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kimamom Aug 26th, 2004 01:16 PM

Carmel , CA Restaurant Help
We've decided on the Sierra Mar for one night, but still have a night open for a nice dinner in Carmel. As many times as I have been here, there are still so many places I haven't been yet.

Is Casanova good? Bouchee? Caffe Napoli gets high marks on other boards, is this place like a little cafe?

Also considering the Flying Fish for Japanese, we haven't been there in a few years. Thanks for any suggestions! ***kim***

Surfergirl Aug 26th, 2004 02:29 PM

Casanova's great.

moneygirl Aug 26th, 2004 03:24 PM

Cafe Napoli(however you spell it) on Ocean is wonderful! When you show up... they take you down the street and around the corner to their "wine cellar" for a complimentary glass, or two, while you wait! This always involves other people as well... an inevitable the conversation turns to where are you from, where are you staying etc... A great, friendly experience for getting great info from travelers and locals akike. I love the pasta and my husband says their oso bucco (can't spell this either!) is incredible. Once inside, the tables are close together. We love it... others might not like the atmosphere... to cozy. I think you'd like it.

Betsy Aug 26th, 2004 03:30 PM

A second recommendation for Casanova. Outstanding food, beautifully presented in a great setting.

kimamom Aug 26th, 2004 03:40 PM

Is Casanova Italian? The dining rooms look beautiful, which is what I'm looking for. I'm leaning towared Casanova. ***kim***

Chico Aug 26th, 2004 04:11 PM

Another vote for Casanova. The rooms are beautiful. I have been there for lunch several times and have found the menu varied. The service is excellent -Enjoy!

SAB Aug 26th, 2004 04:24 PM

OK a different viewpoint, I would pick Bouchee over Casanova--more interesting food. I'm sorry and no offense to anyone's taste but I find the food at Casanova uninteresting. However, if I remember correctly you like the Old Bath House and I find it to be just adequate, so we have different tastes. However, I highly recommend Sierra Mar, it ranked up with The French Laudry in terms of food as far as I'm concerned but less expensive and a better view.

kimamom Aug 26th, 2004 05:02 PM

SAB, what do you like at Bouchee? We have enjoyed the Old Bath House in the past, I like the ambiance there a lot. We actually like the White House better, now.

I'm looking for a very romantic place, paired with really good food. My husband has definite opinions on places, so I want to keep him happy! I'm pretty easy to please, tho. Hey, it's Carmel, right!! ***kim***

viamar Aug 26th, 2004 05:05 PM

Casanova serves Italian dishes but I wouln't call it an "Italian" restaurant. I think they call themselves French Italian. It's very good. The seafood pasta with lobster in the copper pot is wonderful.

SAB Aug 26th, 2004 07:51 PM

kim--I like the fact that Bouchee has a tasting menu, the fact that it does not have a huge mark up on its wine, that it has interesting food using local produce without overwhelming it, sort of in the Alice Waters/Chez Panisse school of cuisine. If you take a look at it's website you can see what I mean. Bouchee is definately about the food and wine. To me Casanova relies too much on atmosphere. To those of you who like Casanova--I'm just responding to kim's question honestly, not denigrating anyone else's opinion.

kimamom Aug 27th, 2004 09:21 AM

SAB, do you have any opinions on Grasings? They prix fixe menu is quite a bit less expensive than Bouchee, is the food as good here? ***kim***

SAB Aug 27th, 2004 10:09 AM

I really like Grasings also. Same school of food. My sister finds the atmosphere a little sterile, I'm used to minimalist decor kind of restaurants. We used to go to Grasings before Bouchee opened so it has been a few years since I have been. I don't know enough about the history of Carmel restaurants but I think Grasings established that Carmel could sustain this kind of restaurant--what I call for lack of better description Chez Panisse style, reliance on local produce, presented in a fashion that does not overwhelm the ingredients.

kimamom Aug 27th, 2004 01:08 PM

Thanks, SAB, your input has been very helpful! I've decided on lunch at Casanova, hopefully outside on the patio, it looks beautiful! Then after our wine/cheese reception at Tickle Pink, Bouchee for dinner.

My husband really wanted to try this place last time we were in Carmel, we peeked in and spoke with the wine steward for awhile. I took him to Passoinfish and was so disappointed we didn't try Bouchee. He didn't like that place at all.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful time in Carmel and hope to see some things in the Big Sur area this time.

The tomato soup sounds delish at Bouchee and I want to try the sea scallops. The desserts also look very nice. ***kim***

SAB Aug 27th, 2004 01:17 PM

Glad to help. I've read your comments about not liking Passionfish before and always thought that was a shame because it is one of my favorite restaurants in terms of value. I admit I'm influenced by the at retail wine list and by the fact that Cindy, the owner, always treats us like regulars even though she may not have seen us for 6 months. But fortunately not everyone likes the same things, as it would be a pretty boring world if we did.

kimamom Aug 27th, 2004 01:36 PM

I'm big on ambiance, also. Casanova looks like a place I would like to spend a lot of time at! Do you know if Bouchee has a fireplace? ***kim***

SAB Aug 27th, 2004 01:44 PM

It does.

kimamom Aug 27th, 2004 02:15 PM

I think this is going to be a very nice trip! ***kim*** :)

drh Aug 28th, 2004 06:08 AM

Wondering how the outside dining is for dinner at Cassanova. Is there less room or street noise?

kimamom Aug 28th, 2004 07:49 AM

We hope to sit outside for lunch. The dining rooms inside look very nice, also. I think any restaurant in Carmel is very conducive to romance! ***kim***

je Aug 28th, 2004 10:26 AM

We had dinner at Casanova this past weekend. It is country style Italian/French food and is very good but I found their 3 course fix price policy a little annoying in that it makes for an expensive meal when wine is included. They have an extensive wine list but I think it's a bit pricey. Grasings is also very good with some excellent wines. You may want to inquire about a "new" Bouchee that has just opened in the Auberge de Carmel which was the old Sundial Lodge. The owners of Bouchee also now own the Auberge and the restaurant is very attractive, not large but looks like a very romantic spot. I would assume the food there is the same quality as the original Bouchee.

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