Out of the so many restaurants in Carmel, Flaherty’s Seafood is clearly one of the tops. For over eighteen years I have been haunting this establishment and have never had a disappointing time here.
When the kids were growing up, we visited their grandmother in the nearby Salinas at least monthly. I always made it a point to stop by Flaherty’s (usually for a dish of their Cioppino). After moving to Florida several years ago, this was definitely one eatery that I missed being able to go to.
Recently, we have started to attend the Monterey Jazz Festival every September and have now made it to third consecutive years of attendance. When you only visit the area there are certain “must-see” things to do – Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a drive Oceanside thru Pacific Grove and most definitely, Flaherty’s Oyster Bar. There is one breakfast place in Carmel and only one other restaurant that rate repeat visits for us every single visit.
On last year’s visit, the wait staff even endeared themselves to a much higher degree. Joanie has Celiac disease (a fancy way of saying she must be gluten free or suffer severe side effects) and does not eat meat. With that lifestyle, we know our seafood. While lunching at Flaherty’s before heading over to the Festival, the waiter must have overheard us talking through the menu. Without even asking about it, he suddenly appeared with some warm gluten free bread for her and a gluten free menu. I was thrilled to get my annual fill of Sand dabs and she was in heaven with butter dripping off some of the best gluten free bread she has had. (If you have ever tasted typical gluten free bread, you know what I mean.)
This year, we stopped by for dinner after leaving the Festival early (not a great lineup that night). We walked into a crowded restaurant due to a bus load of tourists passing through. Luckily, we did not have to wait as we grabbed two of the last seats at the oyster bar. With every table filled, we did not expect the normally great service. We were dead wrong. The service was stellar throughout and we did not feel rushed or feel that we were any less important than the big group. Not only our waiter, but all the staff behind the bar were attentive throughout, pleasant, professional and friendly.
After explaining the gluten free issue, it was apparent they have dealt with it many times and knew their stuff (this is becoming more common but it is still a treat to talk to wait staff who KNOW what gluten free means and knows the ingredients of the food they serve). She was pleased to order the Seafood Pasta (made with gluten free pasta and, oh so fresh seafood). I am in a rut and got my annual fill of Sand Dabs again (nothing like this in Florida!). The Sand Dabs, as always, were perfectly done. Breaded perfectly (heavy breading will ruin such a delicate fish) and cooked precisely right, they melt in your mouth. There was more than enough on the plate to sate my appetite for this delicacy until next year. She says that the pasta is the best gluten free pasta she has ever tasted and the long flight out from Florida was worth it just for that. On top of that the seafood was top quality. Even though I was stuffed from the Sand Dabs, I took the luxury of coffee and dessert and enjoyed a great finale for an excellent time in Carmel again.
Start preparing the Cioppino, next year I am going back to that!
Owner ropes you in from the curb then disappears for the rest of the night. Wedge salas with shrimp was terrible, shrimp were from a can. Fish dish we had seemed frozen too. Service was slow, disorganized. I would choose many others before this chain like restaurant.
We have been dining at Flaherty's at least twice a year for the past seven years. My now twelve year old is very particular - hard to please, but she chooses Flaherty's on each trek we make to Carmel. Every fish special I have tried has been very good. I particularly like their sauces. The Cioppino was excellent. The atmosphere is casual which suits us since we always hike Point Lobos and spend time on Carmel Beach before dinner. Service has always been friendly and efficient. We will continue to make Flaherty's one of our stops when we are in the Carmel area.
During our stay the 8 of us stopped in for lunch (2 kids 13, 8) since dad wanted oysters.
The atmosphere was ok, nothing special & very casual, our waitress was nice, but not helpful.
We ordered oyster appetizer - they were good. Not bad.. not GREAT.. but good. We got the calamari, it was good. Kids had the artichoke.. hard to mess up a steamed artichoke.. so that was fine.
Clam chowder was bland and we were hard pressed to find clams, i think there was a few lil diced pieces. Mom seasoned it with salt pepper and tabasco.. and it was an improvement but still just ok.
Burger was a plain burger- unexciting for $11
Clam Sandwhich was ok..
I would expect this at a strip mall.. not downtown carmel. Overall food was ok.. borderline bland
We ate at their diner next door for lunch and it hit the spot. Excellent clam chowder. Wife had the shirmp louis salad - well done, nothing spectacular. I had the Captain's special, a mix of fried fish, calamari, and shrip over chips. It was all very fresh and done well. Decent value overall.
Friendly service and wonderful food!! I spent a weekend in the Monterey Peninsula and it was the best meal I had the whole trip. I highly recommend the specials and the calamari appetizer! The seafood is all very fresh and the sauces are delicious - yum. I had sand dabs with lemon tarrgon(?) sauce. Sooo good.
We enjoy visiting the Oyster Bar at Flaherty's. With its relaxed atmosphere and excellent seafood it is the perfect place to come after a wonderful day on the beaches in Carmel, or after that long drive from wherever. All items on their menu are great - I especially like their seafood sampler. They have a good selection of wines to go with the meals. Try it and you will come back again and again.
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