While on a weekend trip to Carmel by the Sea, California, I was on a hunt to find the best spot in town for a savory date-night dinner. After extensive research and sampling, I have to say that the dining experience at Il Tegamino was just what this lady was looking for. I am excited to share a fabulous restaurant recommendation for friends and followers traveling to this majestic seaside town in Northern California (just 2 hours south of San Francisco by car).
Tucked back away from the main road behind Cottage of Sweets, Il Tegamino is a cozy Italian bistro that checks all the right boxes – stellar service, an intimate setting, and of course, a delectable cuisine. The restaurant is owned and run by a lovely husband-wife team who strive to provide the best of authentic Italian comfort food for all of their guests. Giuseppe Panzuto, originally from Napoli, Italy, has vast culinary experience that has taken him from Italy, to New York, and now Carmel. With exposure to the best recipes and kitchens in the world, Guiseppe knows his food and wine. But more importantly, he and his beautiful soon-to-be wifey, Colleen, know how to make guests feel right at home.
Due to its small intimate size, the restaurant does not take reservations, but accepts walk-in customers on a rolling basis. I arrived early to grab a seat in the outdoor courtyard space where they provided us with plush blankets and patio heaters to keep us extra cozy as the night grew chillier. The restaurant quickly filled with guests enjoying the company of friends, family, and even a puppy sleeping beside its owner’s table in the outdoor seating area (who doesn’t love a dog friendly dining option, ladies?).
From there, we ordered a bottle of local Carmel Valley wine and tasted a few of the recommendations on the menu starting with the creamy burrata. Boasting a polpette bar portion of the menu (Italian for “meatball bar”), we had to try a few of the specialty meatballs along with our salad. My favorite of all the meatballs was the crab seafood ball – absolutely delicious. For our main course, we tried the homemade bucatini alla carbornara and lamb scottadito. The flavors and warmth of the food were explosive with the combination of local red wine. To finish this mouthwatering dinner experience with a bang, we tasted the torta caprese, which is a flourless chocolate cake served beside almond, dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
With so many fantastic restaurants to choose from in downtown Carmel, you must put this hidden gem on your travel itinerary. Providing creative culinary thought with each dish on the menu, coupled with a warm ambiance, this is the perfect dinner option to end a day of activities along the California coast. Whether you are out at the beach, wine tasting or boutique shopping, end your day with a dinner to remember at Il Tegamino. The best dining experience of my Carmel trip, follow along below for a few snapshots of the items we tasted from the menu and full details on this Ladyhattan approved restaurant below.
Ladyhattan Approved Restaurant
Il Tegamino in Carmel by the Sea, California
- South side of Ocean Avenue between Lincoln and Monte Verde (tucked in the Courtyard behind Cottage of Sweets)
- Walk-ins only (no reservations, unless you are a large private party)
- Dog Friendly (for outdoor courtyard seating only)
- Blankets/heat lamps available for outdoor seating
- You cannot leave here without trying the Polpette Bar options (meatballs)
- Open 5-9pm every evening except Wednesdays
- Click Here for the Website and Menu
- Phone: (831) 250-5790