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“Food is out of this world but then there are problems...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Lokal Restaurant

Lokal Restaurant
13762 Center Street, Carmel Valley, CA
1 (831) 659-5886
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Ranked #19 of 25 Restaurants in Carmel Valley
Cuisines: Spanish
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Food is out of this world but then there are problems...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

We have now been to this restaurant 5 times over the past 2 summersduring our annual stay in Carmel and we keep returning because in my opinion the food experience is probably the best I have had in all my travels.

But....

Yes, their system of bringing out dishes as they are prepared is annoying for large parties that do not want to share but I like the fact that we can sample 4 or 5 dishes each. However, this system is something that should be revisited because it turns off many people. Their excuse that the kitchen is small is merely an excuse for poor kitchen organization because many larger restaurants have smaller kitchens.

I find the owner a tad annoying and obnoxious and at times rude to people. (ie. when a guest stopped by 2 hours early to ask if he could ad 2 people to his reservation he was loudly told "No" without an explanation or a more polite, "I am sorry but we are completely full tonight and we have no extra space." I could go on about other instances over my past 5 visits but my point is made.

The service is weak and there is a definite tendency for the staff to be slow to take orders and ignore customers. My last visit the 2 older ladies next to us could not get the attention of their waitress so I had to tell the waitress to go to the table. We have discovered that if you come when they open you get better service and have the attention of the staff. However once the restaurant is more than half full the problems start.

For a restaurant with "world class" food preparation the wine list is very weak and lacks imagination. They are located in a wonderful wine growing area and while they have primarily local wines the offerings do little to compliment the wonderful food. We prefer to order wine by the glass so we can tailor the selections to match each dish so they need to expand the list and preferably hire a wine consultant to work his magic and balance the offerings with the food choices.

Lokal is one of the worst restaurants when it comes to serving an appropriate amount of wine to customers who order by the glass. They serve you about an inch and half of wine in a narrow wine glass which is too little for the amount they charge.

This is a restaurant that serious foodies will love inspite of some serious managerial issues. The staff is only as strong as the management and either the owner needs some change his ways or he has to hire an experienced manager to run the restaurant for him.

I would hate to see this treasure in Carmel Valley fail but it will if things don't improve.

Remember you are in business to create a wonderful experience for your customers and the customer is king...not you.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    19
    16
    3
    4
    13
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cairo, Egypt
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Between lunch and dinner hours they still offered hungry travellers pizza; it was FABULOUS!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

Unique and fabulous pizza. Their outdoors area is beautiful! And was perfect with the pizza they serve in between their lunch and dinner hours. Their demeanor was unclear and I'm not sure if they really wanted us to stay, but we did and I am glad we did.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel Valley, California
1 review
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

As a resident in the village, this was our first experience. Flies on the bar, insouciant and slow service, off wine, led us to cancel our food order and leave the restaurant after waiting for nearly 40 minutes. There did not seem to be any concern from the staff on duty.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel, California
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Wonderfully funky place with fresh and delicious food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

We live in Carmel Valley, and just discovered this place, a year after it was opened, since it is tucked at the far end of the street after the wineries. Just as Carmel Valley, it is rustic, and laid back looking, with its chalk-board and old perched wood wall covers.
The menu is somewhat different from the average restaurants, but there is enough selection for everybody.
We just had a brunch there this morning, and second time I am very pleased with everything.
The young lady was very attentive and polite. The food came fast, and it was very fresh and tasty. The Kobe burger is to die for, but the build your own eggs Benedict was one of the bests also.
I also liked their gourmet coffee, and the herb tasting water.

We gonna try them for dinner very soon...

The prices are similar to the Toast, and the 211 Bistro at the crossroads.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Wonderful & unique culinary experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

Wonderful culinary experience. If you are a foodie you will love Lokals creations. So unique and delicious. So refreshing from the glut of traditional and conservative restaurants in the area. The wine list is short but has a nice variety of great wines. The dining room is a trendy version of the Carmel Valley feel and there is a nice outdoor dining courtyard. The staff are friendly and helpful. Go as a couple or as a group.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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