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For Chilly Fall Days Try Flaherty’s Heartwarming Apple Torte

Nobody can say they don’t like Apple Pie, that’s just impossible. It’s a sweet staple of any American family, cafe or restaurant. It’s often requested here at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill in Carmel, which is why we keep it permanently on the menu.

Along with beer, BBQ and burgers, apple pie is about as American as it gets. Or is it?

Apples are said to have originated in Kazakhstan, where after the entrepreneurial Romans engineered it to become a sweeter apple (at least sweeter than the very sour crap-apples available in Northern America). They later brought them to England along with bath tubs and plumbing.

Ultimately, it was the colonists who introduced these crispy and sweet-sour apples to the US. And even later the legendary Johnny Appleseed really did plant the first apple orchards in the US, and we haven’t looked back since.

The British colonists also brought with them the concept of the apple pie, and maybe a couple of recipes. But with time and through generations, Americans made those recipes all their own.

We know for sure that Russian immigrants brought with them the wheat variety that we now use for making wheat flour. Before that America’s baking was mostly done with corn-flour. It is also said that the flaky crust was inspired by the ‘Apfel Strudel’ of the German immigrants settling in the US.

So… as America is a country founded by immigrants, you can say that the Apple Pie (combined with it’s foreign components) is just about as American as it gets.

There are many different varieties of Apple Pie seen in the United States today. There is the delicate Apple Galette loved by francophiles, the Germanic Apple Strudel, and the Dutch Apple Crumble.  Last but certainly not least, there is the Apple Torte, which we like to serve here at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill.

Oh, and by the way! When we said ‘As American as Apple Pie’, we actually meant to say ‘As American as Apple Torte with Ice-cream.’ Rich and perfect for the chilly days of late fall, is a piece of our heartwarming Apple Torte loaded with apple slices and completed with a generous dollop of Vanilla Ice cream. This blissful combination is exactly what we all want and expect.

Creating New Traditions: Seafood Thanksgiving Dinner at Flaherty’s

How about doing something different for Thanksgiving this year? Here in Central California it’s not uncommon to see families substitute the bird for seafood, like for example a glorious plate of crab.  This year, Flaherty’s will be offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings for $29.95 (kids under 15 for $15.95).  If you’d like to try something out of the ordinary, we have some fabulous seafood options from our regular menu.

Actually, it’s said that much of the first Thanksgiving between the Native Americans and Pilgrims featured shellfish and fish such as lobster, bass, clams and oysters. So, let’s go back to our holiday roots by celebrating with a family style meal!  

Thanksgiving is a holiday all about family, friends and sharing food. Flaherty’s Seafood Grill has always put emphasis on welcoming families and the restaurant is set up to comfortably host larger parties, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

To stimulate the appetite you could all share a number of different starters. We can recommend our festive Potato Pancakes & Smoked Salmon served with a dollop of Créme Fraîche and Caviar, our Pacific Fried Oysters or a crowd pleaser like our Signature Crab Cakes. Also, wonderfully warming for fall are Flaherty’s Signature Clam Chowders.

Everybody can agree that the main Thanksgiving entree should be hearty and satisfying. Our Wild Halibut Encrusted with Cashew Nuts can undeniably be described as such. Served with Wild Porcini Mushrooms in a Sherry Cream Sauce on a plentiful gathering of Heirloom Potatoes and Veggies, this succulent seafood dish promises to make your tummy thankful!

At this point in the dinner we hope you have saved room for the desert, because Thanksgiving is not complete without a fall-inspired, rich traditional desert. In this department we’re quite certain we can deliver with either our New Orleans Pecan Pie Traditionally Southern, or with our Apple Torte with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Feel free to call us to reserve a table for your Thanksgiving celebration!

"In Carmel, You’re not far from Garlic Heaven"

Gilroy is a small town about a 45 min. drive north of Carmel. The town’s main crop is garlic, which is why it’s also known as ‘The Garlic Capital of the World’. The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival is a huge event where garlic lovers all over the country flock to try all things garlic. There you might step out of your culinary comfort zone to try Garlic Ice-Cream or perhaps a piece of Garlic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. We dare you!

The Gilroy Garlic Festival was founded in 1979 when Dr. Rudy Melone (yep, he was Italian), decided that the community ought to stop being embarrassed about their garlic heritage and instead start embracing it. The local farmers of Gilroy have never looked back, as the mighty garlic has since been celebrated every year in Gilroy, CA. The festival is now one of the largest food events in the United States.

At Flaherty’s Seafood Grill in Carmel we benefit from our close proximity to Gilroy, or Garlic Heaven, as we like to think of it!  Our chefs love to implement garlic in a variety of dishes. Let’s take some of our seafood dishes like Eastern Inlet Clams, which are steamed in Garlic and served with Shallots, Leeks and Pesto Butter in a White Wine/Clam Broth.

This small, opalescent white, bulbous onion is what the popular condiment Aioli is made of and which goes so perfectly well with a lot of seafood dishes. There’s our Crispy Local Calamari, seasoned with Aioli, Cocktail, and Tartar Sauce  and accompanied with Corn & Black Bean Relish/Slaw.

Garlic Butter on bread is an all time favorite. But let’s not forget that Garlic Butter and Oysters also happen to be a match made in heaven. On our menu we offer BBQ Oysters, which consists of 4 large and freshly shucked oysters. They’re served with Garlic Butter and Parmesan Cheese. Simple, but oh so satisfying.


“The World Is My Oyster”

Did you know that an oyster can filter up to 1.3 gallon of water per hour? Oyster reefs can significantly improve water quality and clean it for algae, dirt and nitrogen pollution. This means that they are not only good for you, with their large amounts of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, they’re also good for the environment. What’s not to like?

Oysters are an area of expertise at Flaherty’s and our oyster bar offers several kinds. We can prepare Oysters Rockefeller, Barbecued Oysters and even Oyster Stew. These are just a few examples from our oyster menu. When you visit Carmel, come down and let Flaherty’s chef prepare your oysters just the way you like them.

Flaherty’s Oyster Bar has our oysters delivered fresh every day, brought in from the cold waters off British Columbia, California, Washington State and the East Coast.

On most days we have Kumamoto Oysters, which are said to be the ‘Chardonnay’ of oysters, adored by everyone. They originate from Japan, hence the name, and were first shipped to the United States in 1945. Kumamotos are usually quite small and have a mild, light brine. The meats are firm and have a luscious, sweet flavor with a melon-like aftertaste. These oysters have beautiful, deep cupped, highly sculpted shells.

Offered at our Oyster Bar are also the Hama Hama Oysters, which is a Pacific NW bivalve. They are often larger than other types of oysters. They have a bold character and a clean and crisp quality. The meat is firm and the flavor has light cucumber notes. Hamas are versatile; great for eating on the half-shell, grilling or in chowder. It’s also popular because it’s easy to shuck, which is part of the fun!

Flaherty’s Oyster Bar in Carmel also serve the classic Blue Point Oyster, which is always much in demand. Mild in taste it is brought from the east coast, namely the waters around Long Island Sound and Connecticut, which gives it a unique blend of salt and fresh water. The meat is plump and it has a fair size. Always great on the half shell!

Whether you want a quick education in oysters or you’re already set on your favorite type of oyster and it’s preparation, Flaherty’s Seafood & Oyster Bar is the place.

Fish’n’Chips - The much loved, Eternally Classic Dish

Piping hot, softly textured white fish meat encrusted in snappy, crispy, golden brown deep fried batter, accompanied by potato fries sprinkled with salt…

We’re talking about the all-time favorite Fish and Chips fare. Simple and fresh, who doesn’t love this classic? Hardly anyone we’d venture to say. At Flaherty’s Seafood Grill it is hands down one of our most popular dishes and if there’s one item that is eternally fixed on our menu, then of course it would be this traditional, time tested dish.

At Flaherty’s we offer our English Fish & Chips, served with Tartar Sauce and a bowl of Flaherty’s fresh Slaw. It’s up to you if you want to squeeze fresh lemon juice on top!

What you expect from a successfully prepared plate of Fish and Chips is that it should be… well… it should be JUST like it always was, because there’s really no need to experiment here. But, sometimes the simple dishes are are the hardest to pull off. A less desirable fish and chips serving can be a soggy mess if not prepared properly.

At Flaherty’s Seafood Grill we only use high-quality sustainably sourced fish. You have the option of cod, haddock, halibut, flounder or tilapia. Part of the wonderful quality of this dish is that the fish retains it’s moisture due to the deep fried batter. The fish is only dipped in the batter at the last moment before plunging it into the hot frying oil, as this way you achieve the sought after, delisciously crispy snap to the batter. The chips should be crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

So how did this wonder of a dish come about? Originally Fish and Chips was, and still is, a quintessential British dish, arguably more iconic to England than the Queen or The Beatles! Fish and chips is a staple in the English diet and it has gained fans all over the world, especially in coastal towns.

The humble potato was first brought to the Brits in the 1600’s from the New World, i.e. the Americas. But, it was actually the French who invented the Potato chip. And fried fish is believed to have been introduced in London by Jewish immigrants from Portugal and Spain. So sometime, way back, within some few hundred years, the British created their own version of the much loved potato chip and combined it with fried fish, and ta-dah! There you have Fish’n’Chips!

We hear a nagging voice saying: But surely, something this delicious can’t be good for you, can it? The answer is that fish and chips are in fact valuable sources of protein, fibre, iron and vitamins, providing a third of the recommended daily amount of vitamins. Even historically this dish’s huge importance can be measured in that it was the only food that wasn’t rationed during the 2nd World War, both due to it’s nutritional content and also in order to keep the people’s morale intact. The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to fish and chips as the “good companions”.

Once a working class dish, looked down upon by food critics, it is now fully appreciated as a nutritious dish and has a place in even the best gourmet restaurants. Can we count Flaherty’s among them? Come try our Fish and Chips and taste for yourself.

The Famous Castroville Artichoke - right here in Monterey Bay

Here are two words you might not have heard mentioned in the same sentence: Artichokes and Marilyn Monroe! In 1948, while on a promotional tour, the legendary actress was honored as one of the first California Artichoke Queens here in the Monterey Bay Area. The young starlette was an early brand ambassador of California Artichokes and there’s a photo of her and the local farmers each holding artichokes.

Some years later, the Castroville Artichoke Festival was established and has since grown into a huge event, drawing crowds from near and far. Next year, 2019, will be the 60th Castroville Artichoke Festival! Castroville, also known as the Artichoke Capital of the World, is a 20 minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The festival features Monterey County’s finest chefs and food personalities who show off their artistry in cooking with artichokes. The creativity is endless. You can find artichokes prepared in all kinds of ways; marinated, pickled, artichoke burritos, sausage, and artichoke cupcakes! This fun event also includes a parade with live music, an agro art competition for three-dimensional fruit and veggie artwork, wine tasting and even a classic car show.

The Castroville Artichoke Festival is sponsored by the local artichoke farmers whose mission is to boost awareness about how the artichoke industry has influenced the history of Monterey County and to raise money for the local communities and non-profit charities of Castroville, CA.

The artichoke was named California’s state vegetable in 2013. A whopping 99% of all artichokes in the United States are grown in California and, incredibly, almost two-thirds are grown in our own small town of Castroville. This benefits us at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill, enabling us to get the freshest artichokes straight from the local farms nearby.

When it comes to looks, as well as taste, the Artichoke really has it all. It is a beautiful and unusual looking plant, much like a large green flower. Wait, it actually IS a flower! Even though we consider it a vegetable, it’s technically a flower from the thistle family.

The whole, or parts of the artichoke can be eaten, depending on how it’s cooked. The taste is sweet and nutty and on top of that it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants. What more can you ask for?

There are many ways of preparing artichokes, but our chef has found that frying the artichoke just the right way, enhances the texture and flavor and gives it an even more distinct and intensified taste, with a hint of the smoky. It’s accompanied with a delicious Dijon Mayo Dip with Corn & Black Bean Relish and Slaw on the side. Wonderfully satisfying.

Go knock yourself out with Artichoke goodness galore!

Calamari ala Flaherty’s

You should be saying this with a charming Italian accent as Calamari is the Italian word for squid. And while you’re at it, try to say ‘ten tentacles’ 10 times!

Calamari is a ten tentacled mollusk related to the octopus. The most common size for cooking is less than 12 inches, although they can get up to 80 feet! Now that size would fit better in a science fiction movie rather than a 5-gallon cooking pot!

At Flaherty’s, we have made Calamari a delicacy of our own. As a fish restaurant that takes pride in serving a wide variety of fresh seafood, we always have several dishes on the menu that include the popular Calamari. We offer it as a snack, a starter or for lunch – the most popular being Crispy Local Calamari, seasoned and accompanied with Aioli, Cocktail and Tartar Sauce, Corn & Black Bean served with Relish and Slaw.

Our squid is delivered straight from Monterey Bay.  We embrace the slow food movement and try to work with local fishermen as much as possible. It also happens that Monterey Bay, with its rich marine life, has been a place for Calamari fishing for over a hundred years.

The squid fishing season starts in April and can go until early fall. In this period, the squid arrive in the bay to spawn and lay their eggs for the next generation. The local fishermen will employ independent light boats that attract the squid to the surface at night. Special nets are used to catch the Opalescent Market Squid. Although the fishermen have many new technologies available to them these days, the fishing nets are still assembled and repaired by hand.

Throughout the years, squid fishing has been an unpredictable profession. During El Nino, the ocean water can become too warm for the squid’s procreation and the harvesting is diminished. When it’s a good year, the fishermen will make the most of the season. You’ll see them out on the fishing vessels, close to shore where they work 24/7, barely sleeping, taking turns to get a nap. The only thing holding back the amount of squid being caught is the regulations and quota set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  This intense work is richly rewarded. In a good year, as many as $18 mill. worth of squid can go through Monterey Harbor.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Monterey this summer, you might be able to spot up to 30 fishing boats at work out on the bay, a real sight!

It's Late Summer and We’re Having a Key Lime Pie Moment!

At Flaherty’s, we always have several classic desserts on the menu, one of them happens to be a summer favorite: Key Lime Pie. This cool pie with it’s light yellow color and tangy, sweet refreshing taste, satisfies with creamy, light textures. Exactly what you would want in a perfect summer dessert!

Key Lime Pie is a uniquely American dessert and hails from, yes you guessed it, the Florida Keys! Key Lime Pie is now the official pie of the state of Florida. It is said that the recipe originates from a certain ‘Aunt Sally’ who was the cook of Key West’s first millionaire, William Curry, who was a ship salvager in the early 1900’s.

Did you know that the early Key Lime Pies were not actually baked? The ingredients of condensed milk (fresh milk was not available), egg yolks and lime juice thicken by themselves as a chemical reaction. This meant they could be made aboard the local Key West fishing boats and last for days without refrigeration, making a nice snack for the hungry fishermen.

Now, not all Key Lime Pies are created equal. There are many variations out there. Our version uses a tried and tested family recipe that has been perfected through the years by the Spilfogel family. Daniel Spilfogel, the dessert chef and nephew of Flaherty’s owner Ken Spilfogel, shared with us some of the secrets to our unique Key Lime Pie.

One of the things that make our recipe different is that we don’t use gelatin. Gelatin tends to make the filling a bit stiff, which is why we prefer to use pure and simple ingredients such as milk, egg yolks and the essential lime juice to create the über-creamy consistency that we associate with Key Lime Pie. The (not so) secret ingredient to our crust is ground cashews, creating a crunchy texture in our rich graham cracker crust.

Your Key Lime Pie is served with a generous dollop of whipped cream drizzled with raspberry Melba Sauce. Aunt Sally just might have approved, and we are confident you will too!

Celebrate National Refreshment Day in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Today is National Refreshment Day! Whoever dreamed this up, thank you! We love to be reminded, as refreshing dishes and drinks are some of our favorite things, especially at this time of the year. Luckily, Carmel never gets super hot. All we get is a bit of fog over the summer months. Although we have a temperate climate, the weather still calls for the beach and t-shirts.

Warm weather is perfect for a refreshing salad. And maybe one should allow for a cool cocktail afterward? This is what Carmel is made for; zig-zagging between shopping, wine-tasting and finding the perfect lunch spot.

At Flaherty’s Seafood Grill we offer a range of refreshing and delicious salads, including our specialty seafood salads. Who said that you couldn’t be minding your diet and healthy lifestyle while at the same time having something super flavorful and satiating?

Everybody loves a Classic Wedge salad. Ours is made with Maytag Bleu cheese crumbles, tomatoes and red onions. It is topped off with fresh shrimp, candied walnuts and peppered bacon – you’re in for a refreshing treat with Flaherty’s most popular salad!

Dig into our Seafood Mediterranean salad that consists of marinated calamari, bay shrimp with a refreshing blend of feta, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, roasted peppers, red onions, avocado dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Salads on a warm day are best accompanied with a cool glass of Chardonnay such as our J Lohr from Paso Robles or the Bernardus from Carmel Valley, just to name a few from our extensive white wine menu.

After enjoying your salad you might just consider indulging in a refreshing cocktail. After all, a summer afternoon is not complete without one. One of our mixologist’s favorite concoctions is the Tea Garden Cooler – the epitome of summer in a glass. A delicious and unique blend of Broker’s Gin, basil, cucumber and lime. It’s almost impossible to have just one on a hot summer day! 

Join us for a refreshing afternoon at Flaherty’s in Carmel by the Sea!

Carmel’s Rich History - A Walk Down Memory Lane

You know how it is, sometimes one forgets how lucky one is, or maybe we just take great things for granted. We’re talking about being in this little town, where Flaherty’s Seafood Grill has been located since 1976.

Carmel is known all over the world for it’s magical beauty and extraordinary dreamy landscape that seems like something out of a fairy tale. But our little town also has a quaint, almost whimsical quality to it. Did you know that at one point ice-cream cones were banned and that you are not permitted to walk in high heels on Carmel’s wobbly pavements, that in places are jammed with tree-roots?  Take note that ‘High Heeled Shoe Permits’ are available without charge at City Hall, should you find the need to get your stilettos out.

Another funny thing is that the inhabitants of Carmel-by-the-Sea proper have to walk all the way to the post office box to get their mail, due to the lack of street numbers. Unless we want to get lost or stumble over the aforementioned tree roots, we also have to remember to bring a flashlight when we walk home late at night, as Carmel streets are not lit. These peculiarities all help make this place special, unlike any other town.

Carmel also has a reputation for being an artsy place. Early on, bohemian writers and poets like Jack London and Robinson Jeffers came here to find inspiration. Later, Hollywood actors such as James Cagney, Doris Day and Clint Eastwood were lured by Carmel’s charm and made it their home. Carmel has been the location for many a Hollywood film production in it’s day. Lately, the Monterey Peninsula has lent it’s scenery to the popular TV series ‘Big Little Lies’ starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

In the early 1900’s there was the Carmel Summer School of Art, were students took to the outdoors to paint the landscape. To this day this is a tradition with the Carmel Art Festival showing Plein Air paintings each year. Famous painter and eccentric Salvador Dali was an early member of the Carmel Art Association, which is located on Dolores St. and where local talent is continuously showcased. Also known as a center for luxury, shopping and wine-tasting, people flock to this little fairy tale getaway, although it hasn’t always been this way.

Carmel as a place started with the Carmel Mission founded by Junipero Serra in 1771. Later, Carmel as a town was built. The founders were lovers of the outdoors and had a respect for the beauty of the land. They took steps to protect, preserve and enhance what continues to make Carmel such a magical place. Many locals are passionately working in this tradition to keep the coastline’s wild beauty and the town’s charming old world village atmosphere intact.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is loved for it’s many secret and enchanting courtyards and walled gardens. There’s always something new to discover! Did you ever wonder why we have so many fairy-tale style cottages? In 1924 the husband of the creator of the famous Otsy-Totsy ragdolls, decided to build his wife a storybook-style cottage. This quickly became a hot trend, and is why we now see many houses here with this cute and whimsical look.

Then there’s golf! Of course let’s not forget that Carmel and Pebble Beach has long been a dream destination for golf enthusiasts, drawing such famous folks as Bill Murray, Jack Lemon and Bing Crosby. A very early golf course was once located near Carmel Point. Later, on that location, the multitalented poet Robinson Jeffers build his stone Tor House and Hawk Tower after he taught himself stone masonry. We at Flaherty’s have reason to be proud of being part of this colorful community and it’s rich history.

Wine Pairings and Fresh Oysters in Carmel-by-the-Sea

From the hunter-gatherers of the stone age, to the Romans and to the present day, oysters have always been a prized delicacy. Known for their nutritional value (very high in lean protein), silky texture and taste of the sea, oysters are a versatile food, enjoyed in many kinds of dishes or simply raw on the half shell.

At Flaherty’s Seafood & Oyster Bar we are known for our expertise and passion for oysters. We only serve FRESH quality specimens from our trusted purveyors and from the very best locations (or ‘terroir’ in food-speak). You can be sure that our oysters are safe to consume year-round and not just in the months ending in 'R' as the saying goes. If you need a quick education in oysters, you need go no further, as our helpful servers are always ready to chat with you about all things Oyster!

On most days we have fresh Kumomoto oysters, also known as the world’s finest oyster. We have the Hama Hamas which come in various different sizes, as well as the very popular Blue Point oyster.

From our Oyster Bar we serve Fresh Oysters of the day on the Half Shell as well as other Oyster dishes like the popular Oyster Shooter which consists of Fanny Bay Oysters served in a shot glass with Vodka/Tomato/Tabasco chaser. Tasting oysters by themselves is an incredible taste-experience, but pairing them with the right drink can really create a special food and drink moment.

Flaherty’s wine menu offers many wines that pair well with oysters. Classic pairings are the Sauvignon Blancs like our Duckhorn from Napa which offers the clean, dry quality that brings out the subtle complexity of the freshly shucked oysters. Exactly what we’re after! A riesling such as our Eroica Dry Riesling from Washington is also a nice choice.It’s no secret that Champagne is an incredible pairing with oysters. 

The light, clean effervescent bubbles help brighten and cleanse the palate. And while we’re talking bubbles, try chasing the oyster with a Laurent Perrier Champagne, you won’t regret it. Our J.P. Chenet Brut from France is a great choice too.

If you’re enjoying a plate of freshly shucked oysters on a balmy Carmel afternoon, perhaps a cocktail is called for. Our Tea Garden Cooler mixed from a refreshing blend of Broker’s Gin, Basil, Cucumber and Lime might be just the perfect answer. Even if you're a red wine lover, reds are rarely a good option for oysters. The harshness of the tannins and the heavier taste tends to overwhelm the delicate oyster taste. Red wines are great for many of our fish dishes. Our wine menu changes with new and exciting choices all the time. Ask our seasoned mixologists and wine experts, Victoria and Kayla, for a recommendation of cocktails and wines, based on your oyster and taste preferences!

Host Your Next Private Event in Carmel at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill

Creating a successful event, small or large, can be stressful. What you aim for is that your guests are happy, well-fed, entertained and that they will have good memories. Everybody remembers a party where time just flew by, the food was exceptional, and you engaged in friendly conversations with new people. Likewise, we all remember, or rather, we try to forget, that one awkward party were the food was so-so, the host forgot to introduce you to other guests, and you kept looking at the clock, waiting for the ordeal to end so you could head home.  

Hosting a party at a restaurant can alleviate many of the stress factors of having guests over and thereby having a higher chance of a successful event. There are many benefits from hosting your private party away from home. Really, who wants to set up tables, cook and clean up after a party? A private space at a restaurant is also a perfect setting for hosting business luncheons and dinners, anything that deserves a special occasion.

At Flaherty’s Seafood Grill we host many private events for all kinds of occasions from small and intimate to more formal affairs: birthday parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, breakfast meetings, product launches, and exclusive dinners. We have two spaces; one is cozy and casual and accommodates 40 guests. The other space is suited for more formal gatherings and accommodates up to 65 persons.

Our event planner will work with you to make your party a unique experience customized to your wishes. Together we will design a special event-menu with options for everything from hors-d'oeuvres and entrees to wine. We usually create a Dessert Bar for the end of the meal. Guests with special diet restrictions need not worry you as we have created some great options for both Gluten-Free and Vegan/Vegetarian! Everything will be planned well ahead of time so that you or the toastmaster have time to tend to guests and take part in the festivities.

We also like to offer a progressive menu of sorts. Meaning that the dining program is timed so that guests get to gather in different spots within our space throughout the event. For example Appetizer Bar at one table, entrees at the large refectory style table, cocktails, and oysters at the Oyster Bar. This type of dinner program creates a nice flow and tends to liven up the party dynamics.

Of course, the perfect party is not just about delicious food; it’s also about ambience. You can choose your own music or go with our Satellite radio.Add to that the friendly atmosphere, which Flaherty’s is well known for. Call (831) 625-1500 or come by to reserve our restaurant space for your next special event, we’d love to hear from you!

Fresh Seafood Picnic on Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach is perfect for a Picnic.  On a beautiful day, why not hop in the car, bring some friends and head to Carmel Beach for the day?  Kick off your shoes and snuggle your toes into the warm white sand and enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful vistas of Pebble Beach Golf Links and Point Lobos.

Beautiful days are plentiful here in Carmel. It’s almost never too cold and hardly ever too hot. We even have a magazine here called 65 degrees, a reference to the warm eternal spring weather we are blessed with.
Being out on the beach, the glorious sun, fresh air, and salty water all conspire to create a bit of hunger!  Beach picnics provide a wonderful opportunity to get the whole family out.  Kids can play, make sandcastles and get their feet wet in the surf. Dogs are welcome too as Carmel Beach allows dogs to roam freely.

A picnic on the beach can also be a very romantic setting. Imagine sipping champagne and eating oysters while feeling the light touch of the sea breeze, while watching the sun set below the horizon… There are good reasons why the shores of Carmel are popular beach wedding destinations. If you choose to picnic at sunset or after dark, you can use one of the safe fireplaces along the beach provided by the city.

Here at Flaherty’s, we feel incredibly fortunate to be only a short walk from one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Why not make a picnic much easier by grabbing a to-go-meal on your way to the beach? Choose anything from Flaherty’s Seafood Grill’s menu and make it into a picnic.

A few suggestions for picnic friendly foods to-go from our menu.  Perfect for lunch are our Signature Crab Cakes with Corn & Black Bean Relish, Slaw and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.  And easy to grab is our Bay Shrimp Louie Sandwich Salad with Tomato on a La Brea Roll.

Kids adore our Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onions. Add Grilled Prawns or Free Range Chicken and you’ve got yourself a perfect picnic meal!  

These are just a few of our many fresh seafood dishes on the menu. Oh, and don’t forget to get a bottle of wine too, after all a classic picnic is not complete without it.

You’ll Get Wined and Dined at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill

Most food lovers know that white wines generally go well with fish. The light taste of the white wine doesn’t overpower the usually delicate flavor of the fish. But, the fish and wine pairings can be a bit more fine-tuned. It all depends on which kind of fish.

Flaky and lean fish types such as the mild Sea Bass, Flounder or Tilapia go well with a refreshing white wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. A meaty fish such as Salmon, Mackerel and Tuna go well with a richer white wine, f.ex. Oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon, white Pinot Noir… Take a strongly flavored fish like Anchovies or Sardines and you’ll find that they actually pair well with a Dry Lambrusco,  a Dry Riesling or even a rose.

 Now it can be argued, and with good cause, that it all depends on the sauce. This definitely has to be taken into consideration. A strong sauce like a tomato or spiced sauce would call for a red wine. A white sauce would pair better with white wines.

Now that we have managed to thoroughly confuse you, let’s clear this up by mentioning that at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill our servers are very knowledgable about wine pairings for our menu. We are always ready to make informed suggestions for your chosen seafood dish to find just the right wine that really highlights those flavors of the sea.

As Flaherty’s is situated in Carmel, the heart of a booming wine area, we take pride in our discernment about wines. Our wine menu has a great selection of some of the best local and Californian wines. Flaherty’s has been practicing sustainability for 40 years. Given that sustainability is partly the practice of using locally made products when possible, it only makes sense that many of the wines we have on offer are from nearby vineyards and from wine growers we know and have a history with.

Some of the wines we’d like to mention: a Cabernet from Smith & Hook by the beloved Hahn Family on the central coast. It drinks beyond it's price point, has perfect structure for dishes on our menu and has a subtle, but distinct white mushroom flavor amid the beautiful dark fruit and soft, full body.
Another Cabernet worth mentioning is one from Freemark Abbey in Napa Valley. Freemark Abbey is everything fruit wise you want a Cabernet to be from Napa. You won't find cigar box or led, but you will find subtle cedar amid the perfect fruit and dry yet soft tannins.

Of the white wines we can recommend a Pinot Gris from Bargetto Winery located in Santa Cruz. It offers us a Pinot Gris at a tremendous value with exceptional and unique flavors, loved by our old world and new world customers!

We can talk all day about local wines and fresh fish dishes, but you really ought to come and experience for yourself!

Dog Heaven by the Sea

April 11th is National Pet Day, but here in Carmel that would pretty much translate to ‘National Doggie Day.’ Here you'll see dogs meet and greet (or sniff) other dogs as they walk down our main shopping thoroughfare, Ocean Avenue. Visitors and locals alike will see a wide variety of sizes, colors and exotic breeds all around town.

As we know, dogs are pack animals and love to meet other dogs, in fact, it is essential to their well-being. Carmel City allows for dogs to run free and off-leash on beautiful Carmel Beach. Really, what could be more fun for a dog than roam around with other dogs, chase sticks, dig holes, and get wet on one of the most beautiful shorelines in the country?  Dog owners to get to meet each other through their furry friends, a nice excuse to strike up an informal conversation.

Carmel-by-the-Sea has become a favorite destination if you want to holiday with your beloved pooch. We have a number of hotels and inns in Carmel that cater to canine companions. One of them is the picturesque Cypress Inn, owned by celebrity actress and singer Doris Day, who is well known for her love of dogs.

Everywhere you go, dogs are shown special consideration. You’ll see large bowls of water outside of most establishments, as well as treats and even “Dog Friendly Menus” inside local restaurants. Centrally located Flaherty’s Seafood Grill is no exception. We love dogs! At Flaherty’s we have specially dedicated tables on the patio that welcome customers with their furry four-legged friends. There’s always a large bowl of fresh water and delicious doggie treats ready!

There are certainly many good reasons why dog-owners love Carmel and have rated us the #1 Dog Friendly Town in America!


"My Goodness, My Guinness"

This was the slogan for the Guinness advertising campaign in the 1930’s, featuring a range of thirsty zoo-animals, like the colorful Toucan bird, stealing glasses of beer. One of the posters read: “Guinness is good for you. How grand to be a Toucan, Just think what Toucan do.” Oh, that charming vintage humor! The animals were chosen to exemplify strength and goodness, characteristics right in line with Guinness beer stout.  

It is true that when you are served a pint of rich, dark, smooth Guinness, you do feel like you’ve been treated to a drink that is both good and strong! But, what if you long for that glass of Guinness Draught Beer, but you’re also hungry?

Guinness happens to be a surprisingly good match with oysters. On most days, Flaherty’s has fresh Kumomoto oysters - the world’s finest oyster, as well as the Hama Hamas which come in various sizes, and the very popular Blue Point oyster. You’d also do very well by ordering ‘Oysters & Short Ribs’, which is featured on our menu here at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill in Carmel.

On the sweet side, Guinness pairs extremely well with Flaherty’s ‘European Flourless Chocolate Cake’ and our homemade ‘Chocolate Decadence’. The dark beer and rich chocolate seem to have an affinity made in heaven.

Guinness Draught Beer has been a success ever since its invention in 1959, when the iconic Guinness brewery in Dublin created the magic formula.  The bold combination of coffee and malty aroma, bitter and sweet and the smooth and creamy head that makes it unlike any other beer. It should be poured into a glass tilted at 45 degrees until it's three-quarters full, sit for 2 minutes to settle before topping it off with the quintessential creamy white head. That’s it!

The rich appearance and feel of Guinness could wrongly make you feel that you are drinking a whole lot of calories. This is simply not true, as Guinness is among the lighter beers. A pint of Guinness sets you back only 125 calories!  The beautiful dark color comes from small amounts of roasted barley used in the brewing process. It turns out there’s a whole art to roasting the barley to be just so. The temperature must be EXACTLY 232 degrees to create the famous Guinness flavor…  Any lower and it doesn’t bring out the right flavor and if it’s just a couple of degrees hotter it will catch fire!

So come on in, raise your glass and cheer to the wonder that is Guinness Beer!


A Few Reasons to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Carmel, California

The late Bing Crosby, international music sensation and longtime Pebble Beach resident was originally of Irish descent. In fact, he was so Irish that he recorded an entire album titled ‘St. Patrick’s Day’!  It featured Irish themed songs for St. Patrick’s Day (duh!), including the hit “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral” which absolutely dominated the charts in the late 40’s.  Here in Carmel, Crosby was an active part of the community.  Most notably, he was the founder of the Bing Crosby Pro-Amateur Golf Championship on Pebble Beach Golf Links, now called the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, an event that draws celebrities and golf lovers to Monterey Peninsula every year.

Now, what are we doing talking about Bing Crosby? Well, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up this month and we all know that the real purpose of St. Patrick’s Day is to celebrate Irish tradition, eat good food, and last but not least - allow yourself a nice glass of beer! If you are looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the little hamlet by the sea, Carmel-by-the-Sea is the place to be.

Flaherty’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar has some great St. Patty’s Day-friendly seafoodand drink offers on the menu. We offer our own locally brewed beer, Flaherty’s Golden Ale, brewed by English Ales Brewery, serving the Monterey Peninsula since 2001. Flaherty’s Golden Ale is a wonderful quintessential beer with subtle citrus flavors and mild approachable hops. It is the perfect beer choice as it pairs well with many of our signature dishes including English Fish & Chips, Coconut Shrimp, Crispy Local Calamari and Shrimp Creole. Come by Flaherty’s on Saturday, March 17th to drink some local beer, enjoy fresh seafood and celebrate the Irish spirit!

Cozy Up With Flaherty’s Award Winning Creamy New England and Manhattan Clam Chowder Soups

Without being to braggadocios we can safely say that Flaherty’s Seafood Grill  and Oyster Bar is renowned for our wide variety of hearty American classic seafood soups including our signature Clam Chowders, Award Winning Lobster Bisque and other amazing soup delicacies, for which we have won numerous awards. You really don’t want to visit Monterey Bay without having a bowl of Clam Chowder, it’s an absolute must-try when you go restaurant-hopping along the coast of California. Carmel-by-the-Sea winters have a few chilly days now and then, which beg for a comforting, steamy bowl of hot soup.

Flaherty’s has two chowder soups. The always popular New England Clam Chowder, which is the definition of comfort food; perfectly creamy and soothing. Then there’s the delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder; tomato based and a good option for the person minding their calorie intake. Take note that both these soups are great for those of you looking for a gluten-free lunch option.

Our New England Clam Chowder recipe was developed in 1976 by the original founder, chef and namesake of the restaurant: Flaherty Swanson. The recipe is a guarded secret, but we can reveal a few highlights. Our version relies solely on Idaho Premium Potatoes to thicken the soup, as we find the natural starch gives a much better flavor than using flour as a thickening agent.  In addition to giving it the right flavor, it also provides bite and texture. Apart from the potatoes, all our produce is locally sourced. As is with all of the seafood at Flaherty’s, the clams used in the chowder are fresh.  The soup is seasoned with thyme and served with parmesan and croutons.

Fun fact. Historically, Clam Chowder has been a very serious and contentious business! In 1939 a legal bill was introduced in the state of Maine, which proposed to make it illegal to use tomato in a Clam Chowder soup. The creamy, white New England Clam Chowder had been on the menu since the 1830’s and the New Englanders weren’t about to have their favorite soup adulterated with tomato!  Of course, the Italian New Yorkers in Manhattan threw caution to the wind and thus continued adding tomato to the soup. This version with its beautiful red colored broth has since become almost equally as popular as the white cream-based New England Clam Chowder.

Red or white? You decide!


Pomegranate Passion: Celebrate Valentine's Day in Carmel-By-The-Sea

Celebrate Valentine's Day week in one of the most romantic towns in America, Carmel-by-the-Sea! This coastal community in Californiais filled with secret pathways, award-winning gardens, hidden corridors and incredible restaurants. To make the day a little sweeter we even crafted an official Valentine's Cocktail - Flaherty's Pomegranate Passion check out the video to see how this delicious elixir is made. 

Featuring Chopin Rye, Pomegranate Juice, Passion Fruit and Lemon this festive drink will get you in the mood for love! Just one of many Signature Cocktails available at our location that features a full bar. Serving the communities of Carmel, Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Big Sur, and Monterey with the freshest seafood and oysters - call (831) 625-1500 to book your reservation.

The Ultimate Valentine’s Date in Carmel, Fresh Oysters at Flaherty’s

Yes, less than two weeks remain until the most important date night of the year... Valentine's Day! Are you prepared? If a classic coastal date is on your mind, we have the ultimate idea! 

A romantic date night is easier than you think when you visit Flaherty's Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar in Carmel, California. We have inspiration for the big day that will get you in the mood for love.  Book a reservation and spend the most romantic day of the year in the heart of scenic Carmel-By-The-Sea, conveniently located just off Highway 1.

On Valentine's Day, it's all about upping the romance.  There are few foods more stimulating than oysters, and no drink more associated with love than champagne! If you know anything about oysters, you know they are rumored to be an aphrodisiac.  It's zinc that is responsible for these romantic effects on the body, keeping you in the mood for love all evening. 

To complement our fresh oysters, we suggest celebrating with Deutz Rosé Champagne.  This champagne tastes like brioche French toast with red berry coulis, what a delicious combination! Now experience this classic combination for yourself in one of the most scenic coastal communities in California, Carmel-By-The-Sea. For reservations, please call 831-625-1500.


Bread and Happiness: a Blissful Combination in Carmel, California

A loaf of bread is not just a loaf of bread anymore. The importance of good bread can’t be overstated. As people are more aware and more discerning about the quality and origin of their food, bread is certainly no exception. Bread shouldn’t be the humble sidekick to the main star dish; it ought to have more to offer than merely satisfying the worst hunger before the main entree arrives. Your ubiquitous white ‘fluffy’ baguette made of refined flour just won’t do. The healthier breads are the chewy types made from a mix including stone ground whole wheat flour. These breads contain significantly more vitamins and minerals plus…they just taste a lot better!

At Flaherty’s Seafood Grill, an entree always starts with a generous basket of Lafayette’s Rustic Country Bread.  Just as we take pride in sourcing and serving the freshest seafood, we also make sure that the best bread accompanies your meals in the Peninsula. After searching, testing and of course tasting, we’ve found that Lafayette Bakery at The Barnyard Shopping Village in Carmel makes the most outstanding loaf of bread that perfectly compliments our meals. We feel very fortunate to have this excellent bakery so close to us.  The public seems to agree with us, making Lafayette a favorite of both visitors and residents alike.  

Lafayette Bakery is a family-owned French bakery. Their artisanal breads are made with great care by bakers who know their craft. The secret to this bread is an old family recipe by Jean-Bernard of the Vial family. The recipe includes whole wheat and rye flours from the Giusto Mill in Petaluma, California, one of the most respected suppliers of premium organic flour. Lafayette make their own cold fermented sourdough using a long fermentation started the day before baking.

“Pain et Bonheur”, French for ”Bread and Happiness" is written on the back wall at Lafayette.  A simple statement, but very fitting. This loaf of bread is indeed close to happiness!


Partied Like It’s 2018? Revitalize With Ken’s Ultimate Bloody Mary!

The festive season is almost over. Carmel, California is blessed with beautiful weather even in January and restaurants and cafes still fill up with people eager to enjoy what this little haven by the sea has to offer. As many of us are feeling the weight of the indulgent holiday season with its abundance of sweet treats and drinks, we find ourselves looking for remedies. A Bloody Mary has been known to cure hangovers… or perhaps this is an urban myth? Whether or not this is actually true, it does seem very appealing with its cool and invigorating, yet nourishing components of bright, fresh flavors, perfect for that long brunch. Besides (maybe) curing hangovers, aBloody Mary was also allegedly the much-needed help for famous wild man and writer Ernest Hemingway, to cover up any signs or odors of his alcohol consumption from his suspecting wife!

Because of the many fresh ingredients, mixing this popular cocktail is open for interpretation and creativity. Our restaurant’s brand of this delicious and rejuvenating cocktail is, as the eponymous title implies, concocted by Ken Spilfogel, former chef and now the owner ofFlaherty’s Seafood Grill. As a base, we use our own boutique Bloody Mary mix. Absolut Peppar Vodka (which was literally created for Bloody Mary mixes) is added, and as a Californian twist, Ken has fired up this classic drink with Ghost Chili Pepper Sauce. OMG, I hear you say! True, it is said to be the hottest pepper in the world (!), but in this cocktail, it’s tempered to give just enough umph to the spicy tomato mix without a serious burn. Layering the taste with ingredients likepepperoncini juice, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce spice up the flavor intensity. Also, we add freshly cracked pepper for aromatic freshness. As a final touch, Ken’s Ultimate Bloody Mary is crowned by a Giant Prawn; this is a seafood restaurant after all.

You don’t have to be on board a plane to enjoy this drink, just find Flaherty’s, sit yourself down, relax and enjoy!

Northern California Tradition: Crab for Holiday Dinner

It’s crab-season. If you grew up in Carmel-by-the-Sea, or anywhere in California for that matter, chances are that crab was one of your favorite foods and that you’ve been to many a Crab-Party.

Crab is not something you eat alone. Well, of course you can if you want to, we won’t judge! But it’s called Crab-Feast for a reason. It can be a bit of a messy business and requires some work, but that’s all part of the fun. There’s something primal, yet classy and festive about the beautiful red shiny shells arranged on the plate.

You pick out the delicious meat using special utensils, then soak in melted butter for a very satisfying bite. Crab meat is tender, the taste has a subtle sweetness with a touch of the ocean. Beautiful in its simplicity!

The dish is perfect for a Holiday gathering. We suggest ordering Flaherty’s Fresh Dungeness Whole Cracked Crab, served with melted butter and our fresh cut fries. You can also order some of our signature crab cakes, as well as many other crab-themed dishes on the menu. We take pride in serving the best fresh seafood, never frozen.

Flaherty’s Seafood Restaurant in Carmel is open all during the holidays. You are encouraged to call and make a reservation for your dinner to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.


Comforting Desserts - the Best Pecan Pie in Carmel

Classic pecan pie is a favorite during the holidays everywhere, not just in the south, but in California too and especially right here at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar in Carmel.

Did you know that most of the pecans you’ll find in America are grown in the United States?  This All-American Pie is a perennial pleaser with its sticky, rich filling and buttery crust. As we crave comfort foods during the colder months, it has everything that is right about a winter desert. Utter nutty deliciousness!

Our New Orleans Pecan Pie, Traditionally Southern, is brimming with buttery pecans. A desert doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious, most times sweet and simple does it.  This is the case with our pie. We’re not sure a holiday meal is complete without this good ol’ fashioned pie. Add a generous dollop of delicious vanilla ice cream and voila! Did I say simple?

After your brisk walk on  Carmel Beach, you may just want to indulge yourself. Come by Flaherty’s over the holidays with your family and get your share of our Pecan Pie. Sharing IS CARING! Oh, and before you go for that walk on the beach, remember that we have many other classic deserts on the menu to choose from at our location.

How to Shuck an Oyster: Step by Step

We know you are entirely in love with the many oysters we serve here at Flaherty’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar. 

So, we want to make sure your cravings are satisfied when you’re not in town or can’t muster up the energy to leave your house and pop over to our location in scenic Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.

For this reason, we have written a quick (but safe) step by step guide. Follow the steps in this post when you’re left to fend for yourself. You will have the measures to ensure those delicious oysters on your kitchen counter can be opened and devoured (inhaled, slurped, gracefully eaten with a fork-WHATEVER.)

What you’ll need: Oyster Knife, Kitchen Towel, and Oysters!

Step 1: Hold the oyster with a towel, be sure to have a good grip. You don’t want anything to slip out! 

Step 2: Locate the hinge of the shellfish and leave that side exposed when you place a towel wrapped shellfish on a flat surface. Tip: the hinge is where the shell shape begins; semi pointed.
Step 3: Stick the oyster knife into the hinge and twist, you should feel it open.
Step 4: After the hinge pops open, lead it between the shells and towards the top. Be very careful and take your time, depending on the type of oysters, these can be tough.
Step 5: When open, slip your knife under the meat of the oyster and release it from its shell.

VOILA! Congrats, you’ve successfully opened the door to endless oyster eating because you’re fully capable of prying these babies open all by yourself. I prefer to inhale the oyster with some Mignonette sauce, no utensils. If you’re making dinner for your new babe (or just handle things in a more well-mannered fashion), you can use a fork. If your set of oysters doesn't look like the photo, fear not! Flaherty's is located on 6th Ave Between Dolores & San Carlos, Carmel, California!