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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.

Dolores St. between Ocean and 7th
Carmel, CA 93921
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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, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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

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Cantinetta Luca Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.1

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.9

service

3.9

ambience

3.8

value

3.4

noise

Moderate

66% would recommend it to a friend

Local Ingredients (8)
Special Occasion (8)
Creative Cuisine (7)
See All
Fit for Foodies (7)
Neighborhood Gem (7)
Notable Wine List (7)
Authentic (7)
Casual (6)
Good for a Date (6)
Pre/post Theatre (6)
Romantic (6)
Good for Birthdays (6)
Good for Anniversaries (5)
Business Meals (5)
Comfort Food (5)
Good for Groups (4)
Quiet Conversation (4)
Handcrafted Cocktails (4)
Bar Seating (3)
Cozy (3)
Worth the Drive (3)
Healthy (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Fun (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Seasonal (1)
Tapas (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
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1373 reviews
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 (New York Area)·Dined on September 2, 2017

I had high hopes for Cantinetta Luca. Six weeks before my reservation I had a wonderful dining experience at Aubergine, another restaurant in the Mirabel Hotel and Restaurant Group. I expected the level of service and experience to dip slightly due to the price bracket difference between the two restaurants, but I was not prepared for it to be a stark difference.
The menu is in line with the price. It has intriguing and varying items to choose from within each category. I began with the house selection of salume, unfortunately I cannot tell you which cured meats were included on the board that was slapped down on the table before the server dashed away. The service continued like this throughout the evening. The house salume on the other hand was wonderful. The richness in flavor was readily apparent due to the salume being served at an appropriate temperature.
When my partner and I ordered for the main course he was advised to order an antipasti with the Filleto (8oz filet mignon) since our server said, "it's basically just a garnish," about the arugula that accompanied the filet. Now, traditionally in french cooking watercress is presented as a garnish just peeking from underneath the meat, so I thought this being an Italian restaurant it would be logical that an Italian cook might poke fun at traditional french cooking by using arugula. In reality it was a mound of arugula the size of my open hand. My partner was up-sold. Instead of an attentive server, a negligent used-car salesman waited upon us.
Service aside, we enjoyed the quality of our meals but it saddens me that I must iterate the the phrase I tell all novice cooks and those looking to improve upon their skills.
Salt!
Always remember to season your dishes while youre cooking and adjust it as necessary. Never send out an unseasoned dish!
The caprese salad was unseasoned.
If you appreciate salume go to Cantinetta Luca, sit at the bar, order the house salume, and have a drink, you might need it.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value3

vip
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on August 30, 2017

First seated at a table next to a large and noisy party celebrating birthdays. Then fortunately moved – but the noise level in the restaurant in general is higher then it's conducive to good conversation, and the tables are much too close together. The portionsare adequate and the food tasty but to serve a menu items such as the roast chicken with no vegetables accompaniment available at the price is ridiculous. Very disappointing.

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food3
ambience2
service3
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Great food and service, but back room is way too loud!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience1
service4
value3

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Good experience but geared toward tourists with the menu pricing. Corkage at 35 is outrageous. We will not return just because of that.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value2

 
·Dined on August 27, 2017

It took over 30 minutes after we were finished with our salad before we got our main course. We were sitting at the bar eating and the bartender said it was taking way too long. She took the cost of our wine off the price of our dinner as she felt bad about the wait. She was really. Ice.

We come to Carmel frequently and we always eat at the restaurant and have referred it to a lot of our friends. We have not had this problem in the past so hopefully it was just a bad night in the kitchen.

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food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Very nice restaurant in Carmel. I've walked by it many times, but never stopped in. It will be one of my go to restaurants on future carmel visits.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on August 26, 2017

My fiance and I sat at the kitchen bar and were able to watch the cooks make the food. The pizza oven was the coolest part. The food was amazing!

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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 25, 2017

Eaten here twice and both times found the food excellent. I think they can improve on the prices of the wines by the glass.

Tags: Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Casual, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List
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food5
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service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 21, 2017

Seems ridiculous that on Concours weekend they would run out of so many dishes, but yes they did. Also, 72 hour cancellation policy with $50 pp penalty is quite outrageous. I have been to so many finer restaurants in the area that have no such policies. Get over yourself Cantinetta. Will not be going back after so many years. A total disappointment.

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food3
ambience1
service2
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 21, 2017

The food was very good as was the service. The restaurant was very loud which was a negative for me.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value4

vip
 (New England)·Dined on August 15, 2017

Outstanding meal. Dined with my college age sons who have come to appreciate Mom's foodie habit. We ordered two servings of bread to wipe EVERY DISH clean. Our server helped us choose an excellent bottle of wine. We enjoyed the charcuterie sampler, the tomato/burrata salad, the Cacio y Pepe, the roast lemon chicken (my son says he feels bad for any future chicken he eats that will never compare), the filet (other son says it was best he has ever had....and he has had many), and the salmon filet. If I went back, I might skip the salmon and try something else but would gladly order the rest of it again. Truly a delicious meal. Everything was fresh and flavorful. Staff was lovely and service was excellent. Highly recommend.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Authentic, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 13, 2017

Most of the food was very good, but we felt neglected at times and waited an hour for our entrees

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food4
ambience4
service2

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 11, 2017

The appetizers were excellent, but the florentine steak, which was the house specialty, was unimpressive. It lacked the sear and tenderness of a true florentine steak. It was definitely overpriced and surprisingly served without a single side, and no sides available to order separately on the menu.

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food2
ambience3
service5
value1

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 10, 2017

The food was good. A little expensive for what you eat. The wine list could have more red wines glasses with a good price. I spent $100 with two dishes and two wine glasses.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 8, 2017

Luca is always great! The filet is wonderful! The staff is always friendly and helpful. The adjacent market has great choices for wines, various cheeses, meats, etc., for parties and friends get togethers.

Tags: Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Healthy, Casual, Local Ingredients, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on August 5, 2017

Great meal- lots of great choices. The eggplant pasta was awesome

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 4, 2017

Disappointing and expensive. Limited menu with lots of pizzas. The small steak came with nothing but some arugula and was over cooked, the pork chop supposedly had polenta and vegetables but they were difficult to find, and the pasta crab was short on crab. The wine list is heavy on expensive Italian wines. We had one bottle of red and the manager suggested another in a comparable price range. A $30 differential is not comparable! There were 4 of us: we shared 2 salads, had an entree each, 2 bottles of wine, no dessert or coffee and the bill was $370.00 before tip. The restaurant itself is nicely decorated and the wait staff was very pleasant and helpful but we won't be returning.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value2

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 4, 2017

The Tuscan-style porterhouse steak was very good but the restaurant's lack of offering side dishes to accompany the meal left us with only a huge plate of meat! Very poorly thought out. We purchased a bottle from their wine list and still had to pay a $35 corkage fee for our special anniversary bottle.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 28, 2017

The food was good, but it was frustrating that they wouldn't make any substitutions. The service was also slow.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value1

 
·Dined on July 28, 2017

We planned a later dinner and arrived an hour early. The hostess got us right in.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 24, 2017

Very average food

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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

 
 (San Joaquin)·Dined on July 24, 2017

Delicious food. Excellent wine list. Superb service. The antipasti and salads are particularly wonderful, but so are the pastas and .... well, most everything. The waitstaff knows the wine list and made some helpful recommendations of wines that were new to me. We have dined there a number of times over several years and expect to be back.

Tags: Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Authentic, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Houston)·Dined on July 22, 2017

Unfortunately, the food was just average. Perhaps the puzza might be the best item on the menu. We will not be returning.

Tags: Quiet Conversation
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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 17, 2017

Fantastic good. We couldn't have been happier with are caesar salad (best anchovies I have ever tasted), pasta entrees, and desserts. Don't miss it.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive, Good Vegetarian Options, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal, Fun, Comfort Food, Good for Birthdays, Casual, Handcrafted Cocktails, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion, Authentic, Romantic, Cozy
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (Phoenix)·Dined on July 9, 2017

We had a wonderful meal. We had the charcuterie plate - amazing meats and cheeses. My daughter had the white fold over pizza, but choose open face. It was delicious. I had the bolognese and it was tasty and not too rich. My husband had the saffron tagliatelle and it had so much flavor, it was the best of the three but all three meals didn't disappoint. We would order them all again! Enjoy!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on July 8, 2017

Mediocre in every respect Food was disappointing because the menu looked good.

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food2
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 4, 2017

We visited this restaurant for lunch several years ago and it was a pleasant experience. We returned for dinner this week and the food was extremely bland and the pasta was undercooked (less than al dente). The only positive comment we have about the food is that each dish was piping hot when presented to us. While a lovely restaurant, we were very disappointed and will not be returning.

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food1
ambience4
service3
value1

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on July 3, 2017

I took my three nieces to this restaurant as part of a graduation celebration. I spent $115 before tip and had no beverages other than water as they were under age. We all walked away hungry. How can you spend that much on a meal and still be hungry? Two of us had the Tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce. The serving was small, maybe 3/4-1 cup, and my niece barely had any of the meat sauce on hers. Come on, pasta is the least expensive dish to make, can't you at least feed people enough so they don't have to go somewhere else to get fed.

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food2
ambience3
service3
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vip
 (Hawaii)·Dined on July 2, 2017

The experience would have been positive if the service had not been so very slow. We waited 15 minutes just to place our order. Then 20 minutes for the appetizer, which was Caesar salad, then 25 minutes for our pizza.
We also waited 12 minutes to get a glass of wine. Food was very good but the slow service outweighed everything else. Waiter was very nice, but should have comped the glasses of wine. He acknowledged kitchen was overwhelmed.

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food5
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on July 2, 2017

We have been to this restaurant more than 7 times . Over the last 4 years it has got worse every
year. Last year we barely received a bottle of wine we ordered. This year Pizza was over cooked and the outside of the crust black ( we have eaten pizza all over the world ). Service has got worse every year even when it is not crowded.
This was our last visit .

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food2
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on July 1, 2017

The food and service are always great! I know the food will always be great and therefore take friends and out of town guests there frequently.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Healthy, Business Meals, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (London)·Dined on June 30, 2017

pizza was very good - the service was incrediby slow

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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 24, 2017

If you're looking for great Italian food, nothing fancy, they definitely fit the bill. Both my daughter and I had pasta and my son had pizza. Everything was hot and tasty.

Tags: Authentic
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 24, 2017

I have been to this restaurant many times over the past 6 years and this time I was disappointed. Is there a new manager? Chef? The menu did not seem as inspired as in the past. They stopped giving bread sticks as a complimentary starter, they took my favorite Tri colore salad off the menu and the wait staff seemed to want to rush us along and seemed disappointed when we wouldn't order more wine. There are so many others to choose from in Carmel, I don't plan to return.

Tags: Comfort Food
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on June 18, 2017

We have dined at Cantinetta Luca twice before for dinner and it was good, but we just had a pizza & salad before going to theater. The only positive was that our waiter was very nice. First off I ordered an ice tea and my husband had a glass of rose. The rose was excellent, but the tea was a bright purple colored and I thought it may be juice so I asked the waiter "what is this?" He said that it was Hibiscus tea, which I guess is fine if you are a fan of highly flavored hibiscus tea. I asked if they just had a plain black tea, which is what I consider tea. He was so nice, but came back with a hot tea. Well when you want and you like ure plain black ice tea, hot tea or hibiscus (we are talking very flavored, nothing tea about it) does not cut it. Then the came our food and we both ordered different kinds of panini's with a salad. I ordered the traditional Caprese with buffalo mozzarella with tomato and fresh basil. Well it was loaded with mayonnaise and not only does this particular panini not lend it self to the flavor of mayonnaise, but there was too much of it. Also there was very little tomato or basil and it was totally bland. The salad had almost no dressing and was just some very flat tasting greens. Mind you this was not an inexpensive at $44 for a couple of very unexciting or tasteful sandwiches. I did not complain to the waiter as he was so nice and it was Father's Day and I did not want to put a damper on it for him, my husband or anyone else that was working there. All in all, I would try the place again and order something different (even the pizza is much better), but they should 1) have a regular black ice tea in addition to hibiscus or whatever flavor they want to offer, 2) don't put mayo on a caprese panini and the music was blaring loud some kind of rock music....this is a supposed to be an authentic Italian restaurant...maybe some softer Italian music would be better for atmosphere.

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food1
ambience2
service3
value1

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Traditionally excellent experience but service was poor. Main dinner ok. Appetizers and meat plate was excellent even though we ordered small platter and was served large one

Server was inattentive as we had to ask for everything including coffee. Somelier was excellent though

We had been many times and recommended but after this last dinner will look at other options when we come back in July

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food3
ambience4
service1
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 17, 2017

We enjoyed our supper. Good cocktails! And Chris, the Somm, was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. The warm bread was yummy and their butter: sweet and fresh. We really liked the olive oil/tapenade dip they served with it as well. My pork chop was delicious. However, I think the lamb raviolis were overpriced. All in all, a good experience.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on June 14, 2017

We thoroughly enjoyed cantinetta Luca! The food was fantastic and we really appreciated all of our server's suggestions. I ordered the squid ink tagliatelle, and it was delicious! Housemade pasta with crab and calamari, in a fresh olive oil sauce. We have a new favorite dinner place in Carmel!

Tags: Romantic, Hot Spot, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on June 3, 2017

Always enjoy eating at Luca - food and service is fantastic.

Tags: Authentic, Business Meals, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on June 2, 2017

Amazing! Both the food and the service were beyond typical, in fact they were excellent. The atmosphere is inviting, the menu is not extensive but the selections are plentiful. I ordered a fresh pasta vegetarian option and my wife ordered the filet steak. They were served with a salad we shared. Do not pass up the bread service with topinade. Mm good.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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