On a rainy Wednesday night my wife and I visited Vesuvio Restaurant in Carmel-by-the-sea, as the village is known.
At 5;45 pm the place was full, something that rarely happens in the off-season (meaning this time of the year) in this little hamlet where trees are in the middle of the road, until recently it was illegal to have an ice cream parlor in town, and there are enough ordinances on the books to choke thousands of horses (example: 25 watt bulbs shall be as illumination for outdoor signage).
But I digress--this is the real deal in southern Italian and not that expensive. Rich Pepe, the founder, is originally from Hoboken NJ, and a member of his family was in high school with the Chairman of the Board (look that up for you youngsters out there). Many things on the menu are from the family treasure trove of recipes. Pastas are homemade, seafood from the docks in Monterey (Calamari is exquisite and highly recommended) So, if it is dark (see the light bulbs comment above). Highly recommended. And there's a rooftop lounge where most nights you can sit, eat, drink, and watch the stars (in the sky that is).