Just came back from Carmel for the weekend - we didn't eat any "dinners" out, but had appetizers everywhere we went, and since those aren't usually reviewed much, I thought I'd post a quick trip report.
Saturday lunch - Brophy's Tavern to watch some football. Good calamari, good selection of beers, the sandwiches and burgers looked good. There was a good sports bar vibe that waned when quite a few older golfers came back from the links, but the mellowing suited the place well. Great bar staff. Thick steak fries that are not my style, but fine for what they were.
Saturday evening - We stayed at the Highland's Inn and ordered room service. Should you do the same, I honestly don't recommend it. Pretty lacking in selection, and way overpriced (as all room service is, but the Shrimp Entree consisted of a small scoop of mediocre whipped potatoes and exactly 5 shrimp for $30.) We did order oysters in, and they were very fresh and accompanied by a nice Apple Mignonette (it's quoted as Champagne Mignonette, but the Sunset Lounge at Pacific's Edge says Apple and that's what it tasted like).
Sunday lunch - oysters at A.W. Shucks. It was more of a dive than we expected, but the price and the freshness of the oysters really made up for it. Blue Points, Miyagis and Hood Canal were in, and none of them even needed cocktail sauce. Nice waitstaff. Quite crowded, but quick turnover.
Sunday evening - Sunset Lounge at Pacific's Edge for drinks and apps. Per Chowhounders suggestions, we canceled our dinner reservation, and were very glad we did. We ordered calamari (noticing our preferences anyone?) and a blue cheese salad, and though the calamari was certainly good, and you can't go wrong with a salad, the main reasons we ordered those items is because nothing else sounded all that interesting, much like the menu at Pacific's Edge. It all sounded fine, just not worth the price. The drinks, however, were amazing. I'm not sure exactly what they do, but I don't drink hard liquor and we fell in love with their drinks. Price of course, was silly. Mixed drinks: $12 a pop. Wine: $15-$22 the glass. That's just silly prices.
Monday lunch - Round Three of our oyster tour took us to Flaherty's. A tough review because the oysters were really excellent and served with an interesting balsamic-shallot mixture which really complimented the oysters. My husband's shrimp sandwich was better than expected - not too much mayonnaise, a nice brioche bun, excellent shoestring fries. But the atmosphere was lacking and the pricing high for the experience.
Monday evening - Mission Ranch Inn. Baked goat cheese plate and steamed artichoke, along with a couple of glasses of wine. The highlight of the whole trip. The view was exquisite, the food excellent (honestly! I'm not sure how such simple appetizers could be so good! But I suspect it had something to do with the incredibly delicious balsamic vinaigrette served with both plates. We faked artichoke meat left on the leaves in order to use them as a vinaigrette delivery service...) Prices very very reasonable, and from what we observed of fellow diners eating complete meals, everything looked and smelled delicious. We will definitely be coming back here on our next trip for a full dinner.