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

4.2

service

4.2

ambience

4.0

value

3.4

noise

Moderate

80% would recommend it to a friend

fit for foodies (30)
neighborhood gem (26)
special occasion (21)
See All
romantic (17)
good for groups (16)
notable wine list (15)
great for lunch (13)
hot spot (12)
kid-friendly (4)
vibrant bar scene (3)
late-night find (3)
great for brunch (2)
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Delicious fresh pastas and half chicken ...

vip
 (Phoenix)
·Dined 3 days ago

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 ...

 
 (Dallas)
·Dined 4 days ago

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 ...

 
 (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: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, 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
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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
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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
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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: romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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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, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Good surprise

 
 (Los Angeles)
·Dined on June 9, 2016

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

Tags: romantic, special occasion, hot spot
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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, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
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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: special occasion, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience4
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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, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
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food4
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value4

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
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Upon arrival the hostess did not greet o ...

 
 (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
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service5
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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

A must visit Great menu and service perf ...

vip
 (New England)
·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

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food5
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The meal started a little slow because t ...

vip
 (Washington DC)
·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.

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food3
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service4

Amazing food

 
 (Portland)
·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
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food5
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We were a party of 3, two of us had Bist ...

 
 (Hawaii)
·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.

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food3
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We enjoyed our meal .... Started with a ...

vip
 (San Francisco)
·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.

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food4
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The wine list was ridiculously expensive ...

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on April 10, 2016

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

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food2
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Not our favorite

 
 (San Francisco)
·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.

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food2
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This was our second time here, and if we ...

vip
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on April 4, 2016

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

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food5
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service5

Good Food & Nice

vip
 (San Francisco)
·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
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food5
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Delicious evening at Luca's!

 
 (San Francisco)
·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
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food4
ambience5
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value4

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