If big flavor in little places is your thing, you must try Basil in Carmel, CA. With only ten indoor tables, this quaint restaurant serves bold flavored global cuisine. Raised in Verona, Italy, Basil’s chef, Michelle Cremonese, “was captivated with the wonderful aromas and the addictive atmosphere of a bustling dining establishment.” Don’t expect him to be hidden in the kitchen the whole night. His passion for food and people is apparent, greeting guests with homemade pesto and warm bread and serving the tables humbly with one other server.
When it comes to the menu, it’s hard to go wrong with Basil’s seasonal items. Start the night off with one of their signature cocktails or selection of the best California wines. Pumpkin Pie Martini or Basil Cuke-tini, anyone? Cremonese is known for his creative dishes like lamb meatballs in a bold marinara sauce, black fettuccine with calarmari, spinach and ricotta tortellini with smoked prosciutto and a black truffle sauce, and fish of the day (which was a deliciously moist pink sea bass when I was there) with a celery root and black truffle puree and a smoky beet chutney complimented with a pan seared herb gnocchi. End the night with olallieberries cobbler, flour-less chocolate cake, or Italian bread pudding.
The restaurant is also open for lunch serving an assortment of original salads and sandwiches, such as their smoked salmon BLT, Asian inspired grilled shrimp salad, or blackened steak salad with crispy potato strips. A selection of dinner appetizers and main courses are available during the lunch hour as well if your tummy is really rumbling. In a hurry? Grab a calamari steak salad, fettuccine ai funghi, smoked turkey sandwich, or BBQ chicken quesadilla off their lunch express menu!