Travelers are always stopping by our Visitors Center wanting to know where they can go to get the quintessential Carmel-by-the-Sea experience. Without hesitation The Forge in the Forest is always sprinkled somewhere in the response. With its European character, cozy outdoor dining patio and tempting "world cuisine" it's no wonder why locals and visitors flock to this 40 year old Carmel-by-the-Sea staple.

Upon entering The Forge in the Forest you immediately feel as though you have been transported into a quaint German cottage. The non-flashy signage in the front is a great start to the kick-back culture inside, and out.

It is no wonder why this place consistently wins "Best Outdoor Dining in Carmel"; how can your resist a rustic brick fire pit, lush gardens and endless people watching opportunities along Junipero Street?

Most eateries like to say that they have something for everyone but The Forge in the Forest actually delivers on this promise, including a special menu just for dogs! The cuisine at the Forge in the Forest has always been extensive and new chef, Alfonso Martinez has further refined the menu with even more options and worldwide flavors.

With menu items ranging from curry, pizza, ceviche and filet mignon it is a chore in itself to choose just one dish. Luckily I was with a large indecisive group so we decided to dine "family style."

The first dish was a sweet and savory pairing of fried goat cheese and peaches flambé. I prefer my fired up peaches with a scoop of vanilla bean of ice cream but the fried goat cheese definitely comes as a close second. The creamy texture of the cheese and the natural sugars from the peaches were spot on.

The heirloom tomato was almost too pretty to eat! Thankfully someone at the table made the first cut into the tower of puff pastry, manchego cheese and roasted Salinas grown heirloom tomatoes.

Can you handle a Menage a Trois? That is filet mignon cooked three ways of course! Three petite filet mignons came presented upon scrumptious mashed potatoes, crispy onions and three different sauces; truly something for everyone at the table.

Indian Chicken Curry may not have been my first selection on the menu but boy was I glad someone ordered it! The lightly spiced curry sauce with hints of lemongrass and ginger was a welcomed treat smothered upon a bed of fresh vegetables and chunks of juicy chicken; even the cauliflower had been devoured within the first few seconds.

No meal at The Forge in the Forest is complete without their famed Cookie Skillet. A large cast-iron skillet comes bubbling hot out of the oven full of delicious chocolate chip cookie mix and heavy-handed dollops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. If that doesn't top off a meal I don't know what does!

Looking to host a reunion, wedding or a large party sometime soon? The Forge in the Forest has some of the largest banquet spaces in Carmel-by-the-Sea.