Best Restaurant Carmel Valley: Cafe Rustica (Owner Julien Belliard and manager Ivy Ottmar)
10 Delfino Place,
Cafe Rustica is curriculum—a lesson in how to create a successful restaurant. Its key ingredients are a warm and charming ambience; quality dishes that are hearty and uncomplicated yet creative; good value for both wine and food; and a bonus gift of outdoor dining. It sounds obvious but, though this recipe is often attempted, it’s rarely achieved so well. Rustica seems to be releasing some kind of restaurant pheromone, creating a certain type of fanatic loyal customer. Or maybe it’s just the cozy stone walls, the toasty wood-fired oven sizzling roasted meats and hot pizza to perfection, and the fresh and colorful local produce that brightens the delicious salads, pasta and entrees. School is in session.