Located in the ultra-luxurious L’Auberge Carmel (of Relaix & Chateaux fame), Aubergine is just the type of restaurant you want to settle into after a day of exploring Carmel-by-the-Sea. With only nine tables in the main dining room, and a 2,500-bottle wine cellar focusing on French and Monterey County wines, intimacy and excellence are the undoubted stars of Aubergine, a James Beard Foundation Semifinalist. Chef Justin Cogley puts his signature touch on a finely crafted assortment of California-inspired and locally sourced dishes. Two set menu options (prix fixe with optional cheese pairing and a chef’s tasting menu) are offered nightly and change daily to showcase the best seasonal ingredients. Cogley’s savory entrées pair perfectly with the sweet treats prepared by skilled pastry chef Ron Mendoza.