Originally opened in 1955 as a joint-venture chocolate shop, Em Le’s welcomes visitors into its quaint A-frame dining room with the irresistible scents of fresh pasta, simmering sauces, and seared meats. The eatery is known for its french toast, made with a recipe that has remained unchanged since 1955. The batter-cooked confection is served during breakfast alongside more than 10 savory omelets and pancakes piled with fresh fruit. Guests can snuggle up to the fireplace while they browse a dinner menu of comfort food ranging from spaghetti and meatballs to short ribs served with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh veggies.
Hawaiian art and vintage surf paraphernalia deck the walls of Hula's Island Grill And Tiki Room, adding to the restaurant's island ambience. In the kitchen, cooks draw on the flavors of the Pacific Rim to craft raw ahi poke, luau pork sandwiches, and spring rolls alongside burgers, steaks, and tacos. More than 30 types of rum wait behind the bar to be poured into a mai tai or dark and stormy.
Upon seeing a restaurant menu dotted with wild mushrooms, fresh Idaho trout, and market berries, many people's first thought is, "I should not have worn shorts." Chef Christopher J. Caul doesn't mind, though. The head chef of Christopher’s On Lincoln prefers a casual vibe and welcomes t-shirts as warmly as he does tuxedos splotched with caviar. Love of good food is the great equalizer at Christopher's on Lincoln.
As the first traces of dusk streak the Carmel sky, Chef Christopher applies his 30 years of culinary know-how and almost none of his high-school algebra to a selection of seasonal ingredients grown along the Central Coast. Appetizers of salmon might get cured with tequila and lime, while rock-shrimp risotto might be crowned with chile rellenos crusted in cornmeal. Taste buds can often detect a hint of brandy seared into entrees of braised New Zealand lamb shanks and Muscovy duck breasts. If the flavor of the zinfandel mint jus proves too subtle, diners can up the dosage with wines from Monterey County, as well as some of Chef Christopher's favorites from across the state.
Crab Louie Bistro's dockside location on Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf is the ideal location for diners to enjoy feasts of grilled Pacific salmon, clam chowder, dungeness crab, and buttery white-wine shrimp scampi. Lovers of land-based fare can tuck into plates of grilled top-sirloin steak or zesty blackened-chicken linguini. Seafood fans can even breakfast on their favorite catches, including shrimp-and-mushroom omelets, or enjoy lunches of fish tacos with chipotle aioli. A separate children's menu includes kid-friendly seafood such as popcorn-shrimp plates along with classic go-to meals, including a grilled cheese. A litany of adult beverages complements surf-and-turf dinners with sips of cold beer and California wines.
From a cozy perch at a windowside table, diners can look out at a stunning maritime scene: sailboats coming into port at the marina, waves lapping at the dock, and seagulls wheeling dangerously close to the dragon responsible for the Technicolor flames of a glorious Pacific sunset.