Balloon Eats Balloon Travels Carmel

Carmel Culinary Week 2020 Survival Guide

The first-annual, week-long Carmel-by-the-Sea Culinary Week kicked off this past Sunday and I got to eat my heart out in the foggy, charming city of Carmel.

What is Carmel Culinary Week?

Think restaurant week but even better! Carmel Culinary Week has immersive food experiences, special prix fixe menus, and fun events for all to enjoy. It gives you a chance to try many different types of food at affordable prices.

How does it work?

Download the Carmel Culinary Week Passport and access all the special offerings during the week. Choose which restaurants or events you want to attend, make a purchase, and “check-in” using the passport. Each “check-in” is an entry to win a trip for two at Carmel-by-the-Sea! You can also access prix fixe menus and check out which restaurants have complimentary offers after you check-in.

When is it?

Carmel Culinary Week is January 19-26, 2020. Don’t miss out!

Where to stay?

Carmel is filled with charming inns around every corner. I stayed at the La Playa Carmel just a few blocks from Ocean Ave. The staff is very helpful and the property itself is insanely gorgeous. They have a delicious champagne breakfast buffet for all hotel guests, complimentary wine in the evenings, and even milk and fresh cookies at night. The hotel is walking distance to all the restaurants I tried. You can also schedule shuttles to Ocean Ave at night. Pro-tip: you’ll be eating a lot so I would use the distance to walk off those extra calories!

What should I try?

I was able to try three different restaurants that are participating in Carmel Culinary Week: Stationæry, Dametra Café, and Cantinetta Luca. I loved each one! Here are the highlights for a short one-day itinerary:

Brunch at Stationæry

Stationæry had been on my list for quite some time and I was glad to hear that they were participating in Carmel Culinary Week. Their special is a crab toast and mimosa for only $10. A glass of mimosa alone is normally $12! The crab toast offers a generous helping of crab. We also ordered the cast-iron pancake, avocado toast, and fruit yogurt to share off the normal menu. All delicious.

Lunch at Dametra Café

Reservations are highly encouraged! Once you get in, the staff here are very welcoming and kind. They play music and sing for over-the-top birthday celebrations during dinner. Guests are even encouraged to get up and dance! The prix fixe menu is for lunch and dinner and will cost you $37. Well worth the value you get. You also get a complimentary glass of champagne for checking in using the passport. For the first course, we tried the Damtera Royal Combination which had hummus, spanakopita, dolmas, babaghanouge, and tzatziki. This alone is enough to fill two people up. For the next course we picked Greek Mossaka and the Almond-Crusted Halibut. The Greek Mossaka is like a delicious lasagna and has baked layers of eggplant, tomatoes, ground beef, and more. I would pass on the Halibut and try the Lamb Kebob. The third and last course is a sweet baklava pastry.

Dinner at Cantinetta Luca

End the night at Cantinetta Luca and feast on delicious Italian food. The prix fixe menu is for dinner and is $45 per person. You can pick from many different options but I’m super happy with what we ordered. For the first course, we picked the wood-fired flatbread with burrata and roasted beet caponata. Wow! The flatbread is huge and it was the perfect appetizer. For the second course, I picked the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. The tagliatelle was al dente and the sauce was perfectly balanced. Pro-tip: they cure their own meat which you can see next to the bar. For the third course, we tried the classic tiramisu. We also ordered the Pizza Funghi a la carte as it was the current special. Cheese and mushroom heaven!

Enough said. Have I convinced you? You need to experience Carmel-by-the-Sea Culinary Week for yourself. Learn more on

This post was developed in a partnership with Visit Carmel.

Carmel Culinary Week. All you need to know.



You Might Also Like...

No Comments

Leave a Reply