My husband and I just returned from a week in Carmel with an overnight in Carpinteria on the way. We traveled with our dog and also had friends join us for several nights in Carmel. Many of our picks were based on dog friendliness and I’ll put an * in front of places where we brought our dog.
*Santa Barbara Shellfish Company – Our first meal of the trip was lunch at SB Shellfish. My husband had a crab sandwich and I had an abalone plate which was a blackboard special. The crab sandwich was just OK. The abalone was better. I think we’ll just stick to the blackboard specials next time. There are 3 or 4 outside tables with table service (we snagged one of these) and a takeout window on the other side with some picnic tables. It was a beautiful day and nice being on the wharf.
*Renaud’s Patisserie – We stopped at the downtown location for a pastry. I honestly don’t remember what I had! I just remember it was sort of meh. I think I ordered wrong and should’ve gone with an almond croissant instead.
*Corktree Cellars – Dinner was at Corktree Cellars in Carpinteria. The one caveat here was that our dog had to be on the other side of their patio dividers which were made up of potted plants. The plants aren’t high so a big dog would be able to see, or maybe even climb, over. Our dog is small so he had to peek between the pots. We shared the lobster mac and cheese, grilled shrimp and carnitas pizza which ended up being a lot of food and we had to take most of the pizza to go. Our favorite dish was the pizza. We had intended to go to Scarlett Begonia for breakfast the next morning but finished our pizza instead.
*Thomas Hill Organics – This was our lunch in Paso Robles enroute to Carmel. It was hot in Paso but thankfully their patio was fully shaded! We shared a seared ahi starter and I had a shrimp salad while my husband had a warm shrimp dish. It was all very good. Nice and light and perfect for the hot weather. My only quibble is that the service could’ve been more attentive (i.e. water glasses weren’t refilled, we had to ask for another glass of wine) and the food took a long time to come out. We skipped dessert as we were heading to Sculpterra to see a friend play and running low on time.
*Ragged Point Restaurant – We hadn’t planned to eat here but had dallied so much that we weren’t going to make it to Carmel by dinner. We had some friends who were staying here and decided on an impromptu visit with them and ended up having dinner together. I didn’t expect much as it seemed like they had a captive audience but was pleasantly surprised (maybe I just had such low expectations going in). We shared a crab cake appetizer and I had the short ribs while my husband had the seafood pasta. There was nothing inventive about the food but it was reasonably priced and the service was good.