Carmel Valley Lodge

A delicious looking grilled burger on a toasted bun with pulled pork, tomatoes, onions, cucumber and onion rings on the side.

7 Best Carmel Valley Restaurants

Food is our common ground. A universal experience.
—James Beard

We have created our favorite list of the 7 best Carmel Valley restaurants for you to explore and enjoy during your stay at Carmel Valley Lodge. Food is one of the most beautiful ways to bring people together. It surpasses culture, language, and time while simultaneously teaching you about culture, language, and time. It’s a convenient and delicious ice-breaker when meeting new people and a great way to make lasting memories with your friends and loved ones. The first four recommended restaurants are some of our favorite locations within walking distance of our Lodge, followed by three other favorites from locals and visitors in the area.

#1: Trailside Cafe

Looking for a special date night or girls’ night out location? How about a refueling stop during or at the end of a hike? Trailside Cafe is a stellar pick for any excursion. This casual and relaxed dining experience offers American cuisine coupled with a multicultural beer selection. They also have some unique beers that they pair with items on their menu. It’s not just wine that deserves a good pairing. To amp up your experience, consider stopping on weekends to recline in the beer garden and enjoy live music from local artists.

#2: Cafe Rustica

Your young ones will love joining you on an afternoon or evening at Cafe Rustica. Their country food is the perfect pick to add extra comfort to your Carmel Valley vacation. The European setting truly adds to the feeling of an extravagant trip while wowing you with its top-tier cuisine. Be sure to make a reservation as they’re a busy location!

#3: Corkscrew Cafe

If you’re someone who appreciates organic and locally-sourced produce, you’ll want to add Corkscrew Cafe to your itinerary! Their seasonal California organic ingredients make every meal an experience worth having. They serve a variety of contemporary and rustic cuisine in an optional outdoor garden setting. Perfect for those sunny Cali days!

#4: Plaza Linda

How does authentic Mexican and Latin cuisine with vegetarian-friendly options sound? Plaza Linda places a high emphasis on serving healthy options. Every day they make their own chips, salsas, sauces, and house mix for Margaritas! The chefs ensure that their homemade foods are made using natural canola and olive oils. Hoping for a drink selection as well? No worries, Plaza Linda also has a fully stocked bar inside the restaurant.

#5: Running Iron

A meat-lovers paradise is next on the list with a local and tourist favorite, Running Iron. This family-friendly restaurant was a popular, rowdy cowboy bar a few decades ago. Now it stands as a Carmel Valley Icon with its warm outside patio and group-friendly indoor seating. They specialize in steak, ribs, chicken, and an abundance of juicy burger varieties. Also, check out the attached Stirrup Cup Pizza place, which serves the famous Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! Open Wed-Sun.

#6: Baum & Blume

California is frequently considered the most European state in America for its cultural and linguistic diversity, future-forward efficiency, and environmental conscientiousness. That being said, how fitting that this German-styled cafe and beer garden takes its place at #6 on our list. Baum & Blume offers guests a chance to taste the flavors of Europe with their Moroccan, Spanish, Tuscan, and Cuban cuisine alongside a menu that changes every week! And to add to the excitement of such exotic foods, you can also buy complete take-home meals, frozen soups, appetizers, and entrees to enjoy in the comfort of your home.

#7: Roux

Were you waiting for a dog-friendly option? Then this one’s for you. Roux offers indoor seating and a covered outdoor patio that is dog-friendly! Roux prepares exceptionally crafted European/American cuisine that is both accommodating and inviting. The chef at Roux strives to make each customer experience unique and customizable to your needs and wants. Need a drink recommendation? The white-wine sangria is a favorite of returning customers!

Food is most truly an adventure all on its own, between flavor, texture, aroma, and so on. These 7 best Carmel Valley restaurants can only add to the excitement and memories you’ll no doubt make when you stay with us at Carmel Valley Lodge during your next trip to Cali. Book now to embark on your next foodie adventure!


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