Where to Eat in Carmel-by-the-Sea: Mission Bistro


We recently had the best dining experience at Mission Bistro in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Nestled on Mission Street between Ocean Ave and 7th Ave. We visit Carmel often, but this was our first time trying Mission Bistro, despite having walked past its inviting exterior numerous times. The cozy, welcoming ambiance had always caught our eye, and we are so glad we finally decided to dine there on this trip.

As soon as we stepped inside, we felt at home. The restaurant’s warm, rustic décor, accentuated by exposed brick walls and soft lighting, creates an intimate yet vibrant atmosphere. It’s perfect for a romantic date night or a family dinner, as our four-year-old daughter also felt right at home. The staff greeted us with genuine smiles, making us feel like valued guests from the moment we walked in.

One of the highlights of our evening was the opportunity to chat with the owner, Shaheen Alnuaimi. His passion for food and dedication to quality were evident as he shared his philosophy of using organic ingredients (when available) and unique spices to elevate each dish. He explained how he sources ingredients from local Monterey and Santa Cruz County farms, ensuring that everything is fresh and wholesome. Shaheen’s parents frequently travel back to the Middle East to handpick the finest spices, adding a touch of authenticity and love to their dishes.

Shaheen’s commitment to quality doesn’t stop at the ingredients. The restaurant’s open kitchen concept is a testament to this mission, allowing customers to see the care and dedication that goes into every dish. The owner genuinely loves what he does and believes in what they stand for, bringing the highest quality ingredients possible to all of their dishes. This, paired with an excellent wine list and a devotion to making their customers feel like they’re at home, sets Mission Bistro apart. His appreciation for the support he gets from the local community is very noticeable, and his genuinely warm personality is infectious. His dedication to quality extends beyond the food. During our visit, he shared that Mission Bistro was the first restaurant to participate in Carmel Cares’ initiative to install high-tech air filtration systems. This initiative aims to protect both diners and staff by ensuring clean, safe air inside the restaurant.

Mission Bistro Carmel, Ca

Top: Chocolate Marquise Cake

Mission Bistro Menu

Our dinner experience at Mission Bistro began with a Baby Beet Salad. The salad was a vibrant mix of baby beets, citrus segments, goat cheese, arugula, and hazelnuts, all brought together with a tangy sherry vinegar dressing. It was a refreshing and flavorful start to our meal.

We also started with the Cheese & Charcuterie board, which featured a selection of cured meats, cheeses, and accouterments. It was a skillfully curated charcuterie board that the whole family enjoyed.

And you know we love food- so we obviously had to try the House-made Sausage served over creamy polenta. The sausage was perfectly seasoned and juicy, complemented by the rich and smooth polenta. The sausage is made in house with the trimmings of pork and wagyu steak giving it incredible flavor. Shaheen doesn’t skip corners and is only producing the highest quality meals- no mystery meat.

For our main courses, our family ordered the Steak Frites and the Pork Rack Tomahawk. The Steak Frites featured a charbroiled rosemary-marinated petite filet (teres major), served with a luscious port wine demi-glace and crispy French fries. The steak was cooked to perfection, tender and flavorful, while the fries were golden and crunchy.

The Pork Rack Tomahawk was a showstopper. This grilled Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc pork was incredibly tender, practically falling off the bone, and the marbling was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The combination of flavors and textures was truly exceptional, making it one of the best pork dishes we’ve ever had.

If you know Chad, you know no meal is complete without dessert, and Mission Bistro did not disappoint. We indulged in the Chocolate Marquise Cake, a decadent chocolate mousse cake with a chocolate cake crust and cherry syrup. Each bite was rich, velvety, and simply heavenly.

We also tried the Fig and Cardamom Bread Pudding, a seasonal delight that perfectly balanced sweetness and spice. The bread pudding was moist and flavorful, with the fig and cardamom adding a unique and delightful twist.

standing outside of Mission Bistro in Downtown Carmel California wearing black pants

Mission Bistro Carmel-by-the-sea

Mission Bistro

Mission Bistro has truly set itself apart as one of the best restaurants in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The combination of a welcoming atmosphere, exceptional food, and a passionate owner dedicated to quality makes it a must-visit for anyone in the area. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, make sure to add Mission Bistro to your list of dining destinations. You won’t be disappointed!

Our visit to Mission Bistro in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, was an unforgettable experience. From the warm, inviting ambiance to the exceptional food and the owner’s passion for quality, every aspect of our meal was delightful. This charming bistro has earned a permanent spot on our list of must-visit restaurants in Carmel. If you’re looking for where to eat in Carmel-by-the-Sea, make sure to check out Mission Bistro. You’ll be treated to a dining experience that combines the best of local ingredients, unique spices, and a commitment to excellence.

For more information and to make a reservation, visit their website at Mission Bistro.