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

  • seared fish
  • Little Gem
  • Pasta Bolgnese
  • Polipo
seared fish
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

4.2

service

4.2

ambience

4.0

value

3.5

noise

Moderate

81% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Most Booked
Monterey / Carmel
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Romantic (21)
Good for Groups (18)
Notable Wine List (18)
Great for Lunch (12)
Hot Spot (10)
Kid-friendly (5)
Vibrant Bar Scene (4)
Late-night Find (2)
Great for Brunch (2)
Good for a Date (1)
People Watching (1)
Quiet Conversation (1)
Comfort Food (1)
Creative Cuisine (1)
Local Ingredients (1)
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1133 reviews
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Wonderful home-made pasta and Bolognese. ...

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined 4 days ago

Wonderful home-made pasta and Bolognese. Generous Arugula salad. We split both dishes and it was plenty. They graciously accommodated our small service dog. Otherwise, not dog friendly in a very dog friendly town.

Tags: Good for a Date, People Watching, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

My only complaint was the waiter we had ...

 
 (Central Coast)
·Dined 6 days ago

My only complaint was the waiter we had with my group was not to friendly, but the food was good.

Tags: Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

Service was slow and indifferent. After ...

vip
 (Orlando)
·Dined 7 days ago

Service was slow and indifferent. After service of the appetizer (white bean soup), there was no follow up by the waitress. The soup beans were undercooked and the soup lacked flavor. Salt and pepper had to be requested to make it edible. When I informed the waitress that the beans were undercooked and the kitchen should be told, there was no response. No offer to replace it, no offer to remove it from the bill, nothing. The remainder of the meal was no better. I will not return.

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food2
ambience3
service1
value2

Server forgot to put in meal order for s ...

vip
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on August 16, 2016

Server forgot to put in meal order for sixth person. Chef apologized.

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food3
ambience4
service2

I thought the service was okay - not out ...

 
 (Central Coast)
·Dined on August 14, 2016

I thought the service was okay - not outstanding. I think the prices are high especially that you don't get any veges or salad with your main. very expensive for what you get.

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food3
ambience3
service2
value2

wonderful pasta's great pizza & the carp ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on August 10, 2016

wonderful pasta's great pizza & the carpresse salad with burrata is to die for !

Tags: Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Amazing charcuterie board, phenomenal se ...

vip
 (Sacramento)
·Dined on August 7, 2016

Amazing charcuterie board, phenomenal serrvice from Mario, and a bone in NY to die for.... doesn't get better than that!

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food5
ambience5
service5

I had the beet salad and the heirloom to ...

vip
 (Central Coast)
·Dined on July 26, 2016

I had the beet salad and the heirloom tomato soup. Ugh....the soup tasted watered down and flavorless. The salad was decent, but not seasoned well either. Such a disappointment

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food2
ambience4
service4

Delicious fresh pastas and half chicken ...

vip
 (Phoenix)
·Dined on July 26, 2016

Delicious fresh pastas and half chicken was outstanding. The service was attentive and our waitress was lovely. We enjoyed every bite and the ambiance was charming. We have already made another reservation!

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food5
ambience5
service5

The restaurant seemed to look pretty but ...

vip
 (Dallas)
·Dined on July 25, 2016

The restaurant seemed to look pretty but the moment we arrived we were seated immediately at the front window table. It was a very nice table, however, being new to the area I asked the host if I could walk through the restaurant to see the place and possibly consider another table with more ambience. The host was very rude and responded by saying you are the only person who has ever complained about the window seat. I was not complaining. I was just interested in seeing the restaurant considering we had never dined there. The host has an attitude and proceeded to give us attitude the rest of the night. The food was good but we won't be back.

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food3
ambience3
service3

Very disappointed in the extremely limit ...

vip
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on July 21, 2016

Very disappointed in the extremely limited menu and quality of food.

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food2
ambience3
service4
value2

We frequently dine at Cantinetta Luca. W ...

vip
 (Houston)
·Dined on July 17, 2016

We frequently dine at Cantinetta Luca. We enjoy the food and the ambiance. The back dining room can get a bit noisy when it is full. I don't normally order chicken when dining out but they have a fabulous roasted chicken dish.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Great food, tables are too close togethe ...

 
 (Central Coast)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

Great food, tables are too close together. Service was good.

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food5
ambience4
service5

The arugula salad was fantastic--I'd nev ...

vip
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on July 14, 2016

The arugula salad was fantastic--I'd never thought of pickled peaches and beets together, but it was such a wonderful combination. The funghi pizza was delicious as well. I could have done without the oppressively loud '80s music, but it's a lovely setting and our waitress was very helpful. I'll be back!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

We were in Carmel and friends recommende ...

 
 (Seattle)
·Dined on July 12, 2016

We were in Carmel and friends recommended this restaurant. We all enjoyed our meals, but weren't floored. The potato gnocchi was quite good, but we were expecting better. Overall a fine restaurant, but there seem to be many choices in the area with charming ambience.

Tags: Romantic
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food3
ambience3
service4
value2

It was probably an off night, but it was ...

vip
 (Central Coast)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

It was probably an off night, but it was an hour between salad and getting our pasta. The waiter did bring us a glass of Chianti on the house to make to try to help. But even the table next to us, and they came in much later, couldn't get waited on and they were regulars. It isn't worth it in my opinion. The food was fine, but not exceptional. Cute atmosphere, but loud.

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food3
ambience3
service2
value1

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

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on June 26, 2016

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.

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

disorganised, though booked. Waited; fro ...

 
 (Liverpool)
·Dined on June 26, 2016

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.

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food4
ambience1
service3
value1

From the minute we walked in the experie ...

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on June 26, 2016

From the minute we walked in the experience was terrible. We had a reservation and the hostess acted as is we were bothering her. Our waiter was also the bar tender and barely paid us any attention. Our glasses were never refilled. Chicken was good but pasta was under cooked and sauce tastes like it was canned. I would never go back.

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food2
ambience3
service1
value1

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

 
 (Denver)
·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: Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Fantastic meal with wonderful service. W ...

 
 (Seattle)
·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, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Staff were friendly and accommodating an ...

 
 (Los Angeles)
·Dined on June 10, 2016

Staff were friendly and accommodating and the service was outstanding. We would return! Highly recommend!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Good surprise

 
 (Los Angeles)
·Dined on June 9, 2016

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

Tags: Hot Spot, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wedding Anniversary Fantastic

 
 (New York Area)
·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, Late-night Find, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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

vip
 (Los Angeles)
·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: Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Two awesome dishes left no room for dess ...

 
 (St. Louis)
·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.

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food5
ambience5
service5

the atmosphere was delightful. staff w ...

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on May 27, 2016

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

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Loved it and will definitely go back whe ...

 
 (Dallas)
·Dined on May 23, 2016

Loved it and will definitely go back when in Carmel

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food5
ambience5
service5

Incredible meat!

 
 (San Francisco)
·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
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Upon arrival the hostess did not greet o ...

vip
 (Los Angeles)
·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
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food5
ambience4
service3
value3

This restaurant was mediocre, and poor s ...

 
 (New York Area)
·Dined on May 21, 2016

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

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food2
ambience2
service2
value1

Pre wedding find

vip
 (Chicago)
·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
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

Food is ok, but the price is high.

 
 (Central Coast)
·Dined on May 20, 2016

Food is ok, but the price is high.

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food4
ambience4
service4

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

 
 (Central Coast)
·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
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Loved this restaurant. We were from out ...

 
 (San Antonio)
·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!

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food5
ambience5
service5

The servers were lovely and very accommo ...

 
 (New York Area)
·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
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food2
ambience3
service4
value2

Great service, wonderful food, would def ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 9, 2016

Great service, wonderful food, would definitely recommend

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food5
ambience4
service5

Perfect end to a day in Carmel

vip
 (New York Area)
·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
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Not The Best Choice

vip
 (San Francisco)
·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.

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food3
ambience1
service3
value2

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

 
 (Los Angeles)
·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...

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food4
ambience4
service4

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