Carmel, CA– Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel-by-the-Sea, better known as Carmel, is a charming and sleepy town that attracts visitors year-round who are looking for romantic bed-and-breakfast lodging, impeccable cuisine, fine art, quaint boutiques, a white sandy beach, world-class golf and wine, wine and more wine!
Currently, Carmel is offering the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Tasting Passport which allows guests the option to experience multiple vineyards and tasting rooms all in one day or to spread the tastings over a weekend, several weeks, or even months. The Wine Tasting Passport is available for purchase at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center on San Carlos between 5th and 6th streets.
Carmel is located on the Pacific coast, approximately 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 120 miles south of San Francisco. Monterey Regional Airport is located just minutes from Carmel and provides 40 daily flights with direct service to San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, and Las Vegas.
For those fortunate enough to take a leisurely road trip from Los Angeles, there are two must see destinations: Hearst Castle and Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn. The Grand Rooms Museum Tour is recommended for first-time visitors and provides weary tourists the perfect opportunity to stretch their limbs during the 45 minute tour which covers 2/3 miles. Afterwards, treat yourselves to a gourmet lunch complete with breathtaking views at Sierra Mar, the Post Ranch Inn’s award winning restaurant.
Carmel has no shortage of lodging or dining options, so we’re here to help you fine tune your decision process. The Hofsas Houseis our prime lodging pick because it can accommodate families, large groups and couples alike while not blowing your budget.
This unique, boutique establishment has been owned and operated by the Theis family for more than 60 years and provides guests with European hospitality. Many of the 38, one-of-a kind , Bavarian themed rooms and suites (many showcasing the art work of famed artist Maxine Albro) have fireplaces, ocean views, kitchens, and private balconies to enjoy the picturesque setting of Carmel. Guests are treated to a complimentary continental breakfast, heated pool, European style dry saunas, pet-friendly rooms, ample parking and free wifi.
Can’t decide which activities to indulge in during your stay in Carmel? Hofsas House offers top-notch, personal services such as in room his and her couple massages, wine and cheese pairings, beach fire and s’mores bundles, and golf course reservations.
Katy’s Place has been a Carmel tradition since 1982, professing to be “Home of the World’s Best Eggs Benedict.” Tucked away on a quaint street, we couldn’t agree more, as Katy’s Place boasts the west coast’s largest breakfast menu, serving more than 16 versions of Eggs Benedict alone.
Don’t let the twinkle in the eyes of proprietor Edward Randall Bernett fool you, the recipe for the restaurant’s top-secret hollandaise sauce will never be divulged. Our Dungeness Benedict was bursting with buttery, crab meat over a bed of fresh spinach. All of the Eggs Benedict dishes are made from three, ranch eggs poached to order, perched atop an English Muffin bathed in Hollandaise sauce and come with fresh fruit or country potatoes. Breakfast is served during restaurant hours (daily from 7am to 2pm), and includes numerous omelettes, pancakes and waffles, pastries and French Toast. Katy’s Place also has a lunch menu that includes crab cakes, lobster bisque, Cheese Burgers, Garden Burger’s, BLT’s and more. Just make sure to stop by the ATM before you visit because the restaurant only accepts cash.
Hands down, our top pick for lunch is the Rio Grille located in the upscale Crossroads Shopping Village. It’s almost a crime to dine here if you don’t try one of their top-notch margaritas. We imbibed in the Rio Rita made with Herradura Silver and the Silver Coin made with Patron Silver. We started with a flavor explosion thanks to the Grilled Flatbread topped with smoked chile-chickpea puree, tapenade and Cotija cheese. Next, we moved on to a succulent Pumpkin Seed Crusted Loch Duart Salmon, drizzled with a chipotle-lime vinaigrette atop an almond crusted, red pepper mashed potato cake. We also sampled a refreshingly innovative , deconstructed Chinese Chicken Salad before being treated to a house made Olallieberry Pie and ridiculously sinful Roasted Banana Cake with burnt Caramel and coconut Ice Cream.
If you are in the mood for lively entertainment and a jovial environment along with a festive dinner, Mundaka is your place. Mundaka is an authentic, Spanish style, tapas restaurant that serves regional specialties such as Paella Valenciana with saffron rice, Datiles of bacon wrapped dates, goat cheese and almonds, Albondigas (chorizo meatballs, clams, saffron couscous), and much more. Though many of the dishes were meat centric, we were especially blown away by the unique flavors of the Coliflor (cauliflower gratin, horseradish and gruyére) and the Coles de Bruselas (brussel sprouts, apple cider vinegar and cumin). Mundaka only believes in serving fresh, local, organic, biodynamic, free-range, line-caught, sustainable, fair-trade and home made ingredients. In addition to the cuisine, Mundaka has a creative cocktail menu in addition to beer, sangria and wine.
If a quiet, upscale and award winning dining experience is more your speed, Grasing’s provides the perfect setting for a romantic and unforgettable evening. Start with the farm-raised, Monterey Bay sourced Abalone prepared doré style and the sinfully tasty Lobster Mac n’ Cheese with leeks, toasted bread crumbs and fresh herbs. The inventive Warm Spinach Salad with diced pancetta, beets, feta cheese and a dijon vinaigrette is also an excellent accompaniment to your meal. Grasing’s has an incredibly well-rounded menu with a selection of steaks ranging from Filet Mignon to Skirt Steak, a bounty of seafood such as the wild caught Sea of Cortez Prawns and the Seared Diver Scallops with three-cheese, spinach ravioli, wild mushrooms, baby bok choi, in a marsala cream sauce and a Portobella and Tofu Tower of grilled peppers, roasted eggplant, drizzled with tomato-pesto for vegan diners. With the aide of the sommelier, we discovered a 2009 Villa Mt. Eden pinot noir that paired perfectly with our selections.
Minutes away from Carmel sits the world-famous Pebble Beach golf course. Renowned for it’s storied past and oceanside locale, Pebble Beach has defined champions and championship moments throughout it’s history. Though it is considered to be one of the world’s most challenging golf courses, Pebble Beach has welcomed players of all skill levels since 1919.