Best Restaurants in Carmel, CA

Best Restaurants in Carmel, CA

Carmel, CA, with its fairy-tale cottages and cobbled streets, offers more than just scenic beauty; it is home to diverse restaurants that promise an unforgettable dining experience. From family-owned bistros serving traditional Italian fare to sophisticated establishments offering cutting-edge Californian food, join us as we explore the best restaurants in Carmel, CA.

For anyone new to Carmel by the Sea: We don’t use street addresses.  The addresses here are directional.  Avenues run east and west (1 through 13) except for Ocean Avenue. Streets with names run north and south. See end of page for clarification of our curious addresses and direction hints. Carmel and Carmel Valley as you will see do have street addresses and GPS will work,( don’t try in Carmel by the Sea!)


Junipero and 6th, Carmel, CA 93923

+1 831 625 1766

Chef Pepe’s downtown favorite of ours. Corner of Junipero and 6th across from Devendorf park a block from Carmel Plaza.

Il Fornio

Ocean Avenue at Monte Verde St. P.O. Box 5655,
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

(831) 622-5100
[email protected]

Italian? Although many locations are open they are true to form and the food and service are amazing. AND this one is in downtown Carmel!

Located in the Pine Inn off Ocean Avenue just blocks from Carmel by the Sea's white sandy dog friendly beach.

Links Club

Ocean Avenue At Mission Street, Carmel Plaza, Suite 101 (first Floor), Carmel, CA 93921

+1 831 250 7816

Mission and Ocean Avenue (in Carmel Plaza off Mission down the steps, park in the garage end of the block to ease frustration)

Golf simulator games, well it’s the food! Full bar with wine and spirits, great tacos and other bar fare. Don’t forget to get the pretzels! Weekly activities such as trivia night to drink, snack and meet people. Tell Scott I sent you.

The Treehouse Café

San Carlos St, Between 7th & 8th, Carmel, CA 93921

+1 831 626 1111

Zaid “Z” (and crew absolutely make this part rooftop and formal interior Mediterranean restaurant a favorite spot. Greek, middle eastern and international fare as are the staff. One and a half blocks off Ocean Ave on San Carlos between 7th and 8th Ave (on the right heading south, look for the deck just above the sidewalk. Try the pasta shop next to the restaurant if able to do any home cooking.

Terry’s Lounge (In the Cypress Inn Hotel)

Lincoln and 7th, Cypress Inn, Carmel, CA 93921

+1 831 620 7454

Legendary actress Doris Day and Dennis (Denny) Levett ensured a pet friendly and elegant get away and great dining before her death in 2019 at 97. Denny continues to operate the business and is often seen dressed to the nines on site.

Anton and Michel

Court of the Fountains, Mission Street, Between Ocean and 7th Avenues, Carmel, CA 93921-4917

+1 831 624 2406

Established in 1980. Excellence in food and wine, attentive service, and gracious hosting for more than four decades. Fresh, creative California cuisine and an award-winning wine list.

For easy parking use the parking garage on the 7th avenue end of Carmel Plaza. Loie will certainly ensure your dining experience is superb.


Corner Of Ocean and Lincoln St, Corner of Ocean Ave and Lincoln St, Carmel, CA 93921

+1 831 622 7766

Across the street from my office on Ocean Avenue, Demetra is fun and fine Mediterranean food. Experience the true feel of the Mediterranean food experience, people together, eating good food, drinking, conversing listening to music, and sometimes dancing.


(Across from the fire station on 6th 6th, kitty corner to Devendorf park west end).

NW Corner of Mission and 6th St, Carmel, CA 93921

+1 831 624 6562

Local Chef, Cal Stamenov is a local favorite and when he found himself at Grasings in August 2021 we were quite happy. Chef Cal has been at other restaurants such as Lucia at Bernardus. His culinary expertise, quality, presentation and service by his staff are extraordinary. Nearly all have take out options or pickup available through your favorite apps.

Hog’s Breath Inn

San Carlos St & 5TH Ave, Carmel, CA 93923.

+1 831 625 1044

Slightly hidden away, you do have go off the sidewalk to get to it, we love that it is somewhat hidden away as is stylish in Carmel.  Founded former Carmel by the Sea Mayor and actor Clint Eastwood and sold to a good family friend, Kaiser Morcus, a seasoned restaurateur, hotelier, grocer, butcher, and entrepreneur. We have created a menu designed around your health. Our belief is that you are what you eat.

Flaherty’s Oyster Bar

6th Avenue between Dolores &, San Carlos St, Carmel 93921, Carmel, CA 93923

+1 831 625 1500

Right off Ocean Avenue for easy access to shops or some people watching. Flaherty's Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar full bar and restaurant in Carmel-By-The-Sea. Lunch and dinner, Oysters and drinks and tasty bar fare.

Carmel Belle

San Carlos Between Ocean Ave & 7th, Carmel, CA 93921

1 831 624 1600

Coffee, snacks and fireplace with community tables to relax and enjoy your food and drink.

The Forge

(next to my Junipero Office on the corner of 5th Ave)

5th Ave & Junipero St, Carmel, CA 93921, United States

+1 831 624 2233|

Formerly the Forge in the Forest (Del Monte Forest), this restaurant was actualy a blacksmith shop where hinges and other hardware were made starting back in 1944. Now known as the forge, fine cuisine for lunch and dinner and an over 2000 bottle of wine cellar including local vintages. The décor is outstanding, hand carved various woods.

Porta Bella

(Kitty corner from my office on Ocean Ave, Across the street from Fourtane Jewelers – you’ll see Rolex street clock outside).

Ocean Ave, Between Lincoln and Monte Verde St, Carmel, CA 93921

+1 831 624 4395

Local fresh cuisine, elegant, romantic Carmel by the Sea Charm with al fresco dining.

During the day, passersby on Ocean Avenue are lured in by the sight of diners happily engaged in food and conversation on the picturesque flagstone patio. At night, heady aromas and laughter waft innocuously out the famed front door each time it is opened.

Carmel Valley

Lucia Restaurant

At Benardus Lodge & Spa

415 W Carmel Valley Rd, Bernardus Lodge & Spa, Carmel Valley, CA 93924-9417

+1 831 658 3400

Lunch available outdoor dining (or in the bar area at tables), breakfast and dinner in the restaurant. Scenic views, organic herb gardens and wonderful food. 

The Quail and Olive

Tasting and sales room.

3 Pilot Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924-9515

1 831 659 4288

For cooking -  Olive oils and basalmics and more. So much variety you just have to go and look and taste yourself

Robata Grill and Sake Bar (Japanese)

3658 The Barnyard, Carmel, CA 93923-8731

+1 831 624 2643

Excellently prepared Japanese food, sushi,  and full bar. Chick and filet mignon teriyaki, don’t forget the crabcakes which comes with deep fried avocado. Also a favorite is the deep fried mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Try the rice BBQ style with teriyaki sauce and a flavorful char. Lower level of barnyard just left and below Lafayette French Bakery and next to Lugano Swiss.

Lugano Swiss Bistro (German/Swiss)

3670 The Barnyard, Carmel, CA 93923-7001

+1 831 626 3779

Did someone say fondue? Yes classic Swiss and German food, but also dinner and dessert fondue! Lower level of Barnyard under Lafayette Bakery (also an excellent choice)

Aabha Indian Cuisine

(Sister restaurant in Sonoma, CA)

3690 The Barnyard


(831) 250-5940

Excellent Indian Fare, just to the left of Pieces of Heaven Candy shop at the lower level of the Barnyard.

From Scratch

(South end of the complex is closest parking).

3626 The Barnyard, Lower Level Of Complex, Carmel, CA 93923-8731

+1 831 625 2448

Lots of food, great selection for breakfast and brunch and great portions. Call ahead, usually large lines, it’s that good. American and Fusion Breakfast and Lunch.

Pieces of Heaven (Candy is food!)

3686 The Barnyard, Carmel, CA 93923-7001

+1 831 625 3368

Pieces of Heaven was established in the Barnyard Shopping Village by Katherine Hoshor in 1987 in Carmel California.  Acquired by Peg and Bob Whitted in 1995, Pieces of Heaven Chocolate has garnered a reputation as the premier chocolatier on the Monterey Peninsula and has provided some of the most exclusive peninsula resorts with confections. Must have – apple pie caramel apple, truly tastes like apple pie (often limited quantities).


Restaurants in Monterrey Nearby Carmel

Kona Steak and Seafood

Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey, CA 93940


Founded Spring 2023 by the couple Billy Quon and Teresa Lee after a short hiatus after selling Sur in the Barnyard in 2022. This is Bill’s 11th restaurant project in the area, including spots like Bahama Billy’sVolcano GrillKula Ranch Island Steakhouse and Lucky’s Roadside.

Some favorites are the Sea Bass Fish and chips (same as the fish tacos), Ahi Won Tons, the Kona Burger (see Sur and Sur Burger).  If you have grapefruit spoons, try the pineapple crème brulee, not mandatory but makes it easier, trust me!  The hot buns with lilikoi butter are amazing to order for the table or the crab Rangoon. Moco Loco on the menu of course.

Don’t forget to order hand scooped chocolate dipped bon bon ice cream served over dry ice and more!

Many options to choose from, download the pdf menu from their website and give anything a try and surely you’ll be pleased.

Don’t forget to check out the shaved ice stand and the gift shop. Bill and Teresa donate as much as possible to Maui relief!

Tell Bill or Teresa I said hello, one of them is always there to greet customers to the Zen Den


(Classic American Fare and desserts galore!)

434 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940-2711

+1 831 375 1400

First of all, dessert! Cakes and pies galore when you first walk in. Then there is a huge selection on the menu from burgers, salads, soups, sandwiches and more. Classic comfort food listed simply as hot beef or hot turkey with hot slices of meat with mashed potatoes, gravy over thick bread with vegetables will comfort your belly on any day.

Crown & Anchor

150 W Franklin St, Monterey, CA 93940-2708

+1 831 649 6496

Yes it is a bar, a British pub with all the fare, Indian inspired foods (curry fries), fish and chips, various meat pies, steak sandwiches, burgers, and accompaniments. Downtown Monterey walking distance to shops and the wharf.

Sur Burger

409 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940-2710

+1 831 241 6064

A few years ago, Bill Lee swore that Billy Quon’s Sur in Carmel was his last restaurant.Sur is still going strong – so strong that it has inspired Lee and his wife Teresa to venture out again, this time to a burger spot in 2019 on Alvarado Street. Sur Burger is an offshoot of Sur; same chef (Herman Hernandez), same execution. And since it’s not a full-service restaurant – guests order at a counter – perhaps it doesn’t really go against Lee’s earlier vow.


In the Portola Hotel

2 Portola Plaza, Inside the Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey, CA 93940

 +1 831 649 7830

A favorite dining spot and inside the gorgeous lobby of the Portola Hotel minutes from the Wharf and downtown Monterey. Great food and full service bar and if you are lucky can sit next to the fireplace. Conventions often using the venue and you never know what you’ll see in town.

Refreshing dining experience in downtown Monterey. Globally-inspired traditions of California Cultural Cuisine, emphasizing local ingredients and fresh seafood. Led by Executive Chef Carl Ashurst.

Esteban – Spanish cuisine

In the Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

700 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA 93940-3110

+1 831 375 0176

Spanish cuisine!  Spanish and California cuisine, including authentic paellas, tapas, and the freshest seafood. Outdoor patio dining available, dog friendly too. I love the burger ( a blend of three cuts of beef) cooked to perfection.

Domenico’s on the Wharf

50 Fishermans Wharf # 1, Monterey, CA 93940-2429

+1 831 372 3655

Amazing views of the harbor and fresh fish lots of other great food and friendly staff. Look around at the artwork and see the fishing adventures involved with your meal, hint: as seen on TV if you are into that.

The Whaling Station

763 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940-1016

+1 831 373 3778

A classic steakhouse! Founded by Chef John Pisto many years ago. Full bar and extensive menu of steaks and seafood cooked to perfection in a classic East Coast Steakhouse but with Central California Flair.


Restaurants in Marina, CA

Salt Wood

3295 Dunes Rd, Marina, CA 93933

+1 831 883 5535

In the Sanctuary Beach Resort (Reservation road exit off Highway 1)

Restaurant, oyster bar, and of course full bar with wine, beer and spirits. The shortrib is a favorite,  or share the Tomahawk if you dare. Creative menu and tucked away location make it a great meeting spot for family, friends, or business associates.


Each restaurant we've explored offers a unique testament to the passion and creativity that define Carmel's restaurant scene. Whether you're indulging in an Italian mean, savoring the fresh catch of the day with a view of the ocean, or treating yourself to innovative dishes that blend local ingredients with global flavors, Carmel ensures an unparalleled dining experience.


More about addresses in Carmel by the Sea – the decoder ring.

If you see an address with the Street name and Avenue number. It is on the corner (Vesuvios)

If it says between, it is exactly that. Note, the avenue numbers go from north to south, so 8th avenue is south of 7th avenue.

The addresses here are pretty easy to find. If you get an address to other locations, say Junipero 2  SW of 5th Ave (My office), that means it is the second building on the fight (west) if you are heading south on Junipero. It is this way since there is a center divide you cannot cross and have to drive south to get to the driveway.

Some addresses without a center divide often use a NW or NE designation. .Heading north, west is on the left, east on the right side of the street. Again, if there is a SW or NW designation, heading south west will be on the right and east will be on your left. Cute isn’t it.

More information: 

Stay tuned for wine tasting and golf suggestions


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