Ate well in recent trip. Fell in love with Carmel.
First night at Passionfish was so good. Really fine food. Dungeness crab salad and crab cakes were both excellent, but I'd go with the salad again. Really fine soy, ginger sauce around it. Hubby had duck confit (fantastic) and I had scallops (delicious). Service great, nice modern atmosphere. Would definitely go back. Only two things missing were no sparkling wine by the glass and no espresso. How can that be? Otherwise, fantastic
Our inn recommended the French Poodle in Carmel as a place that only the locals know about with about 10 tables, in business for years. Not impressed. The food was traditional French, but with incredibly over-sauced main courses (duck, steak) that really ruined the food. Very precious wine list. We chose a local wine that they were out of and it was substituted with a very restrained French wine at about the same price which was too restrained for the dishes. My truffle mousse starter was very good. When we asked if they had decaf espresso at the end of the meal, they said yes and brought a French press with regular coffee. Definitely not the same thing! No espresso--why didn't they just say so. Would not recommend.
Casanova in Carmel was wonderful. We sat on the back patio and had a great time. Our waiter was very opinionated about which dishes were best, shared a salsa recipe with me, and was just a lot of fun. The short rib was great, the cannelloni delicious, and the antipasto varied. The entire menu is based on a 4 course selection, priced according to the main course selection. Many choices. Everything we had was delicious. Only complaints were--very, very pricey wine list, but search enough and you can find variety (35,000 bottle cellar, but most high end), and the waiter brought a piece of pie after the meal and said, eat this and then I'll bring you the dessert menu. I passed and hubby was too full to then look at the menu. Too bad. Loved this place.
Portabella in Carmel for lunch. Nice place. Back patio light and bright. Shared an appetizer of bruschetta. My chicken salad had a really heavy teriyaki style sauce on it. Thought it would be a light dish on a really hot day. Not so. Hubby ordered nicoise salad. Better choice.