If you have been following the #BurdFamilyRoadTrip on Instagram, then you might have seen we recently went up to the Monterey Peninsula. With Nana taking very good care of the Little Birds, we escaped for a date night into my hometown of Carmel. It happened to be the busiest weekend of the year up there, as the Concours de Elegance seems to have grown into “Monterey Car Week,” and we couldn’t get a dinner reservation until 8:45 pm. So we decided to get a drink and bite beforehand. Since I’m a longtime fan of Mundaka, trying out the new Barmel next door was an easy choice.
Mundaka owner, Gabe Georis, took over the old dive next door about a year ago, and completely redesigned the space — which is very approachable, comfortable, timeless yet contemporary. The “bar” is vintage and there is a small stage for live music. That night a bluegrass trio played. The Barmel Facebook page is the best place to see the line up. The Georis family does great restaurants. They also know music. Papa Bird can be hard to please, so it was super satisfying to see him relax and enjoy the food, drink, show and feel.
Since I couldn’t find a menu online, I’m sharing it here, even though they aren’t the best quality photos, and the menu probably changes frequently. Chef Brandon Miller of Mundaka does the food here, as well, and I suspect they share a kitchen. We tried all four of the street tacos. And then ordered more. Living in San Diego gives us a taco-critiquing license and they were tasty, as was my “Country #2” cocktail (Bourbon, Absinthe Rinse, Lemon, Ginger.) We got to chat with the chef, a total character, as he took a break to hear the music and sip a Calimocho. I also slipped away for a few minutes to shop for cute clothes for me and the girls in the new boutique, Kai Bella, in the same courtyard. Super cute stuff.
And our dinner reservation? The moment we sat down at the other restaurant, Papa Bird missed the atmosphere and wished we had stayed at Barmel. The other place has a great reputation as “farm to table.” But their waiter had pushed us to order a Caprese that had underripe tomatoes. Underripe tomatoes. Even had they been ripe, it would have been a boring plate, and I was wishing we had ordered the mozzarella stack at Barmel with house made cheese.
Maybe next time. I’m sure we will be back!
- San Carlos St, Between 7th and Ocean Ave Carmel, CA 93921 (That’s as close as an address you will get for Carmel — it’s too quaint for street numbers.)
- No website but here’s the Facebook link.
- Hours: 2:30 pm – 12:00 am, Daily
- Live music: Thurs-Sat 7-9pm, DJ’s Fri/Sat 9-midnight.
- Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30pm.
- (831) 626-3400
- Kids are okay! Just have to be 21+ to sit at the bar.
- No reservation at Mundaka? Have a drink at Barmel, and they will get you when a table is free.