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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Cantinetta Luca reviews from OpenTable diners
123 reviews since July 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.2
    Service4
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (65)neighborhood gem (53)special occasion (42)notable wine list (42)romantic (34)good for groups (26)hot spot (22)kid-friendly (13)vibrant bar scene (13)great for lunch (7)late-night find (7)great for outdoor dining (1)scenic view (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    Most enjoyable. Always love their pasta dishes and salumi plate.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tablecloths?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Add white linen tablecloths and your done. Turns the atmosphere to 5 stars.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • House made pancetta
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Food here was so good! Right down to the bread sticks! In most cases though, tables very close together; almost feels like communal dining.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • CAHANSON
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    We always enjoy Cantinetta Luca, great food and service. A very friendly atmosphere and great staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Come for the food!
    tennisman35
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    The food is the main attraction at Cantinetta Luca; certainly not the ambiance as the restaurant is very noisy and makes conversation difficult. The tables are close together and you could readily sample things on the tables nearby. However, the food is excellent, which is the reason for eating here in the first place. The specials are always interesting and well-prepared; if a bit pricey. The service was very good and our server responded well to our requests for pacing the meal. Overall, this is a good place for dining.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A winner.
    SunriverSteve
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Great food, good service. Very busy and quite noisy but excellent food and service make this place very worthwhile.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JumF
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Have been dining at Luca for years. Never disappointed. Did a great job celebrating my friend's birthday too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Travelcouple
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    Good food. Great wine. But they charged the price of a bottle for two glasses of sparkling wine. Unfair.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Needs Refresher
    rudyVIP
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    The menu is old for those of us that frequent. The special, Puttanesca, was fantastic ( ordered with no shrimp). The caprese salad was a huge disppointment- old sliced tomato with spots, jagged cut cheese, NO salt or vinegar. Looked and tasted like a salad I would throw together at home. The back room is way too loud. Can't hear each other speak. My kids love the pizza. The wait staff are friendly, but appear rushed. They don't really check back to see if all is well. For the prices, we expect better.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great spot in Carmel
    Latrava
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Went to dinner with a friend on a Sunday early evening. Easy to get reservations for that day and time but this restaurant is often packed, so plan ahead expecially on a weekend. Interesting and different specials and good food. Service was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent, unique wine list.
    Susan
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    With a sommelier to help and reasonable prices. Fabulous finishes on the decor. Traditional food served with a twist.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not The Best
    Sicilia
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    I always look for ward to dine at Luca but not this time. The food was just ok not up to its usual standards. Had given a gift certificate to a friend for a special birthday and we were asked to join he and his wife for dinner since they had never been to the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    Foodie
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    Had dined here before with friends. Somehow our order for dinner became lost "technical glitch" and we waited over an hour for the food. The waiter took the cost of the appetizers off but it made the evening far too long. Food, when it came, was just mediocre instead of being good.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • It didn't happen
    Travellover
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    I made a reservation for 8:30 p.m but since I was in front of the restaurant at 4 P.M and met a message fixed at its door warning that in that day the restaurant would be closed , me and my husband decided to confirm it. Even though the doors of Cantinetta Luca were closed, there was a man and a woman working inside the restaurant. We kindly knocked at the door and both seemed to ignore us. As we insisted, the man stared at us and we asked if the restaurant would open. He just gesticulated very unkindly and we decided not to come back. Not that day nor never.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • 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!
    PrettyInPink
    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