Nepenthe: "Not EXACTLY in Carmel, but don't miss this place!" Carmel-by-the-Sea Restaurant Tip by rjweber21
Carmel-by-the-Sea Restaurants: 84 reviews and 137 photos
OK, OK, this isn’t in Carmel, but if you’re visiting the Carmel area, you should not miss this restaurant; it’s just down highway 1 in Big Sur. It will take you about 40 minutes to get to Nepenthe from Carmel, but the drive is beautiful, so you won’t even notice the time. The views remind me of the Napali Coast on Kauai – ocean, cliffs, vegetation – it’s awesome.
Make sure you leave Carmel by 11:15 AM in order to get to the restaurant by noon. You might even leave a little earlier in order to make sure you can get a table inside on the window, or (my favorite) outside on the deck looking South West. They have some great fish dishes, and definitely order the goat cheese and roasted garlic appetizer.
Gary Pisoni and Gary Fransconi are two of the best Pinot Noir producers in the world and their vineyards are located due east of the Big Sur coast, over the mountains, in an area called the “Santa Lucia Highlands” (SLH). I love the Pinots out of this area, and Nepenthe just happens to serve pretty much all of the Gary(s) offerings. Outstanding!
Bring a designated driver: The drive back to Carmel always seems a lot shorter, but it’s a curvy road, and I wouldn’t want to try and navigate it with more than a glass of wine in my system.
Bottom line, don’t miss this restaurant – it will be a place you return to on every future trip to Carmel / Big Sur.
Favorite Dish: The goat chees appetizer and the Ahi sandwich are great, but honestly, the wine, and the view is so good; I don't even know if I tasted the food.
Address: Highway #1, Big Sur, CA. 93920
Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: Nepenthe is located on California Highway One, about 30 miles south of Carmel, near the Ventana Inn and Post Ranch Inn. Look for the Nepenthe sign on the west (ocean) side of the highway.
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