MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Tucked into the quaint seaside surroundings of Carmel, this high-end restaurant boasts the same appealing mix of luxury and simplicity as its home in the cottage-like L’Auberge Carmel. With only a dozen or so tables, it’s an intimate retreat that offers personalized attention—a must for the many couples that flock to this tony town for weekend getaways. Low ceilings, soft lighting, gauzy curtains as well as a soothing palette of seafoam-green and alabaster add to the hushed aura—though a 25,000-bottle wine cellar will perk up any oenophile around. Helmed by Chef Justin Cogley, the kitchen eschews elaborate technique for a classic approach to fine dining, integrating superlative local seafood and even the sea itself. Imagine the likes of seawater jelly topping a briny Kumamoto oyster heaped with caviar. Then, delicate coastal greens like red vein sorrel pop up in a dish of edamame with buttery chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms; just as kombu envelops a carefully seared slab of delicious A5 Wagyu beef. Desserts boast equal refinement, with satisfyingly sweet and savory creations like the goat cheese panna cotta crowned with juicy and paper-thin slivers of bright red apple.