Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, has long charmed visitors with its architecture—notably, Tudor-style cottages that evoke the English countryside. Now, a new restaurant that is generating plenty of buzz in this coastal enclave is transporting guests to modern-day Europe with its chic bistro-inspired vibe.
Chez Noir is the debut restaurant from chef Jonny Black and his wife, Monique, industry veterans who previously worked in San Francisco. They’ve created an unfussy fine-dining experience that celebrates coastal cuisine, including dishes that might star oysters, Monterey Bay abalone and a whole grilled petrale sole. (Lamb and NY strip appeared on a recent menu, too.) Hyperlocal ingredients are also showcased, like fried Pezzini Farms artichokes and brioche served with Stepladder Creamery cultured butter.
For the interior, the Blacks enlisted San Francisco-based hospitality design studio ROY. The dining room, illuminated by handmade aged brass light fixtures, features a high-gloss almond lacquered ceiling and reclaimed wide-plank wood floors. Deep indigo leather banquette seating wraps one side of the space, while a round chef’s table with a green textured linen banquette occupies a corner next to the kitchen. Turmeric velvet drapery and oxblood marble are also part of the color story.
The adjoining jewel-box bar, lined with antique mirror and jade-hued hand-glazed tile, harkens to Old Hollywood. The hand-crafted ceiling, composed of pieces of abalone shell, is complemented by a red-veined Calcutta marble bar top, pink stools, marble checkerboard flooring and brass elements. In addition to the 36-seat dining room and a bar that accommodates eight, there is courtyard seating for 22 guests. Consider this the perfect spot to end a day of strolling Carmel Beach, teeing off at nearby Pebble Beach Golf Links or ducking into the downtown galleries and shops.