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

Lokal Restaurant
Ranked #11 of 30 Restaurants in Carmel Valley
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
33 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Food is out of this world but then there are problems...”
4 of 5 bubbles 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.


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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Parbuster1962
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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85 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Manama, Bahrain
Level Contributor
25 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Between lunch and dinner hours they still offered hungry travellers pizza; it was FABULOUS!”
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank PA_foody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel Valley, California
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
8 Thank Neil J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel, California
Level Contributor
92 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Wonderfully funky place with fresh and delicious food”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank SusieFD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Wonderful & unique culinary experience”
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank sasaia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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