Just returned from a magical weekend in Carmel and had some of the best dinners in memory which was quite a pleasant surprise! Began at The Gem, a small restaurant taken over by two chefs who work in the kitchen. It's in a small courtyard and looks very non-descript from the outside. Inside, it is quite pleasant and the food is amazing. Each entree comes with a salad that is to die for - simple, fresh and the dressing -- just amazing. Nice wine list, too. I had the fresh sand dabs - to die for and so fresh. DH enjoyed beef wellington. Second dinner was at Christopher's. Oh my god - we couldn't take our eyes off the long, amazing sounding appetizer list when Chef Christopher himself floated by and encouraged us to order multiple appetizers as that is how he likes to eat. His advice couldn't have been better - from the tuna carpaccio (did I say FRESH?) to the chile relleno to everything in between - 5 stars. Third dinner was at Cantinetta Luca. For some reason we didn't leave the appetizer side there either. They make their own salami and the salami sampler and burrata cheese WAS a meal, especially when combined with the fresh grilled octopus, etc etc etc. It was shocking to have three such different and excellent meals in one weekend.