Southwestern charm meets creative California cuisine at iconic hitching post Rio Grill in Carmel. Since 1983 this popular restaurant, located at the Crossroads Shopping Village, has been serving up hearty dishes, tasty cocktails and good-old-fashion hospitality to first time visitors and loyal locals alike; so much so, that the bar area is adorned with cartoon versions of their most frequent customers!
Bar at Rio Grill
Aside from the quirky caricatures, the main décor looks like something you might find in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The unique desert design permeates throughout the cozy restaurant with faux cactus plants, ranchero chandeliers and colorfully imaginative paintings on the wall. The casual and rustic ambiance is perfectly paired with warm, thoughtful service and wholesome grub.
Bar at Rio Grill
The eclectic menu is inspired by classic California cuisine with an infusion of the southwest, adding a touch of spice and flavor from their wood-burning grill and oak wood burner. Chef Cy Yontz dedicates his bold dishes to the cornucopia of fresh and local ingredients from Monterey County’s diverse farming region, making for a truly delicious dining experience!
Rio Grill Chef Cy Yontz
The lunch and dinner menus are chock-full of appetizing items ranging from fresh fish, pasta, sandwiches and salads, but first one must indulge in one of Rio’s addicting libations. A favorite amongst locals is the Blood Orange Rita made with Herradura Silver, Cointreau and (wait for it…) Chef Cy’s chili syrup. The spicy kick is unexpected but certainly welcomed!
Blood Orange Rita at Rio Grill
For something a little more soothing, try the Spa Treatment which, as you may have guessed, is a slice of ohm in a glass. The cucumber concoction is mixed with Hendricks gin, St. Germain and muddled cucumber - sure to have you relaxed in no time.
Cucumber Spa Treatment cocktail at Rio Grill
Every meal at Rio Grill must start with an appetizer. Meat eaters will rejoice in the “Jolly Rancheros” which are generous bites of candied pork belly with an intense yet delicious kick of honey.
Candied Swine “Jolly Rancheros at Rio Grill
For those looking for something on the lighter side, the habanero deviled eggs topped with a creamy yolk filling and a dollop of bacon jam will not disappoint.
Habanero Deviled Eggs at Rio Grill
Entree options are robust and the portions are mighty plentiful. Two of their more popular items include the house-smoked chicken and oven-baked duck breast.
Dining Room at Rio Grill
A juicy half chicken comes out smokin’ hot (literally) with a melted chile butter that would make even a rubber boot taste delicious. The accompanying baby artichokes and potatoes are perfect for scooping up any remaining remnants of the lusciously creamy compound.
House-Smoked Half Chicken at Rio Grill
The seared duck breast is yet another testament to the successful south-of-the-border elements served with chilaquiles, Oaxacan mole rojo sauce and duck confit tamale. The texture from the tortilla chilaquiles is spot on with the juicy poultry.   
Duck breast with tortilla-squash chilaquiles at Rio Grill
Rio Grill is not only a great place to catch up with friends over a unique cocktail or celebrate a birthday with family, but it’s also the perfect haven for larger group gatherings. Aside from the main dining room, Rio Grill hosts two private rooms, and one even features its own private bar; talk about a VIP party!

Santa Fe Room at Rio Grill