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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Please e-mail us with your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
This restaurant was mediocre, and poor s ...
This restaurant was mediocre, and poor service. Would not return.
Pre wedding find
We had a large group of 14 from Chicago for a wedding in Carmel Food was fantastic. Service great. Sent three other couples there
Food is ok, but the price is high.
Food is ok, but the price is high.
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.
Loved this restaurant. We were from out ...
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!
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.
Great service, wonderful food, would def ...
Great service, wonderful food, would definitely recommend
Perfect end to a day in Carmel
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.
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.
What a great little spot. The chef is do ...
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...
A must visit Great menu and service perf ...
A must visit Great menu and service perfect (Linda) So good we went back to back nights Steaks and pasta were perfect
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.
The wine list was ridiculously expensive ...
The wine list was ridiculously expensive. Lasagna was dry. Grissini were spectacular, though.
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.
This was our second time here, and if we ...
This was our second time here, and if we lived closer, we'd be regulars. Everything was outstanding.!
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.
Great food and our server was awesome. W ...
Great food and our server was awesome. We went back twice. Their pasta is all homemade and done in house. Highly recommend.
Great and satisfying dinner. I enjoyed ...
Great and satisfying dinner. I enjoyed the salmon and desert of teramiso. A definite return trip called for
Open Table lists this as a pizza place b ...
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.
Fine substantial food
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.
We celebrated my husband's birthday. The ...
We celebrated my husband's birthday. The food was great, the service was awesome, and the restaurant was definitely affordable
Loved the food. Favorite restaurant in C ...
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.
Really loved the food and the kitchen an ...
Really loved the food and the kitchen and wait staff were fabulous. The gnocchi is to die for!!!
Good food on small menu.
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.
great food, great service. i recommend to everyone!! Grest prices too.
2nd time here and it gets better each time. The food and service are top notch can't wait to go back again.
Can't wait to return to Cantinetta Luca
We made a reservation to celebrate our 5th Anniversary and were pleased to have a call to confirm our reservations and to ask what we were celebrating, date of anniversary and both of our names :) We arrived and were put in an adjoining table with another couple in the bar area, but were promptly re-seated in the very nice back room near the wine vault. Beautiful space with great lighting and appealing art. We ordered Negroni's, Wine and the Burrata appetizer. Just delicious!! We liked our server, Linda, she was very pleasant, though she did not tell our table the nightly specials (we asked her, as we had heard other servers telling their tables). I had my heart set on the filet with bernaise sauce and it exceeded my expectations, absolutely fabulous. I also ordered the wonderful brussel's sprouts with apple and bacon( I believe). Ate every single one. My guy had the short ribs and loved them, and he enjoyed his side dish as well. We ordered espresso and an affogatto for dessert. After we left the restaurant, full and happy, we did realize that our server did not recognize our anniversary at all, so that was a bit disappointing.
Romántico for the whole family
I had recently been invited to a special lunch back in July and had been dying to bring my wife to this charming spot. We celbrated a belated Valentine's Day with my wife, in laws and my mom, it was absolutely amazing!!! They could not stop raving about how good the food was, we are already planning to come back very soon...
We made a reservation via open table and ...
We made a reservation via open table and then had to wait an additional 45 minutes. They seemed understaffed. We were finally sat and had the Salumi appetizer, olives and a couple pastas. The olives were good- the rest of it was quite underwhelming. Would not go there again or recommend. A shame, since it's one of the more moderately priced dinner options in Carmel and upon first read, the menu was enticing. Oh well.
Love this place
Very solid Italian restaurant. Great setting, cozy, comfortable and inviting. Good wine list, and we all liked every aspect of the experience. Second time there and a must dining experience while in Carmel.
Best value for the price
Having reservations is recommended. Slightly disappointed that the pizzas and calzones are only on lunch menu. Scallops, wine, & choc moose were phenomenal. We'll be back for sure!
The filet was OUTSTANDING!! The special ...
The filet was OUTSTANDING!! The special veal was just OK. Also loved the arugula/beet salad
Wine list, starters
Wine list, starters
Great find in Carmel
Homemade pastas and Italian style steaks. Try the appetizers: warmed olives, meatballs, and burrito. Their pasta is homemade: The Black Squid Ink Spagehttini is a great flavorful dish and their Bolegnese is their house signature dish. Wine list is very good and you've fine some great ones.
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