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Monique Black
Dream 24 Hours

Where to Eat and Play, With A Michelin-Starred Restaurateur

When Monique Black, co-owner of Carmel’s Chez Noir, isn’t greeting guests at the restaurant, she’s soaking in all the region has to offer.

Despite earning instant recognition with their first Michelin star in July, Chef Jonny Black and wife Monique Black of Carmel’s Chez Noir remain delightfully down to earth. The couple, who live above the restaurant with their two young children, celebrate their love for the Monterey Bay Area through their hyper-local, seasonally-influenced menu and fancy, not fussy, coastal vibes. (Think Monterey Squid Gildas, handmade Sweet Corn Agnolotti, and Brioche-a-Tete, enjoyed in a luxe European bistro-style bungalow.) So it’s no surprise that Monique and Jonny (Atelier Crenn, Quince, Per Se), whose relationships with local farms and purveyors are paramount to their success, enjoy soaking in the beauty and bounty of the region in their down time, too.

Up next for the couple? The prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards in April, where they're a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.

Monique Black, co-owner of Chez Noir, in a booth at the Carmel restaurant.
Photo by Kelsey Wisdom.

MORNING

9A 

Start the day with a breakfast picnic of baked goods from Ad Astra Bread Co. and a latte from Stationæry, enjoyed on the rocks overlooking Carmel River State Beach. I love watching the tides and the pelicans that come and go with the change of seasons. The view never gets old for me. If I were feeling particularly adventurous, I would hit up a friend to boogie board with me on Carmel Beach, too.

11A

A shopping walk around downtown Carmel is always ideal. For presents, I love Somewhere in Carmel; the collection of knitwear and jewelry at Tejeido is always tempting; and the homewares and design books at Shop Shoshin are forever inspiring.

Afternoon

2P

In the afternoon, I would scoop up my husband Jonny and our kids and head to Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos. Nowhere makes me feel more at ease than in a redwood forest with my family. 
*Editor’s note: Allow yourself an hour for the scenic drive between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Aptos.

Evening

5P

After a solid hike, we would brush off the dirt and head over to Mentone (also in Aptos) for an early dinner. Their pasta and cocktails never disappoint!

Head over to Mentone (also in Aptos) for an early dinner. Their pasta and cocktails never disappoint!

PLAN YOUR DAY
on the Peninsula

Map of the Peninsula

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