About Cantinetta Luca
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.
Italian, Steak, Pizzeria
Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Thursday, 5 - 9 pm
Friday - Saturday, 5 - 10 pm
Daily, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
$30 and under
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In the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, all parking is street access.
Private Party Facilities:
Wine Room: Beautiful Brick Ceiling Dining Room that can accommodate up to 45 guests.
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:
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Cantinetta Luca Ratings and Reviews
The restaurant seemed to look pretty but ...
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.
We frequently dine at Cantinetta Luca. W ...
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.
The arugula salad was fantastic--I'd nev ...
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!
We were in Carmel and friends recommende ...
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.
It was probably an off night, but it was ...
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.
disorganised, though booked. Waited; fro ...
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.
From the minute we walked in the experie ...
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.
Wedding Anniversary Fantastic
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...
We are up in Carmel a few times a year a ...
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
Two awesome dishes left no room for dess ...
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.
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.
Upon arrival the hostess did not greet o ...
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.
My wife and I picked Luca because it was ...
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.
The servers were lovely and very accommo ...
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.
Not The Best Choice
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.
The meal started a little slow because t ...
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.
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.
We were a party of 3, two of us had Bist ...
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.
We enjoyed our meal .... Started with a ...
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.
Not our favorite
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.
Good Food & Nice
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.
Delicious evening at Luca's!
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.
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