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  • Cantinetta Luca

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Cantinetta Luca
Cantinetta Luca

Cantinetta Luca Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.cantinettaluca.com
  • Phone: (831) 625-6500
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Sunday - Thursday from 5 to 9 pm, Friday - Saturday from 5 to 9:30 pm | Lunch: Saturday - Sunday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Steak, Pizzeria
  • Executive Chef: Jason Balestrieri
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Please e-mail us with your inquiries to events@cantinettaluca.com
  • Private Party Facilities: Wine Room: Beautiful Brick Ceiling Dining Room that can accommodate up to 45 guests.
  • Private Party Contact: Amanda Gospodnetich (831) 625-6500
  • Special Events & Promotions: Please e-mail us with your inquiries to events@cantinettaluca.com

Getting there

  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: In the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, all parking is street access.
A word from Cantinetta Luca
The menu offers casual dining, featuring items such as delicious pizza, baked in an authentic, Italian, no gas, wood-burning pizza oven. Luca also specializes in antipasti, a dozen or so varieties of salumis and handmade pasta. Whole fish and roasted meats are served family style. All of the presentations are simple and rustic; food prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients to bring out bold flavors. The executive chef is Jason Balestrieri who worked under Joachim Splichal at Patina, the famed Los Angeles restaurant. The interior decor of Cantinetta Luca is antique/modern, inspired by the old refurbished buildings of Italy. The design is a blend of stone, brick and glass, chiseled wood and bright Italian colors. The decor features a barrel vaulted ceiling, brick and chiseled beams contrasted by superb contemporary furnishings and modern lighting all set off by rich colors and textures. Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "we were there 3.5 years ago and had a wonderful meal. Upon returning we found they must be resting on their laurels. Both pasta dishes were tasteless. I had to ask for olive oil to help separate my cold pasta special which must have been sitting for awhile after it was taken out of the water. My husband's bolognese was tasteless as well. Waiter never asked if we were ok. didn't see him until he wanted us to order more."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "We had a wonderful meal on our first night in Carmel. The dining room is bustling and cozy. Our table shared salads, carpaccio and enjoyed traditional bolognese, fish and chicken entrees. Everything was delicious with attentive service. We will definitely be back on our next trip to Carmel. Note: The window booth offers an intimate evening for your table, yet with the nearby energy of the bustling restaurant at ear's distance."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "We had eaten here before and saw it's continuous good ratings but were very disappointed. Very poor service. Uninspired food. Good place for kids, of which there were a lot."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "Love the tarragon chicken! Luca's ingredients are tops. The bread was served warm, just the way we like it. The heirloom soup needed salt badly, but otherwise was light and clean. The seafood pasta needs some liquid. The pizzas are always delicious. Luca's not inexpensive, just be warned. We used the groupon for 10$ off each."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "This is a very cute restaurant with quite good food; it's worth a try. The pizza is not as good as other italian restaurants in Carmel but the fish and pasta dishes were very good."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "My sauce was a tad too salty, but still savory. The table arrangement was a very tight fit. I love community tables. ...I don't like tables 3 inches from each other. Romantic depending where you sit."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "Sat at a cozy hightop for two with views out the window into a pretty little garden. The interior of the restaurant was very inviting and played lovely European music. Enjoyed a fabulous dinner starting with fresh housemade prosciutto, followed by veal, beef and pork taglialtella (seemed like it surely had been simmered for hours), followed by a petite portion of a corn meal (polenta) cake with vanilla bean gelato and blueberries. My dining partner had three scoops of gelato for dessert (pistachio and vanilla bean). Loved the wines-mine was a Puglia Primitivo, his a Tuscan Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Favorite restaurant of our two week trip to California. Would definitely recommend it to anyone for either lunch or dinner. Surperb!"
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "Dear sir/madam This is the best in the world!!! Good food, reasonable price, good hospitality! I'm looking forward to seeing you in October from Japan. Dr.Masashi Saito"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Food was fresh, pasta cooked perfectly, the Artisan Salume is fantastic, all made in house. Very nice casual modern feel with five star meal."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "$30 for salmon??? Way too high especially when it's good but not great. Pasta dishes were more aptly priced. Dessert was the highlight of the meal. The tiramisu and gelato were both excellent and reasonably priced."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "We went to Luca not once but twice during our stay in Carmel that's how much we loved it. We started with the insalata mista and caprice . Both were fresh from farmers market. The home made pasta melted in your mouth. Wine selection was almost too good -anything you could want they gad. Service was not only fast but knowledgable and sincere. I would go back again and again."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Tables are too close. Food came out cold. Sent back and received it hot and dried out. We had to ask for bread while others received it automatically and we received only 1/3 a loaf. I presume it was leftover from a previous diner. Themanagement avoided us like the plague to discuss my concerns. I doubt we'l return."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "Went with a bunch of friends and the table was much too small. Everybody was cramped. Food was OK but the noise was loud and unpleasant"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "I visit Carmel once or twice each year and so have some familiarity with its restaurants. Somehow, I had overlooked Cantinetta Luca in the past. My dinner here was very good, and the overall experience great. I shall certaintly return in the future."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Nice Fresh Pasta and Pizza..Made both adults and kids happy"
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "Very good food - service a little slow with full restaurant"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "This was our first time here and recommened by a family member. It was a special night for 8 adults. 3 folks ordered steaks. One was $78 and the other two were $62 each. The most expensive I have ever paid for but okay. The real issue was we came at 5 pm when they opened to get good service. They took over 1 hour to serve us and said it was the time to cook steaks. I know how long a steak takes to cook and it is not 1 hour. I will never return as the bill was so expensive and very over priced even for Carmel. Go somewhere else or just go and share a pizza."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Unexpected service and food choices. This was certainly a good surprise for our recent visit to Carmel. We found it on the Urban Spoon app and enjoyed the attentive service, friendly casual atmosphere and the food was excellent. We will make this a staple in our Carmel experience !"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "we came in for lunch at 3pm, and the place was hopping. the reduced menu for lunch made it easy to order and they delivered the food promptly. execellent food and a good alternative to chain italian eatery down the block."
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "The best yet and we have been going for 8 years since it opened - great staff who remember us from previous visits. Ray, the Somelier, is fantastic and we just let him choose our wines and the menu continues to get better and better. Our total favorite is the Burrata for appetizer and loved the Arugula, beet, pistacio and aged goat cheese salad with citrus dressing - so good that we went back 2 days later and had it for lunch!"
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "The tables along the left wall are within inches of each other. The waitress took us to a table that was about 2 to 3 inches from the next one. The other side was about 12 inches. We elected to sit at the bar. The tables in the window and alone the other wall were better. Having reservations did not help. We did see a couple texting during dinner. Maybe they were texting each other."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "Its our 8th time for dinner. We haven't had a bad meal yet. The salad was drenched in oil. This was the only negative. The waitress promptly removed it from the bill. The ricotta cake for dessert is to die for. The menu changes slightly, keeping us interested. The pasta dishes are all tasty. The seating isn't great if you get stuck along the wall. Simply too close to the next table. My son loves the pizza. "
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "We came about an 1 hr earlier then our reservations and they accommodated us very nicely. Great service, good wine, and good food"
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "Generally good food, but modest portions, and, we thought, overpriced. Service was very friendly, but incredibly slow. We sat down at 7:15 and didn't get our entrees until 8:45 though, to be fair, our two appetizers and two salads came within a reasonable time; it was the long gap in-between that was patience-testing. This was on a Thursday night and the restaurant was far from full. And while the food itself was well-prepared and served hot, portions were modest. The all-Italian wine list is very good, but, in retrospect, should have just ordered pizza and wine. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "Apesar de bonitinho não vale a pena. Se for de qualquer jeito, opte pelo salmão."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "My wife and I ate in Cantinetta Luca for dinner on 5-10-14. We were celebrating a wedding anniversary. We had requested an intimate table. Did not get one. We found the food to be excellent but the service was not what we were expecting. The waiter was not personable and left our experience disappointing. We felt as if we were being rushed to finish to make room for other customers. I am not sure I would recommend this restaurant as there are many fine ones in the Carmel/Monterey Area. The wait persons could use some training in customer service so that the service equals the food."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Homemade pasta was great but there were only a few clams. "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Reading the reviews on Open Table about this restaurant, I thought I was in a different place - except for the service which was really wonderful. Perhaps we tried the "wrong" dishes to do it justice. We found exceptionally, unexpectedly spicy (Vongole appetizer - tears were literally running down our faces) to exceptionally bland (gnocchi pasta). We had an early light dinner so only had two courses - the insalata misti was fine, but again rather bland and the pasta with mussels and clams had a kick as well - finely diced very spicy salami was added to the sauce. Not your grandmothers Italian restaurant. "
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "Cantinetta Luca exceeded our expectations on every level. The bread with TAPENADE (the chef's own creation - yum) was a delicious way to start. The salad was crisp and perfectly dressed with just the right amount of cheese sprinkled over. I had the grilled prawns and thought they were excellent. Loved the 'bean salad' they were served on. My husband had the salmon and thought it was as good as any he had ever had. Good beer, good wine, fabulous bread/cheese sticks at the bar. It is our new favorite Carmel resto."
    Dined on 5/6/2014
  • "The food is made from local, fresh ingredients. It is obvious that time goes into each dish. It can be a bit chaotic and noisy if you're looking for peaceful. The food servers need to learn to present the correct dish to each person, instead of guessing. Luca is not cheap. The dishes are not super-sized. Tip= Our salads were drowning in oil. Ask them to go lighter. "
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Eating at Cantinetta took us back to memories of great meals in Tuscany. Wonderful cured meats, some cured at Luca Deli next door. Baratta cheese to die for. Fantastic Tagliatelli in creamy tuscan sauce with pork, lamb and beef. Fantastic wood fired pizza, crust filled with home mozzarella. The tuscan style steaks served in cast iron could not have tasted better or more authentic. Top this all off with a grand Boroloor or Brunello from the list of 500 Italian wines. If you are anywhere near Carmel in the future, make the trip just to dine at Cantinetta Luca! We cant wait to go back."
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "I thought I was in Italy: the house-made Salume couldn't be any better in a small trattoria somewhere in the Piedmont-region! The braised short-rib set a new standard hard to beat for any Brasato all Barolo: tender, with a rich wine reduction full of flavour, tasty - a perfect match for the Barbera we drank with it. The service was a little slow, but very friendly."
    Dined on 4/21/2014
  • "I loved the food, the waiter was greAt, but it was too noisy. Open table wouldn't let me use four bars"
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "We always enjoy this place when we come to the Peninsula. It is charming, fun, and the staff knowledgeable and eager to please. Food is always extraordinary with wide variety, but not an overwhelming menu. You will not be disappointed! "
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "We come here every time we're in Carmel. Love everything on the menu and the service could not be more accommodating. "
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "This was our second time eating here, The first time we were a group of 6 and were seated in the back. This time we were only two and were wedged between two other tables near the front door.. Both times the food and service were awesome but it was very noisy. It is definitely a neighborhood hot spot so if you want a quiet experience, I would try lunch or the earliest dinner reservation offered."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "The waiters/waitresses were all great, especially with our 17 month old son, including the multiple times he dropped something on the floor and they were quicker than me or my wife to retrieve it. Food? Delicious. The descriptions, especially of the pizzas, did not do the food justice. Honestly, they need a new name for their pizza creations."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We sat at the bar for dinner during a weekday. Service was awesome. Our food was very tasty. Wine paired well with each course. We will definitely be coming back!"
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "Good food. Out table wasn't ready so we took one by the bar. The bartender was our server. It is therefore difficult to evaluate the restaurant accurately."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "This is a favorite place. Service was way off, but all else was why it is a favorite!"
    Dined on 3/31/2014