Our Classic Carmel Food Tour includes five to six food and drink tastings at some of the best locally owned restaurants and specialty food shops in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The tour lasts for approximately three hours and offers enough tastings that add up to an adequate lunch for most. Expect a variety of delicious eats from farm-to-table restaurants, samples of chocolates made from the same recipes for over a century, and more.
Throughout your tour, you’ll get to take in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea just as the locals do. Strolling through the hidden passageways and exploring the less-traveled side streets, you’ll get to discover what gives this small beach city its unique charm. Along the way, your guide will be happy to share with you recommendations for accommodations, meals, and even where to find the best architectural gems and the best sights of the beach, foothills, and more.
We’ll meet in the courtyard of Carmel’s Sunset Cultural Center , located at 9th Avenue and San Carlos Street. Use this intersection for GPS navigation, as Carmel-by-the-Sea doesn’t have addresses. The courtyard is located exactly at the 9th and San Carlos intersection, down a set of steps. (Note: The Gothic architecture of the building makes it look similar to a church, but it isn’t. You’ll get the whole story on this during your tour.)
The restaurants and specialty food shops visited vary, however we always choose a good variety to explore for each tour.
The restaurants and shops visited for tastings may include:
Alvarado Street Brewery & Bistro – Mixed fermentation brewery with leveled-up pub fare.
Anton & Michel – Modern European with signature tableside service.
Cafe Carmel – Mouthwatering baked goods, all prepared on-site.
Caraccioli Cellars – Elegant, local winery specializing in sparkling wines.
Carmel Honey Company – Raw, unfiltered honey from a company started by a 5th grader.
Dutch Door Donuts – Homer Simpson would trample a crowd for these fresh donuts.
La Balena – Tuscan-style, hearty, fresh menu with simple ingredients that feed your soul.
La Playa Hotel (Bud’s) – Iconic hotel with beautiful views and traditional bar lounge with unique nuances.
Lula’s Chocolates – Locally made confections, family-owned for more than 100 years.
Mission Bistro – This history-rich location is warm, charming, and above all cozy. With local sources, they serve what is fresh and seasonal.
Nielsen’s Market – One of Carmel’s oldest businesses, with everything from the finest wines to fresh-grilled sandwiches at lunch.
Promesa Carmel – Tapas kitchen with a passionate, creative chef and eclectic Spanish wines.
Social Hour Carmel – Unique retail store that puts a twist on the cocktail experience.
The Nut Hut – Organic and locally prepared nuts (and fruits) in the best varieties and flavors.
Every tour features five to six tastings.
The tour begins promptly at 11:00 AM and ends at approximately 2:00 PM.
Your guide typically arrives approximately 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the tour and will be looking out for your arrival.
This tour is geared towards adults, however all ages may join with a full price ticket.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for walking.
There is free street parking on San Carlos Street all day south of 8th Avenue — just be aware of driveways. Additionally, there is a free parking lot on the north end of the Cultural Center that is accessed from 8th Avenue.
This is a walking tour, yet the walks are relatively short distances with breaks at the tasting locations. This experience is appropriate for most fitness levels.