About Cantinetta Luca

Dolores St. between Ocean and 7th
Carmel, CA 93921
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Cantinetta Luca offers an authentic menu inspired by the traditional recipes of various regions of Italy featuring hand-crafted dishes using the finest Italian goods and locally sourced ingredients in a lively atmosphere. Executive Chef / Partner Jason Balestrieri shares his Italian culinary heritage and travels through handcrafted dishes prepared traditionally with a simple and rustic presentation.

Starting with treasured family recipes passed down through generations the menu specialties include a hearty selection of source verified premium meats, first hand selected than hand-cut on site, a wide array of anitipasti including house cured artisan salume, wood-oven baked pizza offered at lunch, housemade pastas and sauces, and whole roasted fish.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Italian, Steak, Pizzeria

Hours of Operation:
Dinner
Sunday - Thursday, 5 - 9 pm
Friday - Saturday, 5 - 10 pm

Lunch
Daily, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(831) 625-6500

Website:
http://www.cantinettaluca.com/

Catering:
Please e-mail us with your inquiries to events@cantinettaluca.com

Parking Details:
In the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, all parking is street access.

Executive Chef:
Jason Balestrieri

Private Party Facilities:
Wine Room: Beautiful Brick Ceiling Dining Room that can accommodate up to 45 guests.

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
Please e-mail us with your inquiries to events@cantinettaluca.com

Restaurant Photos

  • Little Gem
  • Pasta Bolgnese
  • Polipo
Little Gem
Pasta Bolgnese
Polipo

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Cantinetta Luca Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.2

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.2

ambience

4.1

noise

Moderate

84% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Neighborhood Gem
Monterey / Carmel
Most Booked
Monterey / Carmel
Best Restaurants in Carmel ›

fit for foodies (33)
neighborhood gem (30)
special occasion (24)
See All
romantic (19)
good for groups (17)
notable wine list (17)
great for lunch (13)
hot spot (13)
late-night find (4)
kid-friendly (3)
great for brunch (2)
vibrant bar scene (2)
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Newest
1114 reviews
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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

The worst service we have ever have. Foo ...

Dined 4 days ago

The worst service we have ever have. Food is not better than homemade pasta. No bartender. The only special thing is the salumeria. The restrooms were not clean.

food4
ambience1
service3
value1

disorganised, though booked. Waited; fro ...

Dined 5 days ago

disorganised, though booked. Waited; front of house flustered and panicky.... Though booked was given a table for two which was cramped in the main thoroughfare and they almost made someone sit next to us with about 6 inches between the tables. Any closer and I would be eating off their plate. The people who were ebing made to sit refused! Hurried service; starter not finished, mains came! Noisy, strange music loud and ...nothing to go back for.

food4
ambience4
service4
value3

The house-cured meats alone are worth th ...

Dined on June 24, 2016

The house-cured meats alone are worth the visit, and the cocktails are tasty. Definitely try out the panzanella!

Tags: romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Fantastic meal with wonderful service. W ...

Dined on June 16, 2016

Fantastic meal with wonderful service. We absolutely loved it and would return on our next visit to Carmel.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Good surprise

Dined on June 9, 2016

We have loves this place, good food and neighborhood!!!

Tags: romantic, special occasion, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wedding Anniversary Fantastic

Dined on June 5, 2016

Carmel is a lovely city and the combo: Carmel + Cantinetta Lucca was perfect! The food, the music, the servers, the wine, everything was indescribable... I strongly recommend and I wish I could come back one day... My wife ate Ravioli Verde and I ate Short Ribs... amazing...

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

We are up in Carmel a few times a year a ...

vip
Dined on June 5, 2016

We are up in Carmel a few times a year and always make this one of our dinner spots. Although the menu is somewhat limited, we all loved what we ordered. Our server, Dane was terrific and our steaks and seafood were all perfectly prepared. Cant wait to go back to Carmel and have another great night of dining

Tags: special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Two awesome dishes left no room for dess ...

Dined on June 3, 2016

Two awesome dishes left no room for dessert, which I'm sure would have been equally memorable! The spicy tomato sauce on the grilled octopus/cauliflower/chickpea appetizer made that dish extraordinary, and the spaghetti with shaved tuna heart was among the best pasta I've ever eaten, out or at home.

food4
ambience5
service5
value4

the atmosphere was delightful. staff w ...

Dined on May 27, 2016

the atmosphere was delightful. staff were wonderful. a la carte menu. ENJOYABLE!

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Incredible meat!

Dined on May 22, 2016

You think of an Italian restaurant as great for pasta but the steaks here are extraordinary, some of the best I have ever eaten! The food overall is great, service friendly, and atmosphere lively and hustle-bustle. It is not inexpensive but it is a very good dining experience.

Tags: kid-friendly, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service3
value3

Upon arrival the hostess did not greet o ...

Dined on May 22, 2016

Upon arrival the hostess did not greet our party, she instead continued to carry on conversations with the wait staff turning her back to us. It was beyond rude. Pros. The salami platters are beautiful and taste amazing. Pastas and steaks are wonderful Cons. We were only offered expensive bottled water no choice of tap. All items are a la crate so be sure and order the side dishes which are very good. Location in quaint neighborhood , they also have a wine and to go shop next to restaurant.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
food2
ambience2
service2
value1

This restaurant was mediocre, and poor s ...

Dined on May 21, 2016

This restaurant was mediocre, and poor service. Would not return.

food5
ambience3
service5
value4

Pre wedding find

vip
Dined on May 21, 2016

We had a large group of 14 from Chicago for a wedding in Carmel Food was fantastic. Service great. Sent three other couples there

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
food4
ambience4
service4

Food is ok, but the price is high.

Dined on May 20, 2016

Food is ok, but the price is high.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

My wife and I picked Luca because it was ...

Dined on May 20, 2016

My wife and I picked Luca because it was close to the Cypress Inn where we were staying. Coming early on a Thursday evening we were encouraged to take seats at the bar in front of the kitchen because several large groups were coming in and we didn't want to be near the noise. That turned out to be a great choice because we were able to watch the action as the three chefs composed plate after plate of wonderful food while we enjoyed our own. We shared Rucola salad of baby arugula and roasted beets, I had taglioloni of local sea food over linquini and my wife had short rib with asparagus and mustard seeds. The food was marvelous and the service attentive and friendly. We've definitely found a new favorite restaurant on the Monterey Peninsula.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
food5
ambience5
service5

Loved this restaurant. We were from out ...

Dined on May 19, 2016

Loved this restaurant. We were from out of town and picked this restaurant off of Yelp reviews. The staff was incredible and we had a great time!

food2
ambience3
service4
value2

The servers were lovely and very accommo ...

Dined on May 19, 2016

The servers were lovely and very accommodating. Unfortunately, the food left us much to be desired. Being an Italian restaurant, we thought pasta would be a good choice, but this turned out to be the worst choice. The spaghetti was undercooked, the pork meatballs were under seasoned, and the marinara sauce that went with the tagliatelle was bland. The only saving grace was the special dessert, the chocolate chip croissant bread pudding....which was very well done.

Tags: kid-friendly
food5
ambience4
service5

Great service, wonderful food, would def ...

Dined on May 9, 2016

Great service, wonderful food, would definitely recommend

food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Perfect end to a day in Carmel

vip
Dined on May 8, 2016

Fun vibe, delicious food, super service. We felt welcome and were well taken care of. The octopus appetizer rocked and the pasta bolognese was one of the best ever.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
food3
ambience1
service3
value2

Not The Best Choice

vip
Dined on May 3, 2016

Overall, this was a disappointment. Service was rushed and food was just so-so. Pasta Bolognese should be much heartier, more robust in flavor, and served hot. Such was not the case for our recent visit. Also, why not include wood-fired pizza as a dinner option instead of just for lunch? We won't return.

food4
ambience4
service4

What a great little spot. The chef is do ...

Dined on May 2, 2016

What a great little spot. The chef is doing some real nice things when it comes to creativity and taste. Will surely return to try more goodies...

food5
ambience5
service5

A must visit Great menu and service perf ...

vip
Dined on April 25, 2016

A must visit Great menu and service perfect (Linda) So good we went back to back nights Steaks and pasta were perfect

food3
ambience4
service4

The meal started a little slow because t ...

vip
Dined on April 23, 2016

The meal started a little slow because the restaurant was packed. I ordered 6 Oz filet, fingerling g potatoes and a glass of Roth. They first brought me a little bread board with some sort of oil with diced up olives. It was very nice if you like olives. Then, the main dished arrived. The steak was cooked perfectly but the $7 fingerling potatoes were not seasoned which was very disappointing. At the tail end of my dinner the owner changed the music to dance music and turned it up really loud. It was disappointing to end the night with Brick House playing.

food5
ambience3
service4
value4

Amazing food

Dined on April 22, 2016

Loved the food - we had reservations and arrived a little early and while they were able to accommodate us right away, the trade-off was that we were sat at a high bar table squashed up against a wall instead. But that's on us as we could have waited or said that didn't work for us. Our server seemed slightly harassed (specifically by a difficult table seated behind us), but kept his composure very well and warmed up as the meal went on. He made excellent recommendations and everything we ate was very very good. I will dream about that burrata for awhile. We will definitely return next time we are in town. One note for those like me who may not dine at these type of places often: I read on this site and others that dress was casual, but I would say that is not entirely true depending on your definition of casual (and you will realize this as soon as you walk up) - it's one of those situations where very nice, clean jeans and a blouse with well-chosen jewelry/accessories would feel comfortable, but I felt out of place in my slightly more casual outfit (bright jeans and a tank with a cardigan) and my boyfriend was wearing a zip up hoodie, which was also too casual. By no means do you need to dress to the nines, but definitely step it up a little to feel your most comfortable here.

Tags: fit for foodies
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

We were a party of 3, two of us had Bist ...

Dined on April 20, 2016

We were a party of 3, two of us had Bistecca Fiorentina, which was fairly flavorless and over priced at $90.00. My husband had the Tagliolini which was good. we were there on a Wednesday night, so was not too crowded. Service was fine.

food4
ambience4
service4

We enjoyed our meal .... Started with a ...

vip
Dined on April 17, 2016

We enjoyed our meal .... Started with a salad of baby greens with shredded pears, dates, gorgonzola and a honey vinaigrette. The flavor was delicious but the dates and pears were shredded/chopped so fine that you could barely find them. My husband had a pasta dish with tagliatelle and seafood. It was very tasty and a good size portion . I had the nightly special fish... Seared halibut, surrounded by vegetables in a light broth. It was delicious and also a very nice sized portion. Our waiter was attentive and our water glasses were filled promptly. The tables for two are extremely close together. Request a high top in the front section if you like a little more space.

food2
ambience4
service4
value1

The wine list was ridiculously expensive ...

Dined on April 10, 2016

The wine list was ridiculously expensive. Lasagna was dry. Grissini were spectacular, though.

food2
ambience4
service3
value3

Not our favorite

Dined on April 7, 2016

I called in advance to ask about vegan options and was told the chef would be glad to accomodate me. When we arrived, it was noted on the reservation that I was going to ask for a vegan meal. I was hopeful for something composed and well rounded (starch, protein, veggies, ie.). There was no effort to prepare a vegan meal and it turned out to be a choice of just two things from the menu that weren't my faves. Hubby and I shared sauteed spinach which we were sure came from a can. I can't remember the salad I ordered because it was dismissable. Maybe I ordered broccolini or asparagus but can't remember. That was it. My husband ordered fish and it was average. He stressed over my lack of options as this was our anniversary. Let's see - greens and greens. No starch or protein or any variety. Blah! I realize vegan food is not the focus of this type of restaurant and I would not personally have chosen to eat here, but my husband thought it looked good and I didn't want to take that away from him. Hubby chose the restaurant because he likes Italian food. And, I called in advance to make sure that my diet wouldn't be a problem for the restaurant. Instead the restaurant disregarded my needs. That is all. I wish I could talk with the chef for five minutes to give some insight on great vegan sides that would serve as meals for people like me. Vegan is amazingly easy once you understand the basics and usually I have no problem in Italian restaurants. This place was clueless.

food5
ambience5
service5

This was our second time here, and if we ...

vip
Dined on April 4, 2016

This was our second time here, and if we lived closer, we'd be regulars. Everything was outstanding.!

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Good Food & Nice

vip
Dined on April 3, 2016

We discovered Cantinetta Luca the night before when we were wandering around town and realized we were starving at 9pm. I had the arugula and beet salad and my husband had an affogatto, which was not on the menu - scoops of vanilla gelato topped with a shot of espresso. I enjoyed my salad so much that we went back the next day and I had it for lunch, along with their wonderful bread and dip. Service was very good on both occasions. They were welcoming and friendly. We would definitely return and highly recommend.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Delicious evening at Luca's!

Dined on April 2, 2016

My husband and I went to Cantinetta Luca for a special evening out as we were in town for the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. We had been to this restaurant once before and loved it. The second time around was not quite as wonderful as the first, but still overall a delicious meal. We had the octopus, arugula and beet salad, and the squid ink pasta for entree. We shared everything. The octopus was the weakest dish. A bit dry and rubbery. However, the salad was delicious, the pasta was divine. Our waitress was charming, attentive and lovely. We also had the chocolate budino for dessert which was out of this world. I had a glass of prosecco and my husband had a fabulous pinot grigio. Very pretty decor, great ambiance with a friendly, hip vibe, nice bar. Strongly recommend and we will be back.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Great food and our server was awesome. W ...

Dined on March 27, 2016

Great food and our server was awesome. We went back twice. Their pasta is all homemade and done in house. Highly recommend.

food5
ambience5
service5

Great and satisfying dinner. I enjoyed ...

Dined on March 21, 2016

Great and satisfying dinner. I enjoyed the salmon and desert of teramiso. A definite return trip called for

food2
ambience3
service2

Open Table lists this as a pizza place b ...

Dined on March 21, 2016

Open Table lists this as a pizza place but they don't serve it for dinner. Only really expensive $45 entrees with just a grisly hunk of fillet and a handful of greens for that! No sauce or flavor added to the dish at all. Really poor presentation overall. Would not recommend.

food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Fine substantial food

vip
Dined on March 20, 2016

Started with cold meat sampler-- generous portion of 4-6 slices of 8 types of meat, including delicious housemade bresaola and spicy calabrese. Very good. Also had specialty meatballs-- delicious blend of flavors in long cooked sauce. Highly recommend trying the meatballs, of which I am not usually a fan. Bolognese pasta tasty as well. Fish of the day was a perfectly prepared salmon on top of winter vegetables. Everything we had was delicious-- and our neighbors at other tables had the same results. I wish I had been able to sample some of Luca's lighter dishes, but was tempted by heartier ones ( in part because restaurant also runs adjacent deli) . We will be back to try different items. As others had commented, the tables in the front area are quite close together, so I would not choose Luca on a weekend unless you like a vibrant amount of background conversation, which we enjoyed. The back room, however, seemed to be offer space between tables.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We celebrated my husband's birthday. The ...

Dined on March 6, 2016

We celebrated my husband's birthday. The food was great, the service was awesome, and the restaurant was definitely affordable

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

Loved the food. Favorite restaurant in C ...

Dined on March 6, 2016

Loved the food. Favorite restaurant in Carmel so far. I loved the chicken, steak and sides of veggies. Everything was perfectly prepared and beautifully presented. Service was decent and fine, nothing special or particularly bad. Lighting, ambiance and spacing of seating was great and would recommend to anyone.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Really loved the food and the kitchen an ...

Dined on March 6, 2016

Really loved the food and the kitchen and wait staff were fabulous. The gnocchi is to die for!!!

food5
ambience3
service4
value3

Good food on small menu.

Dined on March 5, 2016

I was very happy with the quality of the food, but the menu selection was small. I drank a bottle of beer because the wine prices were too expensive and there was no draft selection. The restaraunt is very clean and well decorated. It was a little to cold indoors for my guests to be comfortable.

Tags: great for brunch, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

perfect restaurant

Dined on March 5, 2016

great food, great service. i recommend to everyone!! Grest prices too.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, great for lunch

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