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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

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.2

ambience

4.1

value

3.8

noise

Moderate

81% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (17)
Neighborhood Gem (16)
Special Occasion (13)
See All
Wood Oven (12)
Comfort Food (11)
Authentic (10)
Casual (10)
Romantic (10)
Creative Cuisine (10)
Bar Seating (10)
Cozy (9)
Worth the Drive (9)
Fit for Foodies (9)
Good for Anniversaries (8)
Modern Decor (7)
Good for Groups (7)
Good for Birthdays (7)
Quiet Conversation (6)
Open Kitchen (6)
Notable Wine List (6)
Fun (5)
Healthy (4)
Vibrant Bar Scene (4)
Family Style (4)
Business Meals (4)
Kid-friendly (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Tasting Menu (3)
Late-night Find (3)
Great for Lunch (3)
Local Ingredients (3)
Happy Hour (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Tapas (2)
Disabled Access (2)
People Watching (1)
Private Room (1)
Organic (1)
Outstanding Value (1)
Handcrafted Cocktails (1)
Seasonal (1)
Pre/post Theatre (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
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1332 reviews
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Once upon a time our favorite Carmel place to eat. Last two times very disappointing. Overpriced very ordinary food and rediculously overpriced not correctly prepared cocktails. Would never go again.

Tags: Disabled Access
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food2
ambience1
service3
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 14, 2017

I was hoping for a few Mother's Day specials but it was the regular menu. The salad was very fresh and a nice portion, as was the pizza my husband ordered. The flavor of the pizza (homemade sausage) didn't shine through but it still tasted good. The lentil soup was about the same. I would have preferred it to be a bit warmer as it was only lukewarm. Service was good. Our server let me try two red wines though I only asked to try one.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Healthy, Good Vegetarian Options, Bar Seating, Family Style
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Tallahassee)·Dined on May 8, 2017

Was not impressed! The food had very little flavor.

Tags: Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on April 30, 2017

One of the best in Carmel. My favorite Italian restaurant.

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

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 29, 2017

Birthday dinner for me as the city of Monterey was packed out. Portion size not great compared to the prices listed but the food was definitely tasty. The service is spot on so that was the highlight of the meal. Easy to park and quiet ambiance.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value2

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

The meal and service were both outstanding. No surprise there since we are regulars and certainly hold Cantinetta Luca in high regard. Nice selection of wines, and each course was perfectly timed so we didn't feel rushed in any way. It's always good to get to Luca - they never disappoint.

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

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

Great pasta and fun atmosphere.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

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

This was a 'thank you' dinner for friends/former co-workers while I was on vacation. Lovely ambiance. Friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Great menu selections for those who do not eat meat.

Tags: Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Comfort Food, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Modern Decor
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 22, 2017

We had a great lunch and cocktails. I ordered the hamburger which was delicious and my husband ordered the caprese panini which he loved. We had a expresso and the BEST tiramisu ever!
My only issue was that we booked our reservation on Open Table with a 2:45 reservation. The restaurant called us at 2:00 telling us that they actually close at 3:00 and could we arrive sooner.
Why would the restaurant allow reservations at 2:45 if they know their closing time is 3:00 ?

Tags: Wood Oven, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 22, 2017

Minimal menu. Not enough choices. Only one bread served before lunch meal. Nothing special about the food.

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food2
ambience2
service3
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 22, 2017

7 people in Carmel for the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival - all of us are in hospitality management for wineries. The inhospitable treatment began immediately, the offenses so many, I will bullet point:
- Upon arrival, we were told we could not be seated because they didn't have enough menus.
- Being in the industry, we brought wine, fully expecting to order from the list as well, and pay some corkage. We were told they only allowed 2 bottles per table to be brought in. We are a party of 7, not 2 or 4, but 7.
- A while after receiving our appetizers, we noticed our server had not been back to take our dinner orders. I got his attention and asked if we could order, to which he replied in a very sarcastic tone, " I've been waiting for YOU."
-Upon clearing the appetizer plates, a buser/server spilled an entire glass of wine on our table. It was completely ignored as if it never happened.
-When paying the check, we asked if we could have several credit cards run, they limited us to 3. By this time we were so horrified by the shabby treatment, we made quite an argument for allowing one more card to which they acquiesced.
Being in hospitality management, we all felt like we were in a bad dream; nothing redeeming happened at that restaurant for us. Unfortunately for them, the 30%+ tip we usually leave, in addition to the tip that would have been left on the much more expensive bottles we brought in as opposed to what we were forced to buy, was not an option after the horrific treatment we received. 7 independent bad reviews . . . word of mouth . . . not a good thing.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value1

 
 (San Antonio)·Dined on April 22, 2017

The food and atmosphere were good. Although they sat us in the back room next to a large group of 20. The noise level was so loud we couldn't hear our friends talk.

If you go sit in the front room.

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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

vip
 (Seattle)·Dined on April 20, 2017

Last minute change from a $250 ea. Trade show dinner @ Monterey Aquarium. Great decision. Terrific service, had the special "NY strip" and the entire experience was 1st rate.
Highly recommend.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 16, 2017

Food was good but service was terrible. Never got our wine with our meal and when we inquired, we received a "sorry". Won't go back and won't recommend. A shame because the food was great.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience1
service1
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 16, 2017

Love this restaurant. Always consistent.

Tags: Wood Oven, Comfort Food
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 10, 2017

The staff was off tonight. The appetizers: arancini and olives were delicious. The margherita pizza, the most classic of classic pizzas - was off. So too was the swordfish - it was over-cooked. The squid ink pasta was beautifully executed. The service was good, but slow - and not like before. Tonight was just average.

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food2
ambience4
service3
value2

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on April 10, 2017

I don't know.....Luca ditched the new steakhouse concept and returned to original menu. Something is missing still. The menu is small and the food takes a really long time to come. They charge for bread now. Really? Feels greedy. The food is already priced high. Our dishes were good but forgettable. The staff all look new. The hostess was clearly not hospitable. Very cold. Luca messed with something that worked. Now it's lost its soul. Thank goodness for the tourist and good busy street, or they would be done.

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food4
ambience3
service4
value2

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on April 9, 2017

One of our all- time favorite restaurants! We have been patrons since it opened, drawn back by the outstanding quality of the authentic cuisine, seasonal offerings and fine wine list!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 9, 2017

We had a very nice dinner celebrating our son & daughter in law's 1st anniversary. They shared the steak florintine & loved it. We had other steaks which were very good also. We shared some sides which were delicious. Everything was very nice. Service was great.

Tags: Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Open Kitchen, Worth the Drive, Organic, Neighborhood Gem, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 9, 2017

We started with the octopus appetizer..which was outstanding ! The squid ink pasta and calzone pizza were beyond delicious and fresh. The service was also perfect and so pleasant. This is not our first meal here and won't be our last, it just keeps getting better with each visit!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 8, 2017

Excellent food. Ate at the bar and the service was so- so. She was not very friendly nor was she attentive, she didn't even ask us how our food was after we had been served. But the food is so great here so I would come back again but sit in the dining room for sure next time.

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food5
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on April 5, 2017

We had a delightful waitress. Food was good and we were able to have conversation even though restaurant was crowded. Nice atmosphere.

Tags: Late-night Find, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Lunch, Cozy, Authentic, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Family Style, Private Room, Modern Decor, Open Kitchen, Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Worth the Drive, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on April 2, 2017

Limited servers so service was very slow. Took 15 minutes to get a drinks order taken. My husband couldn't eat the squid ink pasta because every bite was like a clove of garlic doused in lemon that stripped the roof of his mouth off. My bolognese was tasty if not a little undercooked (firmer than al dente).

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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 2, 2017

Always superb. The salumi and the burrata are the best start to a fabulous meal to come. The bistecca is as good as any I've had in Italy. The fish is always impeccably fresh. The asparagus was incredibly sweet. As always, the service was spot-on attentive.

Tags: Comfort Food, Business Meals, Fun, Open Kitchen, Hot Spot, Bar Seating, Worth the Drive, Vibrant Bar Scene, Kid-friendly, Romantic, People Watching, Great for Lunch, Wood Oven, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 31, 2017

Outstanding dining experience for four of us on a Thursday night. Primary server was friendly, knowledgeable about the menu items, observant for our needs and responsive. Salume with burrata (server recommended pairing) was a great starter. Pastas were all outstanding, as was my special NY steak, done to perfection. Desserts out of this world. Booth was a little small, one entree was served later than the others but otherwise a perfect evening.

Tags: Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Anchorage)·Dined on March 30, 2017

Solid food and amazing service!!

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Sacramento)·Dined on March 26, 2017

Service waned when we ordered a minimalist dinner.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

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

Have dined here over twenty times for lunches and dinners. Am very happy they have returned to a more approachable menu of interesting and very tasty Italian dinners. Their wood fired oven produces excellent pizzas. Definitely enjoy the house cured salume platters. Great fun to share. Try the pork meatballs in sugo. Larger plates include a delicious grilled rib eye. Also locally caught, wild fish selections . We like going as a couple or with friends when we can share more dishes. We go to Luca for both casual dinners and more festive occasions. It's a beautiful room in the front and a fun bar area with a community table. We like the high tops along the windows. Other good choices are the booths by the windows or the chef's table.

Tags: Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Wood Oven
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 20, 2017

Excellent food, corkage however is ridiculous at $35.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on March 20, 2017

My family stopped by for an early dinner on the way to the airport, it couldn't have been a better decision. Our pasta dishes were of quality and right proportioned. The flavors were full and fresh and didn't overpower the freshness of the pasta. Wine selection was slanted to the Italian genre but the choices we made by the glass were delicious.
Service was very good and we will definetly return.
Thank you Luca!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (New Mexico)·Dined on March 15, 2017

Thoroughly delightful.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on March 14, 2017

Our fav restaurant in Carmel. Salumi & burrata great appetizers. Pasta bolognese incredibly flavorful.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on March 12, 2017

While traveling around for the weekend from the East coast, I brought a friend here for dinner as I have dined here several times over the last few visits to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Unfortunately, I will move on to newer places to try. Food was good, but not fantastic and the service average and not that attentive or special. The decor is modern and energetic, but I'm ready to try something new. Overall, good, but really doesn't care about the traveling customer because they probably feel they won't see them again… that's the feeling I got !! Wrong approach to running a successful business. Every paying client should be treated WELL !! Word of mouth is the best advertisement.

Tags: Good for a Date, Wood Oven, Modern Decor, Bar Seating, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Casual, Kid-friendly
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food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 12, 2017

Overall the restaurant is quite good and we would return and recommend it to others.
Two things detracted from the overall experience. First, the young woman who was the host at the front of the restaurant seemed pretty clueless and was not welcoming at all. Fortunately, our waiter was terrific. The food was excellent. Second, the wine list is really split between a small number of wines that aren't that interesting under $60 and lots of good wines over $100. The restaurant could do a much better job of finding excellent wines in the $40-70 range.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 12, 2017

Great service and delicious food! The server was attentive, knowledgeable, and respectful. The food -- especially lamb chop -- was cooked and flavored incredibly well!

Tags: Casual, Good for a Date, Special Occasion
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on March 4, 2017

Corkage fee of $35 is very high. The food is excellent.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Wood Oven
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 26, 2017

We had a pleasant meal, however please be aware of their reservation cancellation policy. I made a same-day reservation and the site said I could cancel by 5 pm that day without penalty. I tried to cancel a few moments later and the Open Table app said I had to call the restaurant to cancel. When I did, I was told that there would be a $30 per person charge to cancel. I fully understand the need of restaurants to make sure parties honor their reservations, but this seemed very arbitrary to me, particularly when the Open Table app said that I had until 5 pm that day to cancel. Not sure if it is the restaurant or Open Table who is at fault here, but this was not a pleasant situation. Still, we had a good meal with excellent service.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

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

Great food!

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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.

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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
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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