The food was generally creative, but honestly many dishes missed the mark. Case in point, the uni with potato. I love uni and was excited for this small bite, however, the flavor of the uni was hidden by the overpowering roasted potato flavor. This happened on several dishes.
However, that said, the food was not the major problem with this restaurant. The wait staff is inexperienced and not knowledgeable. We had to continually ask for drink refills. They were very polite, but the overall service was average.
And yet, if the price was more reasonable, I would have left with an overall general positive feeling. The price was well above that expected for a restauarant experience of this quality. We ordered 4 glasses of wine between the two of us. They were all house wine, which should generally be between $15 to $20 per glass, maximum. The glasses of house wine were $26. This is excessive in my opinion. Additionally, they add a 20% tip onto the bill. I am not in favor of auto tipping, as my belief is that the tip should be a reward for the overall experience rather than a mandatory charge. However, if they want to do it that’s way, fine, but don’t charge the generally accepted maximum of 20%. Charge 16 to 18 percent. You are basically giving license to your employees to underperform because they know they are receiving the maximum amount of tip regardless of their service level.
Bottom line is that we left with a $560 bill for two of us and felt like it was not a true $560 dining experience. I would not recommend this restaurant for these reasons
This is one of the culinary crown jewels of Monterey + Carmel + Big Sur. Don't miss it if you're in the area.
If you want a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime special dinner for two -- this is the place. Be prepared to pay a premium, so if you're watching your wallet -- go somewhere else. However if you want a Michelin-like experience, top-to-bottom -- this is the place. Every aspect of our dining experience was five stars: greeting, cocktails, seating, service, and certainly the cuisine. Downside: a bit rushed from each dish/wine paring to the next; $1k for two (we did it all, except for cheese & coffee). It was truly a special dining experience that we'll never forget.
My husband and I took my mother to Aubergine’s to celebrate her 90th birthday. She enjoyed every minute and every morsel and so did we. Every dish in the March 2018 tasting menu was delicious. My husband’s favorite was the grilled lamb chop. He said it was the best he’s ever had and he has had many a lamb chop. So tender, perfectly grilled, flavorful. My mother’s favorite was the grilled abalone which Chef Cogley brought out on a small, cute hibachi type grill. It was fork tender and smoky savory - a rare treat. My favorite was the succulent salmon fillet with a light creamy herbed sauce which came with a cheddar brioche roll - melt in the mouth dreaminess, what a combination. Service was friendly and relaxed, not intrusive and well-timed. I loved the serving dishes too - they looked like seashells which had been carefully cracked open to reveal a treasure inside.
Simply great restaurant with excellent food and service!
Very creative dishes that were as delicious as they were beautiful. The dining experience is on its own level. (Pro tip: get the wagyu)
Aubergine was one of the best dinners we have ever had. The menu is very creative, with great use of local ingredients. It's expensive relative to everything else in Carmel/Monterey, but you're getting a Michelin multi-star-like experience at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere. The wine paring was also first rate -- high quality and interesting wines, and substantial pours with each course. The service was also first rate, with great attention to detail.
This is one of those fine dining restaurants ala The French Laundry with as many waiters as patrons. The food is extremely creative. There is a set 8 course meal nightly. We really enjoyed every course, but especially the sea urchin. Love the location in LAuberge de Carmel.
One of our ten best meals EVER!!! The multi-course dining experience is exquisite, unique and sensational. Add the perfect wine pairing carefully orchestrated with the kitchen and solmaliers is exceptional but especially the insights on origin and character of each wine with an explanation of how the wine compliments the food course...
We had a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. The food was exquisite, the service was exceptional: everything was excellent. We got sat directly in front of the kitchen, which was a bummer (for a 2000 dollar meal for two you would think they would give us a great seat) but, someone had to be the unlucky ones! Everything was truly wonderful and we had a great experience!
The pacing of the tasting menu was a little hurried.
Beautifully presented and delicious Northern California seasonal specialities.
Absolutely incredible. Well worth the money. The experience was top notch. Our waiter was beyond great. Got to meet the chef! Never had a better meal. Thank you!
We went to this restaurant for our honeymoon. It was very romantic and the service was great. We were pleased that the meal lasted over two hours. We had great conversation and enjoyed our time there.
This was an outstanding culinary experience. No doubt this should be a Michelin star restaurant. I hope Michelin expands their region to include Carmel! Not easy on the wallet, but worth every penny from our perspective. Compliments to the Chef on an amazing meal.
Perfect in every way. Though there are 8 courses, courses are still generous but you do not leave feeling uncomfortably stuffed. That is because the food is creative, seafood based and so full of flavors and textures.
We attended the New Year Eve six-course meal this past year. It was incredibly disappointing. The food was sub par. The wine pairings were odd. The ambiance was lacking. I wouldn't recommend.
We dined here on New Years Eve. The price was $195/person. It was supposed to be a five course dinner. The total amount of food we got would maybe fill a salad plate. The first course was an oyster about the size of a bottle cap with a dime sized amount of caviar on it.
The main course was tasteless almost raw sole with a few sliced raw white mushrooms on top.
We both left hungry and angry!
The menu for the New Year's Eve dinner was excellent. We were disappointed, however, with the service; had to ask for water refills, the wrong silverware was placed, and they almost skipped serving one of the courses. The main course, the filet of sole, was served lukewarm. Expected better at $195/per person.
Tip of 20% is already included which is disappointing. We have asked for part of the order to go and it was never given to us.
We had high hopes as our friends lauded the restaurant for years. We came for the Christmas Eve dinner and actually lowered our expectations as the menu didn't look too exciting, but I figured the chef would work his magic and produce some outstanding dishes. Unfortunately, lots of rookie mistakes were made that overshadowed the creativity of the dishes. The steamed crab with capers in shiro dashi was so over-salted that I gulped down a glass of water. The monkfish was overcooked and had no flavor. The gingerbread and the buche de noel were dry. Even the barley bread with the softened butter were disappointing. The whole meal was almost $500 (we didn't get wine as we had been doing wine tasting all day) as they charged tax on top of the service charge (an automatic 20%). There are too many of restaurants of this caliber in California that we will not be coming back to this one. What a disappointment!!!
My wife and I were there for our anniversary. We had a wonderful experience.
If you are looking for some of the best food in the world, come here. The dishes are unique, tasty and worth every penny spent. I LOVED this restaurant and it was perfect for the birthday we were celebrating.
A+ on all points: Service was friendly with marvelous timing. Food was inventive but not intimidating, and everything tasted fantastic.
Service was incredible! Dishes prepared just right and wine pairing added to this incredible experience.
This time is slightly salty and double charged for my credit card.
We celebrated our 55th Anniversary at Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel. We have lived and traveled around the world. We truly never had a dining experience we had at Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel. Each of the servings were a piece of art and loaded with tastes. The dining experience will live with us the rest of our lives.
Delicious, loved the individual sides, great to make this experience a Thanksgiving tradition!
The chef had kindly prepared a vegan menu for us. We felt is was a bit repetitive with ingredients and lacked the breadth of flavors and creativity we had expected. We also found the servers overstretched and wondered if they had a staffing issue that night. We do want to especially compliment the dessert chef who quickly created an alternative when she found my husband doesn’t consume alcohol (a whipped coconut concoction that was fabulous.)
Service and food was 5 star. Great wine list. Very friendly
Let me start by saying that my wife and I are foodies and we have been to plenty of these types of restaurants in many cities around the world. We were disappointed at Aubergine. The service was extremely good, however the food and the place was not. We were the only two people there, and only another couple visited the restaurant that night. On a Thursday night with many other Carmel restaurants packed, we could not avoid the feeling of having entered into a restaurant that was once glorious but has lost its spark. The food was by no means great. Aubergine has been one of the least attractive and most expensive culinary experiences in a while: The bill was more expensive than other amazing places such as Daniel, Per Se, and the French Laundry, but Aubergine did not come even close to such places in terms of food, ambiance and overall experience.
Great experience. Food was superb - almost every dish brought something special in terms of flavors and/or presentation. Excellent service.
Just a phenomenal place to have a once in a lifetime meal.
The food was original and imaginative. The waitstaff were attentive without being obtrusive. The muzak clashed with the food.
Chef seems more focused on unusual ingredients than flavor pop. The dishes, though creative, lacked the flavor explosion so noticeable in a Michelin grade restaurant. The ambiance was non existent. Overall, a very disappointing experience.
Delicious food and attentive service. Good adaptation to advance notification of a few food preferences. Generous pours on the wine pairings.
The tiny ribeye medallions showed how little is needed if the quality is superb! And the barbecued celery root was totally unexpected as a memorably delicious creation. Bravo.
Gastronomic paradise - interesting choices that worked so well together, especially with the wine pairings. We left satisfied but not stuffed. Service was rushed like they were getting us out for the next seating. Often we were gulping down our wine while the next one was being poured. Very expensive but if you love excellent food, this is worth the splurge.
Pricey, but a really lovely experience. Staff grew increasingly friendly( not stuffy) as the evening went on, and chef did a great job of accommodating our likes and dislikes. Highly recommend doing one of each of the wine pairings: the regular and reserve -- for $50 more for the reserve, it's fun to compare and contrast (&, sometimes the lesser wine paired slightly better w/the food). A memorable birthday.