If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably figured out that Carmel mostly deals in seafood and European cuisine. Cultura, a dinner-only Oaxacan spot, is a welcome outlier. Start with some chapulines—toasted and seasoned grasshoppers—and any mezcal-based cocktail (they have one of the largest collections of the smoky spirit in California). Then, move on to bigger options like the pork cheek mole and enchiladas with salsa verde. The ambiance is upscale but lively, so this spot works equally well for a date as it does for a night out with friends. And if it’s a truly special occasion, you can rent out the cozy mezcal room for your own private party.