Flaherty's Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill in Carmel By The Sea has consistently been rated one of Carmel's Best Restaurants – perhaps it's got something to do with their sustainable (for over 30 years), wild caught seafood delivered daily, sometimes twice.
- so buttery thin, yet creamy and divine, literally drinkable, tender chunks of Lobster & Tomato Bisque (BLISS!) with Garlic Parmesan Crisp ($8.95c/$10.95b)
- lemon mousse and bacon flavored, wish they were bigger Classic Pacific Oysters Rockefeller (4 for $14.50)
- tender, flaky, but a bit greasy English Fish And Chips ($15.95)
- warm and buttery Olallieberry Pie (it was on the house for us)
Flaherty's is split into two different side by side restaurants: The more upscale Seafood Grill and the casual, family friendly Oyster Bar. If you're trying to decide between the two, as the waiter told us "it really doesn't make a difference," since you can order off both menus at each spot.
We (my hand model & I of course!) arrived at the Oyster Bar on a Thursday night around sunset and snagged the corner window table for two. Our Bed & Breakfast, the Carmel Wayfarer Inn, gave us a fabulous coupon for a Free Appetizer with purchase of a Cocktail, so we decided to split the Bisque.
In hindsight, I would have NEVER SPLIT the Lobster Bisque! Instead I'd probably order two bowls all to myself – and you should too. Because the first thing I said to the waiter after tasting it was, "I can arrange to be here for the rest of the night if you need someone to finish off that pot." The Tomato Bisque isn't heavy at all, but rather light, buttery, and so easy going down, you could drink it. The fat chunks of Lobster are so tender, I wish all bisques could glorify Lobster like this. It's garnished with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan, as well as a Garlic Parmesan Paprika Toasted Crisp.
We also split the Oysters Rockefeller – very rich in flavor, but not too heavy with a lemon cream, almost whipped mousse-like topping, Chopped Bacon Bits, and Sauteed Spinach. The oysters weren't the best I'd ever had, and considering this was the Oyster Bar, I was a little disappointed. However, nothing could trump my Bisque Bliss.
For an Entree, we ordered the English Fish And Chips with Cole Slaw, Ketchup & Tartar Sauce. While the Fish is tender and flaky, the breading is too greasy. And even though the Chips are just ok, their bite size width will keep you coming back for more.
Finally for Dessert we had the Olallieberry Pie. Olallieberries taste like a cross between a Blackberry and a Raspberry. The pastry itself is not flaky, but rather buttery, so the whole slice has an ooey gooey texture. But it's sweet and tart in all the right places and one of my favorite berries whenever I'm traveling the Central Coast (specifically at Linn's Fruit Bin in Cambria.)
Appetizers, including Soups & Salads, range from $5.95 (Salinas Mixed Greens) to $29.95 (Flaherty's Traditional Lazy Man's Cioppino with Prawns, Scallops, Fresh Catch Clams, Mussels, Crab & Calamari in a rich Roma Tomato Broth.) They also have Fresh East or West Oysters on the Half Shell and Abalone at Market Price. Entrees like Pasta, Seafood, Bistro, and Grill items range from $13.95 (Meyer Natural Angus Beef Hamburger on Brioche with Fries & Cole Slaw) to $35 (Petit Filet Mignon or Lobster Fire Roasted Corn Risotto.) At Market Price are Australian or Live Maine Lobster and Alaskan King or Fresh Dungeness Whole Cracked Crab Legs.
Flaherty's Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill. 6th Ave. b/t Dolores St. & San Carlos, Carmel, CA 93923. 831.624.0311