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
View Larger Map

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

Send a Gift Card

Buy now and send it instantly by email, or print a card to give in person.

Cantinetta Luca Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.2

ambience

4.2

value

3.9

noise

Moderate

85% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (20)
Romantic (13)
Special Occasion (12)
See All
Authentic (12)
Neighborhood Gem (12)
Good for Birthdays (11)
Good for Anniversaries (11)
Fun (9)
Fit for Foodies (9)
Worth the Drive (9)
Creative Cuisine (7)
Wood Oven (7)
Casual (7)
Local Ingredients (6)
Cozy (6)
Comfort Food (6)
Family Style (4)
Open Kitchen (4)
Bar Seating (4)
Quiet Conversation (4)
Business Meals (4)
Modern Decor (4)
Hot Spot (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
Notable Wine List (2)
Kid-friendly (2)
Seasonal (2)
Good for Groups (2)
People Watching (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Organic (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Healthy (1)
Pre/post Theatre (1)
Great for Lunch (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Great Beer (1)
Outstanding Value (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
Dining Occasion:
S
Sort By:
S
1294 reviews
Loading Reviews ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 19, 2017

Great food!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 19, 2017

Fantastic dinner at Cantinetta Luca. Two of us split the Porterhouse steak, and my other two friends had to have a taste. It was unanimous—the best steak we've every eaten. We added a side of broccolini (delicious) and a side of roasted potatoes. So much food that I didn't even finish my half of the steak. Service was excellent and well paced. I'll go again next time I'm in Carmel.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Orange County)·Dined on February 17, 2017

A great place to sit back and have great service bring wonder dishes to share and enjoy separately. Their wine list has many great deals and many of them are under $100. Their barley soup is outrageously good!. Pasta's are fresh and home made. A place we would recommend when in Carmel.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Comfort Food, Authentic, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on February 12, 2017

We were four at an early dinner. All of the entrys were well prepared and nicely presented. I had the duck with red cabbage, mushrooms and parsnips. What a great combination! Highly recommend Lucas for nice dinner with friends.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 11, 2017

The wine and main courses (chicken, short rib) were exceptional- the salad/appetizers and dessert were just ok. I really wanted to like everything...

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Tahoe)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Been to this restaurant several times for both lunch and dinner. This latest experience was well short of satisfactory. The waiter was arrogant, and the food portions were small for the price. They now charge for "bread service" which amounted to a few small slices. Water glasses were never refilled.

The sommelier said he would filter our bottle of wine but never returned. By the way, the corkage fee was excessive.

Given this experience, I will not return to this restaurant especially given the many other dining options in Carmel.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience2
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 8, 2017

Great meal. I have been to this place a number of times and it never disappoints. I will say that being an oenophile with a large assortment of Italian wine in my cellar. I brought an 2000 Barolo and a 2001 Brunello. At $35.00 per bottle as a corkage fee. pretty ridiculous in my opinion. both bottles were opened only. No decant and 95% poured myself. Still would not deter me eating there although.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Denver)·Dined on February 5, 2017

One of the best meals of my life. Their bread persimmon pudding is poetry. Also try the les jumelles pinot noir. Our server was very sweet and very well informed. Thank you for guiding us through the realm of Italian food. Your reccomendations were superb. Looking forward to my next visit.

Tags: Romantic, Casual, Sunday Lunch, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Dallas)·Dined on February 5, 2017

This is our go-to restaurant in Carmel- we had our rehearsal dinner there 5 years ago and its still our favorite spot. Great wine list, excellent food and really good service.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on February 4, 2017

We had a wonderful evening at Cantinetta Luca. The ambiance is great, the food was very authentic Italian and delicious, the wind and beer selection was very good. The waiter was friendly and attentive. We loved it!

Tags: Comfort Food, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Authentic, Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Romantic, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 1, 2017

This was our second time visiting your lovely restaurant. Everything was very well done. Thank you.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Good food. Pricey. $30 corkage fee. Had the short ribs and they were worth the money.

Tags: Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Have been here before, and always had a great meal. We love Italian food, so when were in Carmel we try to stop in for one of the nights.

Tags: Authentic, Seasonal, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 27, 2017

Very attentive service.... expensive but quality food....

Wine list prices were too high.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 22, 2017

I'll be brief...worth the money I spent. Ordered the Porterhouse for two. Exemplary preparation and the taste was phenomenal. Menu wasn't laden with unnecessary contents or filler. Martinis were awesome as well as Dane, my server. Celebrating our anniversary this year and very well might be here next year.

Tags: Disabled Access, Worth the Drive, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Vancouver)·Dined on January 9, 2017

Hadn't tried this place before despite having walked by it countless times during previous visits. It was a stormy Sunday night so other than the very noisy children seated along the wall, it was lovely and quiet. We were able to be seated at a table tucked into a window alcove which was great for chatting.

Food was great. Hearty and flavourful. We had 2 entrees: the porkchop and the linguini, both recommended by our server and very delicious.

Tags: Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 3, 2017

Too little food and not good enough service to justify the exorbitant price.

1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service2
value1

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 2, 2017

The food and experience were fantastic. Service was excellent. Manager was so kind. Food was out of this world!!!

Tags: Comfort Food, Business Meals, Good for Groups, Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation, Outstanding Value, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Romantic, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 1, 2017

We celebrated New Years with friends. It was great food for both adults and kids (ours ranged from ages 11-16) Loved the food and atmosphere. This was our first time trying it. Our family has a place up the street so we will definitely be coming back.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, People Watching, Cozy, Fun, Kid-friendly, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Hot Spot, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Great food great service even on a busy night as New Year's Eve

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 31, 2016

We had dinner at Cantinetta Luca for my boyfriend's birthday. He loves steak so I picked the restaurant based on the reviews of the special porterhouse, which we ordered. It was absolute perfection, tender, flavorful and beautifully presented. It is priced by the ounce, and the portions are large, so we shared one. The side dishes were also delicious - we had Brussels sprouts and polenta. Service was warm and inviting. The tables are close together, which at first seemed not very romantic, but it was like being in a European bistro, and the patrons on both sides were delightful. The family from Bulgaria next to us left and had told the waiter to add our dessert to their bill. Overall, it was a wonderful experience.

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Excellent food. We had a very good taglietelle and a gnocchi that were both handmade with wonderful sauces. Prices were in line with the high quality of the handmade pastas. Ambiance and service were great!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4

vip
 (Houston)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Rude staff

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience1
service1
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 30, 2016

We were the first customers for lunch:

  • Only had 1 high chair in the entire restaurant

  • Food was cold

  • felt as if a were bugging them to be at the restaurant

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience2
service3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Unfortunately this was not a great experience. We went there for a late lunch 2:00pm and it took 2 hours for 4 pizza's, hamburger, 2 salads and a meat and cheese (cheese never showed up) plate. The food was fine but the service was horrible. There were only 3 other tables seated and they all were experiencing similar delays. The server never explained what the delay was and she was rarely servicing us. We had one round of drinks because she didn't take or offer a follow on order. I would try it again but it was very disappointing.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience5
service1
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 29, 2016

It was our second time there. The pizza is excellent. The pasta dishes were very good although the special pasta the day was a bit pricey. We had panna cotta and tiramisu for dessert and were not disappointed. Service was very friendly. Just a note for the wine, we prefer our wine by the glass to be served from the bottle.

Tags: Wood Oven, Kid-friendly, Family Style, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 28, 2016

All was good but unfortunately they didn't have my first order

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3

vip
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on December 28, 2016

This had been a long time favorite of ours but the experience last night was very disappointing. The squid ink pasta that we had many times in the past was not anywhere what we remembered. The sauce was lacking the intensity and flavor. Just garlicky. The cornetto pizza was just okay. The prosciutto sitting on top was a little chewy. But the number one shocker was that they had raised the corkage fee to an outrageous $35. Highest I have ever seen in a restaurant. I think this restaurant just came off our list of favorites.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 27, 2016

We have been here several times and usually love it but the service was extremely slow, almost 2 hours for our entries to come out. So disappointing.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service1
value3

 
 (Key West)·Dined on December 27, 2016

We were very excited for our visit to Cantinetta Luca and got off to a great start, but when the waiter made a mistake with our order and did not bring two dishes it went down hill. Not only did they try to give us part of the entree till the other part was ready, they were still not giving us the order correctly. We understand a mistake can happen and asked them to please bring us the food as ordered, it was simply a regular dish with a side a la carte, they continued to delay then tried to charge us for two other side orders that we never got. The service is not what you expect.

Tags: Wood Oven, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 25, 2016

Slow service, our waiter talking over my shoulder and hard to hear, while table next to us had a server/sommelier who had his butt in my face all the time. That party (4)came in after us and were out (with wine opening, too) before we got our entres. Salads were great, main courses were standard. If the main course was going to take extra time, I was not aware of that.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 23, 2016

One of my favorite restaurants in Carmel. Everything here is delicious and the wine selection is awesome!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 20, 2016

Great spot for fine Italian food in a warm atmosphere.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on December 16, 2016

Luca continues to exceed expectations with their ever changing menu designed to please the palate and eyes. I typically choose the daily fish while my wife is stuck on the various ravioli creations. The pasta is equally great. The help is courteous and friendly and the wine list will pass every test.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on December 14, 2016

I liked it all EXCEPT the tables are too close together. Just WAY to close together. I dont like that it is so impersonal to hear and be heard by everyone surrounding you. It made me very uncomfortable, so I wont be returning, in spite of the good food.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience1
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 11, 2016

Food was quite good but service was both slow and uninspired. Our server didn't know what drink I had ordered and I had to tell him the ingredients as well as how to make it. He also did a poor job explaining dishes as well as the specials. I felt the food was a bit overpriced for the portions on the pasta while the appetizers where an excellent value. Would recommend for anyone that wants good quality food but can not recommend the service.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 9, 2016

We come for the Celebration of the Pig weekend every year. This year did not disappoint. We also celebrated my wife's 50th birthday and they surprised her with a tiramisu with a candle in it. We were worried with the change in Chef that the food might have suffered, but it was as high quality and flavor as always. We always recommend Luca to our friends and family who come to visit. Brava!

Tags: Wood Oven, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Open Kitchen, Organic, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 8, 2016

Excellent gnocchi and fine Italian wine list.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Miami)·Dined on December 6, 2016

we went for our ten year anniversary. service and food were oustanding. Salad made with Brandy was phenomenal. we had a lovely evening.

Tags: Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 3, 2016

Food was great! This is a go-to spot before an event at Sunset Center. Only complaint might be they did not sense our urgency, even though we told staff when we sat.

The butternut squash sup was seasonally perfect. Same for the pumpkin ravioli.

The short rib was so yummy, I would recommend it again and again. Nice work!

(Still wondering about news reports 6-9 months ago that the restaurant and menu were going to be given a makeover, but nothing has happened...)

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 1, 2016

My friends and I love this place. Great food, wonderful service, and local. Perfect.

Tags: Casual, Creative Cuisine, Comfort Food, Fun, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 30, 2016

The Florentine Steak is to die for; better than what I had in Florence! Will return for sure.

Tags: Romantic, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 24, 2016

Great place!!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 22, 2016

Kitchen was backed up and service was very slow

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 20, 2016

Had a great evening on Saturday - food, service everything was perfect. Would love to go back

Tags: Great Beer, Business Meals, Family Style, Good for a Date, Great for Lunch, Authentic, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Modern Decor, Romantic, Good for Groups
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 18, 2016

Did not care for any of the food which was surprising but compared to other places in Carmel that delicious this place unfortunately didn't impress. Lovely inside but just thought the food was bad.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value1

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 13, 2016

Employees could be friendlier. Food could also be improved to match the price level.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 8, 2016

Great food, service and comfortable. Good variety of dishes and consistently great execution of food quality and service.

Tags: Authentic, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Fargo)·Dined on November 6, 2016

Great food and good service ! Liked the ambience at the restaurant as well .

Tags: Comfort Food, Cozy, Romantic, Notable Wine List
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food1
ambience3
service1
value5

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on November 5, 2016

When you order a porterhouse and there are multiple options and you get none offered to you, its a bit of a shock that it costs $125 dollars when the next most expensive is $29....

Just a heads up would have been appropriate.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4

Report this review as inappropriate?

If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.