Great lunch: Cafe Rustica
Cafe Rustica is an Italian restaurant in Carmel Valley. We stopped in on a sunny day in the valley while we were out for a drive. The lunch menu consists of a few light appetizers, salads, pizzas, ciabata sandwiches and a few dinner-type items. The dinner menu is fairly typical pasta and meat-based Italian dishes. Don't let the embellished selection fool you, however, though the menu is simple, the food is delicious.
The food is excellent and the chef purchases fresh produce form local growers. The wine list is quite extensive for a small restaurant and the beer selection (our choice on a hot day) was good. Our server was able to explain the dishes and had a good understanding of what was going on in the kitchen. Service was friendly, relaxed and prompt.
We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the nice weather. We peaked in to the dining room and I was immediately reminded of a little pizzeria in Florence I used to visit with friends. The ambiance in very inviting and it seems like the kind of place that would be a good time with a group of friends.
This is a great place to stop if you've been spending the day wine tasting in Carmel Valley.
Favorite Dish: I had the Grilled Chicken Breast sandwich. The sandwich was topped with melted provolone cheese, red peppers and caramelized onions. I could live on those onions alone. That and a Heineken made for a filling and tasty lunch.
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Cafe Rustica is one of the top casual restaurants in Carmel Valley. We stopped here one warm, quiet Wednesday afternoon in the early fall and had a very quiet lunch.
We sat in the shade on the umbrella-covered patio near the front entrance. I started with a Beck's, Laura had a Heineken. For our meals I had the unique marinated grilled pork with sage aioli, lettuce and roma tomatoes on an excellent ciabatta roll for $11.50. Laura had the marinated grilled chicken breast served with provolone, lettuce, caramelized tomatoes and roasted red peppers on ciabatta that was also $11.50. Both meals came with an unusual potato salad that neither of us really liked or ate much of.
The service here was friendly and good, and the food excellent, particularly the fresh breads. This is a great little gem on a small side street in Carmel Valley!
Other meals on their menu include pizzas, a variety of salads, numerous sandwiches, pastas, and some country-style meals like chicken-apple sausages, goulash with egg noodles, pork medallions, steak, chicken, salmon, and lamb.
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