If not for Yelp, I would never have found this little gem of a Japanese place in Carmel. But then again, who would’ve thought that in the middle of touristy Carmel, one would find something so authentic and so wonderful like Akaoni.
The restaurant is very small, a few tables and a sushi bar, probably seats about 25 people tops. The decor is really cute and not overladen with too much eye-popping knick-knacks.
My only gripe was that the sushi chef refused to serve us omakase stating that he doesn’t do that with first time guests. I was perplexed because Carmel certainly gets its share of tourists and visitors and to not offer omakase seemed a little odd when there are so many would be first-timers. Nevertheless, we asked what fish he had and made a meal of it ourselves.
The fish selection was limited but he did have very fresh seafood including scallops, uni, snapper, albacore and tuna. Everything was delicately prepared and each mouthful was a delightful morsel.
But what I was most highly impressed with was their home made tofu and the little offerings on their white board. The home made tofu was so silky smooth with a house made soy sauce dressing and each spoonful just melted in my mouth. Another item I loved was the braised kelp and tofu which goes very well with sake or beer. A salad of mirugai and julienned cucumber and zucchini was so simple yet so sublime. Unfortunately, after those incredible items, tempura just seemed to pale in comparison.
Service is very Japanese — attentive and polite. This is a rare gem which I am determined to return to whenever I re-visit Carmel again.
Mission & 6th Ave
Carmel By The Sea, CA 93921