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Top Rated Restaurants & Cafes in Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Grasing's Coastal Cuisine

This restaurant was voted the best by Adventures in Dining Magazine's readers' poll and it offers a delicious variety of Central California coastal cuisine using fresh, local produce. Locals haunt the place. The selection of wines is designed to perfectly complement the dishes. You can eat inside, surrounded by polished wood surfaces, or on the patio. It is a great bet for a reception or an intimate dinner. The service is warm and friendly.


Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel is a brilliant addition to the Central Coast's dining scene. With exquisite creations from the kitchen, this restaurant takes the concept of fine dining to another level while being approachable. The focus is on locally-sourced highest quality ingredients and fresh seasonal produce. The simple and elegant interiors perfectly juxtapose the complex dishes where all the value is on the plate. The menu is daily-changing, wine-pairings and tasting menus are also offered.

Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Co.

The aroma from the fresh-roasted coffee and baked goods will draw you into this shop. An honor system is used to pay for all self-serve coffee. Help yourself to the coffee of your choice and then place cash in the collection bucket. Coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, and pastries can be purchased here. The shop sells its special blend of fresh-roasted coffee; fresh ground or whole beans are also available from the friendly staff.

Montrio Bistro

The kitchen and rotisserie are completely open for all to see in this colorfully decorated bistro that combines American, Italian and French cuisines. The interior is fancy and sleek, but the attitude is very casual, which accounts for the wide-ranging clientele. It won Esquire's award for "best eatery of 1995" for plates such as Grilled Gulf Prawns over Caramelized Leek Risotto and Veal Cheeks over Mustard Whipped Potatoes. Beginning at around USD20 for the house varietals, the impressive wine list includes some alternative whites and adventurous reds. The friendly service will bring you back many times. See website for menu, wine list and more.

Tarpy's Roadhouse

Situated in an old stone house dating back to the 1880s, this Monterey restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner. Dine inside by the fireplace or under the stars on the flowery patio. Rooms are available for private parties and catering is also available. The extensive wine list begins at the low end and includes several Syrah, Cabernets, and rare Magnums. The impeccable service attracts many types, from couples on romantic getaways to tourists to locals.

Old Fisherman's Grotto

This beloved waterfront seafood restaurant is a famed Monterey institution. Established in the 1950s, Old Fisherman's Grotto still buys the catch of the day from local fishermen and sources its produce from the nearby fertile Salinas Valley. The menu features a large selection of seafood pastas as well as succulent steaks, lobster tail, Dungeness crab, salads, clam chowder and more. The floor to ceiling windows allow diners unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean and perhaps a sea lion or two.

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