Flaherty's Inspiration



Dog Heaven by the Sea Underline Image

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"  Underline Image

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 Underline Image

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 seafood and 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 Underline Image

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 Underline Image

Celebrate Valentine's Day week in one of the most romantic towns in America, Carmel-by-the-Sea! This coastal community in California is 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 Underline Image

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 Underline Image

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! Underline Image


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, a Bloody 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 of Flaherty’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 like pepperoncini 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 Underline Image

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 Underline Image

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 Underline Image

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!

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