The Best Cioppino I have EVER Had-from Carmel 

Hello Friends!

The most rewarding part of my job at NBC is meeting new people following their passion and doing amazing things in local communities! This week was no exception when I visited the seafood restaurant called Catch in Carmel by the Sea, in preparation for Carmel’s Culinary Week:

Before I talk about Catch, let me brief you on Carmel if you have never been there before. This town is small, charming, and walkable, nestled in Monterey Bay California. There are over 40 small courtyards in this town, each with its own charm, and as you stroll through cobblestone walkways you might stumble upon an ornate fountain, a quaint cafe, a boutique hotel, or a secret garden full of bougainvillea, gardenias and other flowers in season. 

However, where Carmel really shines is in its food scene. There are about 60 restaurants representing every cuisine you can imagine, and many of them offer outdoor seating with heat lamps, so you can people watch without getting chilly from the local fog. When you enter Catch restaurant, you feel like you are in an underwater cove, complete with jellyfish chandeliers, murals of sea life, and blue lighting to give the space an ocean feel. 

Bashar greeted the crew and I like family upon entering his culinary ocean vibed oasis. He moved to the United States from Syria in 2004, and worked in gas stations and as a busboy. Since he had no money, he took out a credit card loan to start his own restaurant called Dametra Cafe. The cafe was such a success that he rapidly expanded, leading to five successful restaurants today! Never forgetting about his roots, he actively gives back to the community, offering apprenticeships to disadvantaged youth. 

I was skeptical about trying his cioppino, after all this is a fish stew with Italian roots in San Francisco! But after the first bite, I was struck by the richness of the tomato broth, and the freshness of the seafood, probably the best cioppino I have ever had! (which says a lot as I have been eating cioppino from different restaurants and comparing them for many years) 

What’s great about this stew, is that you can adjust the seafood to your budget. Use cod and bay shrimp if you have a tighter budget, and if you want to splurge try scallops, sea bass, and even lobster.  If you want a shortcut, use a good quality store bought marinara mixed with white wine.

To see Bashar’s technique for this flavorful stew, click on my video below:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp clam base
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • Homemade tomato sauce 
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 2 chilean sea bass filets 
  • 6 ounces shrimp
  • 5 pieces new zealand mussel
  • Few leaves of  basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1  yellow onion 
  • 7 fresh tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 pound  basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½  cup olive oil 
  • 2 liters of water

Directions in video above by chef Bashar

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