Cantinetta Luca
Cantinetta Luca

Cantinetta Luca

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.cantinettaluca.com/
  • Phone: 8316256500
  • 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: Steak, Italian, 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 8316256500
  • Special Events: 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.
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Cantinetta Luca reviews from OpenTable diners
111 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.3
    Service4
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (52)fit for foodies (51)notable wine list (36)special occasion (34)romantic (32)hot spot (20)good for groups (18)vibrant bar scene (11)kid-friendly (10)great for lunch (8)late-night find (6)great for outdoor dining (1)scenic view (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Carmel gem
    PatrVIP
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    We always enjoy visiting Luca....a special place with superb food and attentive staff!
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fellinni says YES
    HaroldVIP
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    This is a wonderful Warm delicious fresh gracious comfortable experience!! One of the best in Carmel! Fellinni would be happy here as it holds imagination and fun and surprise. What a lovely restaurant!!! Its near but not on the more commercial Ocean avenue on a beautiful tree shade street . THE PASTA IS HAND MADE the salads are generous and fresh and sparkling the meat is rich and cooked just right the wines have Great Italian opportunities and the service is kind and talented... It's all good .....
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Odd Seating
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    While the food itself was quite good, Luca has two challenges. The time it took between courses was excessive so the pacing of the meal was off. And we were there when it wasn't very busy, so this was likely a communication challenge between waitperson and kitchen. The second problem is the table setup. The two of us were seated at what I thought was a table for four, only to have another party seated right next to us (even though there were plenty of open tables in the place). The people next to us were so close that there was the occasional bumping, overheard conversations, and shared discussion about how awkward the situation was. Not sure given the setup of the tables that this could even be fixed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    One of the best restaurants in Carmel. Food and service outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not Blown Away
    rudyVIP
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    We've eaten there several times. The menu has not really changed, except the prices look like they went up? The waiters don't really connnect to us, but are competent. The entrees take too long to come out, with us losing interest in the dining experience. The back room was empty, so it wasn't a matter of a full house. there was a chef cooking on the line, so we forgave this slightly. We only ordered pastas, so not sure why we waited forever. The salad did come quickly. We suggest they add something new to spice the place up. How about a lasagna, basil pesto pasta with pinenutes, canneloni, arrabiata sauce, etc.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Overall experience
    texfoodies
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Lucca host, possibly the manager was very unfriendly. However, our waiter who had just moved to California from Philadelphia was extremely nice. The food was good but not great. I got the impression that they were known more for their pizzas. I got the salmon, and my husband got the prawns. For the price I wouldn't go back. A little too pretentious for our taste.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • wonderful family dining
    MiswuVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Great ambience for family dining. Firendly service with authentic italian cusine. Inhouse Salami room was wonderful. Will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Favorite Spot in Carmel
    CLGCAVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    This is our favorite spot in Carmel - they have pizza and pasta for the kids yet more sophisticated offerings for adult palates and delicious wine choices. The pasta is unbelievably delicious! Friendly and courteous service always.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • nonameVIP
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    We have dined at CL a few times and did not feel it was as good as previously. Everything was ok but not great. The pasta could have been hotter, but did not send it back. It is nice that they have such an extensive wine list of exclusively Italian wine but this is California. It would seem reasonable to have a few local Monterey Peninsula wines available.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Average
    Soon
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Speghetti pasta was nothing special, lacking in flavor, it almost had a hint of bubble gum flavor. Meatball appetizer and salami were good. Tiramisu and gelato ice cream delicious. It seemed like the desserts were larger portions then main course. Overall, average but friendly hostess and wait staff
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Senior Couple
    RayG
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    We thought the corkage fee of $25 was a little much even for Carmel.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Changing Things
    AzGuy
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    We've always enjoyed Cantinetta Luca in the past. Spending month in Carmel each year it was a go to place 2x week. We expect the loud atmosphere but the changes seem to be in a shortened menu and a drop in food quality and service. Since we started our visit after the Concourse it was not crowded bit yet those 2 factors turned us off. From loving a place to tolerating it was a downer.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently good
    Lulu
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I am always pleased with the quality of the food and service. My party enjoyed the delicious Tbone steak--large enough for 2 to share.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place! Quiet night ruined
    Chuck
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Overall the food, service and decor were wonderful, but as frequently can be the case a group of 10 forgot they weren't alone in the restaurant and were carrying on. So much so, that I had trouble talking with my wife across the table. The couple next to them was invisible to their cackling and probably should have been reseated. I would recommended the restaurant to anyone, but if I want quiet I would try to sit up front.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cantinetta Luca
    MegCVIP
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    Although the food was very good, the hostess on Monday night was so snippy that it took away from the experience. I asked for a high top table and she curtly responded that there was a request for that table. She knew we were not happy with the table that she sat us at which was right next to her stand. Another high top table opened and instead of coming to ask us if we would like it, she gave it to two women who walked in without a reservation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Susette
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Our meals were excellent, service ok? No bread was offered and the meal was slow, but worth while
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Luca - Very Good but Noisy
    EDBPAVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Four of us had dinner at Luca on a Sunday night recently. We were seated in the back room. The food and service were very good, but the noise level detracted considerably from the dining experience. We could hardly hear each other speak during the meal, and this became much worse as the room filled with diners. My friends were put off by the excessive noise to the point of saying they would not return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great fun, delicious food
    AbuelitaL
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Good attention from staff, good help in choosing wine, lively atmosphere, terrific dinner
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service Miss
    FoodIndustryProVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Service is usually adequate at this place, but on this night it seemed like they were possibly short staffed and / or inexperienced staff. Food was OK though.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Was so good that we can't wait to go back . my husband love that thing were made fresh.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, only Italian wines
    Whity3
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We thoroughly enjoyed the dinner once it came. We sat down for 15 minutes before we were greeted. When we were greeted without water by our server he rushed through the specials to the point my fiance and I were unsure of what he said and said he would be back....15 minutes later another amazing server who used to serve us at the sister restaurant Aubergine helped us. He was amazing and made up for the other server. We were ready to walk out but he made it better. Still a very busy restaurant and they have too many tables so the quality of service lacks. No waiting area so people crowd you if you are seated at the front and the tables are VERY VERY close together. No intimate conversations here.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Favorite!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Best Italian in Carmel these days! Casanova is wonderful, but Cantinetta is amazing! Get a meat/cheese selection as your deciding on dinner. We like to order family style.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not what I expected
    CbellaVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    One thing that drew me to the restaurant was what I thought would be the option to order steak by the ounce. Not so, they have pre-determined sizes of the steak- 24, 26, or 28 - which are not actually posted on the menu but they have the price per ounce of 2.80. It is a bit deceptive. Would be better to just say that a ny strip is $56. On top of it after we had our heart set on steak and decided to go for it, the steak we were served was not that tender. My guess is that we should have opted for a pizza or pasta!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food for a romantic dinner
    MariK
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Try the pastas, they are fresh made and delicious.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice dinner
    mariocosta
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Very nice food, very good service. Ambient is cosy and friendly. The Lamb was very nice, escorted by an awesome polenta. Would come back and recommend.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • High Level Italian
    richie
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    This place is better than an initial read of the menu might suggest. The all-Italian wine list (a brave thing to do in California) is truly exceptional. The warm olice appetizer sounded boring but tasted great. The salumi selection was excellent. The eggplant special app was just OK. Pastas were great, grilled prawns even greater. Service was slow but otherwise very professional and friendly. Overall a very nice casual dining spot doing modern Italian at a high level.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Gets loud but taste great
    Gema
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    The best place in this restaurant is in the back with the wine. The service is ok, sometimes it's hit and miss, but for the most part they do their best to meet your needs. The food is always good, as it keeps me coming back. I always come here when in town and I always recommend it when others are in town.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • mike s
    Weebeastie
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Very authentic italian food. Very good menu with a good variety of choice. Wine list is all italian. They offered great wine advise.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    DBICHON
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    This was our first visit to Cantinetta Luca though we have eaten next door at their Salumeria many times.The service was extraordinary , polite, efficient and attentive.They gave us the window seat, which was fabulous. Their wines were great , but really expensive.i liked their beet arugula salad but felt it was a bit bland.Their house made gnocchi was lovely, pillowy pasta with fresh corn, squash and pesto.Really delicious.Their Tiramiso was not as good as I had hoped, it needed more Kalua flavors.overall, I would definetly go again and it was a great evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great meal!!
    Love2eat
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    We always stop here for dinner when in Carmel! Try the pork meatball appetizer! It is incredible!! We also like the. Name because one if our Golden's is named LUCCA after the walled city in Italy!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    fredhin
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Excellent food, excellent service - friendly, professional staff. I don't know Italian wine so asked for recommendation. Excellent choice below the dollar limit I set. Pasta dish was one of best I have had, chicken rosemary was outstanding and the deserts were really good. I highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fabulous Again
    rudyVIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Consistently fresh food. Great service, fun vibe. The chicken is tops, just likr Grandma's.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Delicious Italian in Carmel
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    This wonderful restaurant was recommended by some friends and it did not disappoint. Fantastic Italian food with excellent service. Hope to return to Carmel again and dine at Luca.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Carmel Gem fit for a foodie
    GinoVIP
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Love Love Love this place!!! The burrata is amazing. I love this place so much I drove all the way from marin county to enjoy a wonderful meal.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great restaurant
    Fvcastro
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Good food, good wine, good service. I recomend! Especially the appetizer "burrata". Delicious!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italian charmer in Carmel
    dinerdeliteVIP
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    We were in Carmel for the Bach Festival and enjoyed a delicious salad, lamb shanks and a side of spinach, all of it very good. We'll be back!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • return visit disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious Italian
    JennVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Doesn't live up to reviews.
    JenandEric
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Still in Love
    rudyVIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet