Wine & Dine Yourself Silly in Carmel-by-the-Sea! #ad
I think anyone who enjoys traveling will tell you that the highlight is always checking out the locals cafes & restaurants. Eateries surround you galore in Carmel-by-the-Sea, as well as their wine tasting rooms & I am so grateful that we were treated to dinners courtesy of Mundaka on Saturday evening, The Grill on Ocean Sunday, & thanks to The Hofsas House, Carmel’s famous Wine Walk Passports…..
Saturday night in Carmel is the place to be; it is buzzing all over town & you have an array of nearly any type of cuisine you can think of at your fingertips. Upon discovering our reservation for Mundaka was a Spanish Tapas restaurant, I was a bit leery as I have not had much Spanish food & didn’t quite understand how they do their thing! Thankfully, our server, Robert, couldn’t have been more helpful as he gave us the low-down on how they serve up their plates; small portions, & order several different items. We started off with Bravas, which are fried potatoes served with a tasty aioli sauce & a drink from the bar, we both had a jalepeno-fused tequila, margarita style concoction (Right). You know I love my mixed drinks, so it won in my book.
For a main course, we shared from their plate featuring Morro Bay Oysters (oh, yeah…), scallops (which were breaded but I still managed to try a bit of; they were awesome) & meatball sliders. We went on to get our own plates & Mike chose their famous lamb burger, which he said was good but, alas, a slider…small plates, remember! 😉 & I chose their salmon patty with a poached egg on top, which are 2 of my favorite things & put together, tasted great.
Mundaka has such a great, lively vibe, & many locals looked to be enjoying themselves among us tourists, too. Theres even a bar next door, so perfect for hanging out post-dinner or while waiting for your table. Check out their web-site here!
For Sunday, The Grill on Ocean was very fitting for winding down from the weekend. Known for American cuisine, we got seated at The Mayors Table. A cozy booth overlooking their full bar & you’re also treated to crayons to go with the paper table-cloth tops; I loved the ‘laid-back’ attitude in a gorgeous, romantic restaurant! To start, we enjoyed a steamed artichoke appetizer with, you guessed it–more aioli sauce! I really loved their recipe of lemon & garlic; our server even brought me more, I couldn’t get enough.
For dinner, I ordered their flat grilled salmon with a side of baked polenta, mashed potatoes & veggies (Below). This was seriously the best meal I’d had in a long time! The salmon was like velvet & flaky, topped with herbs & tomatoes. Polenta is something I enjoy, yet don’t commonly see on a menu, that was also baked to perfection & being the mashed potato lover I am, thus, why I had to try them & they were so moist & fluffy. I could easily frequent The Grill at-least weekly for this meal. With my veggies, I am not normally a cauliflower or carrots person, but figured they were probably good here & that they were. With so much fresh produce right in Carmel’s backyard of Salinas, you can definitely taste it.
Their staff also couldn’t have been kinder, & I look forward to returning to The Grill, make your reservation here!
For a fun Sunday lunch, Mike found us Demetra, an intimate Mediterranean café that was packed with happy customers. Our host offered to take down our number to ring us when our table was free. Everyone is so accommodating & friendly in this town! 🙂 They served up very authentic food & to my boyfriend’s liking; my Dolmas (Right) were served warm, which was a first for me. I’ve always had them cold…& yes, I do think they’re better warm, along with their homemade yogurt dip!
After lunch, window shopping & beach time, we cocooned to our room to relax before dinner, but did make it to Caraccioli Cellars to take advantage of our passports a bit. We got to try 2 sparkling Bruts; 2007 Brut Rose, which was youthful with more acidic tones, & a 2007 Brut Cuvee , having a fresh taste with its balance of fruit & acid; I also could taste some citrus & berry notes. With Bruts just not usually my choice, their 2009 Chardonnay & Pinot Noir were perfect for me, though. The Chardonnay served up crisp, lemon notes on the palate & was quite vibrant. The Pinot Noir was one of the best I’d had in a very long time. It was strong, tart, yet managed to have moments of light sweetness.
After rising at 6am Monday morning to see the sunrise & go on to take the longest hike I’d been on in quite some time (maybe back when I mastered Stoney Point?!), we found an adorable European breakfast nook, The Country Cottage. Serving up all the AM favorites, it seemed like the perfect locals spot.
I am so thankful I got to enjoy myself at all these wonderful restaurants in Carmel. Next up, I will introduce you to The Hofsas House Hotel! xo
(*Disclosure: While all opinions are my own, I received comp dinners at Mundaka & The Grill for review purposes.)