Central Coasting

Carmel Food: Contemporary Carmel

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. - Over the last couple of years there has been an influx of new and exciting restaurants in Carmel, and we wanted to check out a couple. Food writer for the Monterey Herald, Raul Nava, took us to a few of his favorite spots.

Raul says, “We're at one of my favorite spots in Carmel, which is Il Grillo, which is the sister restaurant to La Balena, which is consistently ranked as one of the best spots in town.”


Here’s the list of spots Raul picked; Cultura Comida y Bebida, La Balena/Il Grillo, La Bicyclette, and Mundaka, just a few of the places he describes as modern dining from the next generation of Carmel’s tastemakers.


Raul says, “What's happening these days is a lot of restaurants are opening up that are just taking a more casual laid back approach. You know here at Il Grillo you can mix and match your pastas and really kind of customize your meal.” And that’s what Raul says sets these contemporary spots apart, something the owner of Il Grillo agrees with.


Emanuele Bartolini says, “The kitchen is a little bit bigger than La Balena and it allowed us to do everything from A to Z in house. So from the pastas, braising meats, all the sauce, plus we have even a pastry chef.” It’s all about choices, and that’s what this new landscape of restaurants in Carmel is offering.

Raul says, “You’ve got a lot more places offering small bites and sharing plates. So it's just, you know, shaking up what's been a traditional dinner so to speak, in Carmel, with some fun and tasty new options.”

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