My partner and I are taking a trip down to Carmel, and are looking for someplace to have a really delicious, romantic dinner. We'll be staying in Carmel Valley with family, but will have a car, so Carmel Valley, Carmel-by-the-sea, Monterey, Salinas, Pebble Beach, etc, is fine.
I'd like to spend no more than $60 dollars for two, including tax and tip (no alcoholic beverages, and probably no dessert. we'd rather have more to spend on appetizers and entrees, and go get ice cream or something after). If it is absolutely worth it, I'd consider spending up to about $75, but that's really it, and only if it were a HUGE improvement over what we could get for about $60. Also, I hate going to a restaurant and only being able to order the least expensive thing. I like to go in, and have my choice of the menu in my budget.
I love Italian and French food, but he generally isn't a big fan, due to portion size and fussiness. He's happy with peasant Italian or French, and big portions, but haute cuisine with small plates and delicate flavors is not his thing. He also loves Asian food of various sorts, and so do I. Basically big portions and rich, hearty food, intense flavors and amazing. (We're foodies of the highest and poorest degree. This is a very special occasion, we rarely have this much money to spend on a meal, and want to make it worth it.)
We've been to Casanova and both LOVED it, but I'm thinking it's a bit out of budget. (I don't actually recall the prices, if you think we could do Casanova for 60 for two, let me know, but I recall it being a LOT more expensive.) I wonder if lunch at Casanova would be prohibitive.... Any ideas on cost there?
He eats everything, I can't eat pork, shellfish, rabbit, (any land animals without hooves really), or meat and dairy in the same dish. (I can usually work around meat and dairy in the same dish almost anywhere, but some restaurants are almost all pork, or almost all shellfish). Other than that, we're pretty adventurous eaters.
It doesn't have to be some stereotypically romantic spot, as long as it is quiet enough for conversation, nice enough to feel worth dressing up for (even if everyone else isn't much dressed up), and blow your mind amazing food. (I'm even up for blow your mind pizza, burgers etc. I'd happily spend less, and it doesn't have to be super fancy.)
Oh, and we'll be going mid-week (probably wed. or thu.)
Wow us! (And if there is something that we HAVE to order at a given spot, please tell me.) Thanks.