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“Great way to sample menu with friends” 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 #17 of 27 Restaurants in Carmel Valley
Cuisines: Spanish
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Monterey, California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great way to sample menu with friends”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

This restaurant has something for everyone. Vegetarian, meat and seafood on the menu. We shared several items among 4 of us, so we could sample the menu. The macaroni cheese balls with lobster, and the beet salad were favorites. For dessert be sure to try the Chocolate Cookie ice cream sandwich - it's "plate size". We had a local bottle of red wine which was great - both in price and taste. Casua.

Child friendly, and very friendly staff. Patio makes it OK for 4-legged friends to come along. Low key atmosphere, and not rushed to give up our table on a Friday night.

It's worth the drive out to the Village in Carmel Valley for dinner.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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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
Monterey, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“We've had better in West Africa”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2014

We've had better dining experiences in West Africa

Four of us went into this place out in Carmel Valley Village recently for a light dinner just after 6 pm. We wanted to try something new and passed up several good options. We were looking for a low key good dining experience and had no preconceptions. We had available a little over an hour. Since several restaurants in the Village provide excellent experiences we were hopeful that Lokal would as well. There was plenty of parking and a nice low key entrance with veggies growing in the front entrance. We hoped that the vaguely organic/granola feel and name implied that the food would be fresh and local. Not so.
It was a huge disappointment, particularly from the service side of things.
First we had to stand around for a while to get seated. Where the servers were was an unknown, since they certainly weren't out there with the existing three customers, but maybe the restaurant staffs minimally knowing there won't be much business. We should have known at this point that it wasn't going to be a good experience, but stuck it out. What followed was sort of a black comedy of errors, which could have been almost funny if we hadn't been hungry. As it was, it became about as bad a restaurant serving experience as the four of us have ever had in the US. Endless waiting for service, and then more waiting and waiting , watching each other eat as the dishes are delivered randomly, trying to ignore the brown ends on the wilted salads (whatever happened to the organic/local vibe/and the veggie patch in front?), having to ask three times for water and then the chlorine taste/smell overrode the cucumber mint, rarely seeing the server except when she was pushing drinks, getting billed for items that we hadn't ordered, and finally having a little tussle over getting the bill fixed.

Don't get me wrong, there were several dishes that were ok, like the lobster macaroni cheese balls, but they were coupled with the aged vegetables and a couple of dishes that were bland and tasteless. Also the ceviche was a little suspect from the taste and smell, and we wondered how long it had been around, or maybe the fish had been left in the lime juice too long and that made it mushy. Hard to know. Everything was presented colorfully, but it seemed as if whatever minimal effort that had gone in to the total experience had been pretty well used up on the presentation. There was no way that even if the food were uniformly interesting and good, that it could compensate for the incredibly slow service, rudeness, overcharging attempts, and general disregard for the customer. We left hungry, much poorer, feeling taken advantage of, and frustrated.

No fun at all.

When we finally got away after almost two hours, we all agreed that it was one of the worst restaurant experiences that any of us had had in recent memory, and made two of us recall our Peace Corps stints in West Africa. At least in Sierra Leone and Nigeria you know going in there will be games and no service and expect some communication challenges. Lokal has no such excuse. There are plenty of good dining options on the Peninsula-not this place.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Santa Clara, CA
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Nourishing, Flavorful Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2013

We stopped by for a late lunch upon the recommendation of the tasting room staff at Joyce. It was a perfect, relaxed place to eat after wine tasting. The poached eggs and greens were delicious as was the BLT with egg. Good coffee and nice relaxed seating outside on a warm winter afternoon.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Watsonville, CA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Started off with dessert”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2013

Exploring the village, stopped in at Lokal (I heard about it on the internet). The waitress working was very knowledgeable, and patient as the group didn't know if we were ready to eat, just wanted to have something to drink or what. When a drink was decided to be in order, then it took 3 of the 4 of us to figure out what that would be, and the waitress kindly and patiently offered tastings of the beers and wine. While drinking our beverages, we decided to start with a dessert that was on the chalkboard wall and it was heavenly. A chocolate mouse with olive oil and sea salt - definitely a good choice (provided by our waitress). While there (we were only the second party to arrive) the first party was being served their meal and what went by definitely looked very appetizing and smelled great. We will definitely come back for a full dinner the next time in town.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Carmel Valley, California
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Nice surprise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2013

we're lunch patrons like the fresh well prepared reasonable priced fare. tried dinner last night , blown away. the Alaskan and the California halibut , yep we had both .were each uniquely presented and popcorn squash soup then Eggnog dessert. Oh my.
Don't come here if you don't have time to wait for food but find time to complain or misunderstand the term family style serving. Star quality chef, nice staff outside patio.Happy holidays.
Mike & Sunday

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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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