The owner of Giovanni's has taken over The Carmel Bistro with good results. The room is identical to the old Carmel Bistro, but the menu has been completely changed. I was very impressed with the large number of dishes available. It is a longer menu than Giovanni's, and dishes with the same name are prepared differently.
The bread was really good. I have always loved the bread at Giovanni's, and it's the same here. It was served with a very tasty tomatoey dipping sauce that was a big hit.
For appetizers we started with the Greek Salad and the Dolmas. The Greek Salad at Giovanni's has long been one of my favorites. The salad here was slightly different with the addition of chopped dates and lettuce but still is very good. The dolmas were stuffed with a very good ground lamb filling and served with yogurt and cucumbers. They were as good as I've had. Our friends had the cream of mushroom soup and the Lasagnette, which was basically eggplant parmigian. Both of them were very happy with their choices.
For entree I had the home made Penne Pasta with Filet Mignon meatballs in a tomato sauce. It was very good. The meatballs were very flavorful and the penne was al dente. Bonni had the gnochi in a creamy cheesy sauce. The gnochi were a little on the heavy side, but still satisfactory.
We accompanied it all with a 1995 Williams- Selyem Sonoma Coast pinot from my wine cellar, that is just about perfect now.
For dessert we split a Ricotta Flan, which was basically a cheesecake like flan. We all really liked it.
There are many other things on the menu that I would like to try, and will be back there soon.