Need breakfast? Get it at Katy’s Place (Mission and 6th Aves., 831/624-0199, www.katysplacecarmel.com, daily 7 a.m.–2 p.m., $10–20), a self-described “Carmel Tradition” that can get quite crowded on weekend mornings.
You can get your favorite breakfast all day, whether you love heavy eggs Benedict or light Belgian waffles…well, as long as they’re open.
For a more authentic hole-in-the-wall locals’ dining experience, seek out Tommy’s Wok (Mission St. and Ocean Ave., 831/624-8518, Tues.–Sun. 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 4:30–9:30 p.m., $10–20). All the veggies are fresh and organic, and the dishes taste reliably good whether you dine in or order takeout to enjoy elsewhere.
For a taste of wine country cuisine in the Carmel Valley, reserve a table at Marinus at Bernardus Lodge (415 W. Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley, 831/658-3550, www.bernardus.com, daily 6–10 p.m., $40–70). The exquisite California cuisine features the produce, fish, and meat of local producers, and has been served to the likes of Julia Child and Leonardo diCaprio.
Choose a three-, four-, or five-course meal, or go for broke and get the chef’s tasting menu.
Let go of any prejudices against “fancy French restaurants” and try a country-style meal in the unprepossessing dining room of Le Coq D’Or (Mission and 4th Sts., 831/626-9319, daily 5–10 p.m., $35). Order a classic French beef stew or a German schnitzel, and perhaps share a juicy morsel with your canine companion, who is always welcome to dine with you out on the heated porch.
For cute ambiance, you can’t beat the flower gardens and traditional cottage of PortaBella (Ocean Ave. and Monte Verde, 831/624-4395, www.carmelsbest.com, daily 11:30 a.m.– 11 p.m., $20–40). This upscale-meets-kitsch restaurant serves Mediterranean inspired cuisine with a distinct local flair.
The Flying Fish Grill (Mission St. betw. Ocean and 7th Aves., 831/625-1962, Sun.–Thurs. 5–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–9:30 p.m., $30–40) serves Japanese-style seafood with a California twist in the Carmel Plaza open-air shopping mall. While the food isn’t universally revered, the service at the Flying Fish and the presentation of the plates makes a visit worth the time and expense.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition