Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

64 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 food Pacific’s Edge International The timeless spot relaxes visitors with soulstirring ocean views, a huge wine list and award-winning cuisine that can be both global and comforting. Even the simple dishes rely on French technique and the finest ingredients. 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel. (831) 622-5445, Pangaea Grill Global, Fusion Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner (all boozy—they even have honking breakfast cocktails), it’s hard to tire of this restaurant. Go from rack of lamb to Thai coconut curry to kalbi. And it’s worth traveling the world their way. Ocean between Lincoln and Dolores, Carmel. (831) 624-2569, pangaeagrillcarmel. com Pescadero Mexican With dishes inspired by the flavors of Baja, Pescadero puts a fresh spin on both contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes. On Wednesdays they extend their geographic reach with pupusas. San Carlos and 7th, Carmel. (831) 624-7400, pescaderocarmel. com PortaBella European Here you can choose between Spanish, French or Italian cuisine, paired with a glass of California wine. Those are good options to have. Ocean between Lincoln and Monte Verde, Carmel. (831) 624-4395, Promesa Spanish Set in a handsome, inviting villa, Promesa offers tapas—as simple as marcona almonds dressed in olive oil and Maldon sea salt or as expressive as ham croquettes—cheeses, charcuterie and a few main plates. Mission between 5th and 6th, Carmel. (831) 5748665, R.G. Burgers Burgers Gourmet hamburgers are the mission here, where the Real Good (“RG”) burgers come in Western barbecue, Mediterranean and other styles. RG also serves bison, turkey and falafel burgers. 201 Crossroads Blvd., Carmel. (831) 626-8054, Robata Grill and Sake Bar Japanese An impressive sushi bar is the centerpiece of this colorful Japanese restaurant. Robata also keeps the central dining room grill hot, offering meats along with side dishes with a distinct flair for the unusual. 3658 The Barnyard, Carmel. (831) 624-2643 Rio Grill Southwestern, American A vibrant, lively atmosphere complements Rio Grill’s innovative mix of California and Southwest regional cuisine, with a spread of evolving dishes. Rio is one of the area’s most cherished institutions. Worthy cocktails, too. 101 Crossroads Blvd., Carmel. (831) 6255436, Sea Harvest Fish Market and Restaurant Seafood All manner of seafood, in the case to take home or from the kitchen as you like it—fried, broiled or grilled. 100A Crossroads Blvd., Carmel. (831) 626-3626, Seventh & Dolores Steakhouse, American This boutique steakhouse fashions itself as a temple of meat and wine—and mixology designed “to keep boring people away.” As elegant as caviar (you can get a full tin), as casual as a bowl of grits. Lots of wet- and dryaged steaks. 7th and Dolores, Carmel. (831) 293-7600, Shearwater Tavern American One of the county’s hidden gems, the kitchen will surprise you. Tater tots are actually beautiful croquettes. The burger includes Wagyu beef in the mix. The menu is pared down, but offers plenty. 3665 Rio Road at Highway 1 (in Carmel Mission Inn), Carmel. (831) 624-1841, Stationæry Eclectic This tucked away place started a buzz thanks to its changing menu and lively but cozy atmosphere. The fare is simple yet has an elegance (lobster rolls, for instance, that can be dressed with caviar), the room is nicely appointed. San Carlos between 5th and 6th, Carmel. (831) 250-7183, Sur American Contemporary California cuisine and comfort fare served up in generous portions complement a lively space. They haven’t downsized cocktails, either. 3601 The Barnyard, Carmel. (831) 250-7188, Sushi Heaven Japanese This cozy Carmel sushi joint gets a following for its seafood, complex flavors, creative presentation and friendly service. Nice lunch and dinner combos are a strength too. Dolores between 7th and 8th, Carmel. (831) 6252067, The Cottage Breakfast, Lunch Traditional breakfast dishes with homey touches like waffles with walnuts—it’s a grandma thing—that you can also order for lunch. But why pass up egg salad sandwiches or patty melts? Lincoln between Ocean and 7th, Carmel. (831) 625-6260, cottagerestaurant. com The Grill International An intimate space with welcoming service and large windows for Ocean Avenue people watching. The menu is approachable with some California twists. Ocean between Mission and San Carlos, Carmel. (831) 574-8691, The Noodle Palace Vietnamese Plenty of noodles, buns, rice bowls and the like. Yes, that means respectable pho. The added Carmel touch? There’s a decent wine list for pairing. 3678 The Barnyard, Carmel. (831) 622-7777, The Pocket International The Pocket aims for comfort done well. Think grill meat and fish, pasta, charcuterie plates—familiar fare. The menu changes with the seasons, and there is a happy hour menu featuring quick bites. Lincoln between 5th and 6th, Carmel. (831) 626-8000, The Restaurant at Mission Ranch Steakhouse Given the plump sheep grazing on greenery against dramatic views of Point Lobos, white picket fences and a large outdoor patio, there’s plenty of charm to go around at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch. Mission Ranch Hotel, 26270 Dolores St., Carmel. (831) 6259040 The Tuck Box Breakfast, Lunch A comforting spot for a simple breakfast or lunch. But it may be the only place to order Welsh rarebit. And afternoon tea service gives one a chance to pause the day, Old World style. Dolores between Ocean and 7th, Carmel. (831) 624-6365, Tommy’s Wok Chinese You can order dishes that are inspired by Hunan and Szechuan flavors. Or go with traditional dishes done Tommy style. Mission between Ocean and 7th, Carmel. (831) 6248518, Toro Sushi Japanese Unlike so many sushi places, the folks at Toro keep a short list of specialty rolls, as well as a few seared rolls. There are, of course, the classics as well as nigiri, sashimi, hand rolls and a list of entrees. Dolores between 5th and 6th, Carmel. (831) 574-3255,