Chez Noir