Offering a truly special culinary journey through food and wine.
At Plane & Level, we have deep Spanish roots and our food and wine reflects that.
Under the expert direction of our Culinary Director, Orlando Amaro, who himself worked in Spain for more than a decade, including two seasons at the 3 Michelin Star El Bulli, our tapas menu is second to none. Pulling from various regions of Spain and incorporating local organic ingredients, Chef will delight your palate with everything from escargot and octopus to Manchego cheesecake and Galician tableside bread service.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, our talented in-house sommelier and winemaker, Thomas Perez, who has a Masters degree in viticulture from Spain guides our guests through our extensive wine list to select the perfect wine for each palate and to accompany each dish.
About Thomas Perez
A native El Salvadoran with over 30 years in the industry, Thomas Perez, is a world-class sommelier and Co-Founder of Plane & Level.
At a young age Perez escaped war-torn El Salvador with the goal to finish middle school. Little did he know that attending a wine tasting, at the renowned Masters of Food & Wine event, while he was working as a busboy at Highlands Inn in Carmel, that his life was about to change. Wine stole his heart and in 2004 Perez graduated from Escuela Superior de Enologia del Pais Vasco, Spain where he received his Masters in Oenology and Viticulture, becoming one of few sommeliers in the world that is also an oenologist.
Perez has engaged his extensive knowledge of winemaking techniques and education from time spent with Fidel Fernández at Bodegas Luis Cañas, Spain, Jean François Coche at Domaine Coche-Dury, France, and with Aubert de Villaine at Domaine de La Romanée-Conti, France, to deliver some of the world’s most exquisite wines. With this experience, he became founding winemaker of Kristi-Lynn Wine where he created fine wines that showcase the pure identity of the varietals from Santa Maria Valley, California, Willamette Valley, Oregon, Mendoza, Argentina, and La Rioja, Spain.
Monterey County Weekly magazine boasts of Perez’s talents and humility by saying, “they simply do not make many wine whisperers like Thomas Perez. With Perez there’s no ego, only an oenology degree and profound understanding of the connection between how the wine is made and how it acts in the glass. ”
It is this deep understanding of wine that has him named one of the three top wine experts in the nation by Men’s Health Magazine.
Thomas has worked as wine director and sommelier at numerous high-profile properties before co-founding Plane & Level, such as: Aubergine, L’Auberge Carmel, Cantinetta Luca and Marinus at Bernardus Lodge, The Inn at Dos Brisas, The Club at Houston Oaks, Bandol Wines and La Table.
About Orlando Amaro
Born in Venezuela and at a young age, Chef Amaro developed a deep appreciation for the art of cooking and the significance of high-quality ingredients under the watchful eye of his mother, who was a pastry chef and raised in a family prioritizing farm-to-table practices; he was always fascinated by different ways you can take simple ingredients and turn them into inspirational food creations. Early on, he learned the importance of sourcing fresh, locally grown produce, organic and sustainable ingredients. This early exposure laid the foundation for his culinary philosophy, which champions wholesome ingredients’ vibrant flavors and nutritional benefits.
He started his culinary journey when he was 20 enrolling in the Culinary Institute of Mexico in Puebla, where he learned to explore his intrigue for diverse culinary combinations and the creation of distinctive flavors. Upon completing school, Chef Amaro would work under the tutelage of several world-renowned chefs, including Chef Ferran Adrià, founder of the molecular gastronomy movement and head chef of the Michelin 3-star restaurant El Bulli. Chef Amaro also used his own journey of weight loss once exceeding 340 lbs, recognizing the need to develop a balanced nutrition and the importance of consuming raw natural ingredients, which allowed him to lose over 115 lbs.
Amaro believes in forging strong partnerships with local farmers, fishermen, and artisans, Amaro showcases the bounty of the region while promoting responsible sourcing practices. This approach ensures the freshest and most flavorful ingredients and fosters a meaningful connection with the local ecosystem.
Chef Amaro has continued to develop his skills through years of dedicated practice and an insatiable curiosity for culinary exploration by applying his skills across many different types of cuisine, including Italian, French, and New American.
Sustainability lies at the core of Chef Amaro’s culinary ethos. He recognizes the urgent need to protect our planet and promote eco-friendly practices within the culinary industry.
He has had the opportunity to lead 13+ restaurants as Executive Chef and Culinary Director and also has consulted with restaurants for 18 years around the US, including Miami, FL; West Palm Beach, FL; Frederick, MD; NYC; Sedona, AZ; and Dallas, TX. He also has had the privilege throughout his career, to cook for President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and family, Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi and his wife, José Luis Rodríguez, Richard Gere, Shaquille O’Neal, Chino y Nacho, Miguel Cabrera, Gloria and Emilio Estefan. (at home), Paulina Rubio, Chayanne, among others.
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