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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

4.1

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.1

service

4.0

ambience

3.9

value

3.6

Noise

Moderate

80% would recommend it to a friend

Fit for Foodies (12)
Good for a Date (11)
Neighborhood Gem (11)
See All
Creative Cuisine (10)
Good for Anniversaries (10)
Special Occasion (10)
Romantic (9)
Casual (8)
Cozy (8)
Bar Seating (7)
Good for Groups (7)
Notable Wine List (7)
Comfort Food (7)
Authentic (6)
Local Ingredients (6)
Fun (5)
Good for Birthdays (4)
Worth the Drive (4)
Business Meals (3)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Tasting Menu (3)
People Watching (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Pre/post Theatre (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Tapas (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Hot Spot (1)
Great for Lunch (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
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1403 reviews
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 (Central Coast)·Dined 5 days ago

Great food

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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined 5 days ago

The food was great! We had the steak special that just melted in our mouths. It was 35 oz. and feed the 4 of us. We ordered sides to go with it and did family style at our table. It worked perfectly. We had two folks (waiter and head host) trying to serve us and they stepped over each other as one did not know what they other did or didn't do. One took half the drink order and did not return and the other did not so we had to then get him involved to bring the original order to us and take the other half of the order. I think they may have been too busy hence a bit off their game but friendly as can be. That was the only issue. Again food was fabulous and recommended wine by the waiter was superb.

Tags: Comfort Food, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 6, 2017

Great service and excellent food!!
Convenient location in Carmel village.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Casual
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Birmingham)·Dined on November 26, 2017

Cacio E Pepe was the best we have ever had!
We could have eaten two more orders!!!

Tags: Tapas, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 23, 2017

Our first time at this restaurant to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. We were a bit put off by reviews on Yelp, but decided to try it anyway. We were seated next to a large group. After seating, a group of 8 were seated next to us. We are wine lovers as well, but the patrons at both tables quickly became drunk and very loud. We were a family of four - with two daughters. Waitress was very nice - but service was SLOW. Received our meal almost 2 hours after being seated. The waitress clearly favored the large groups as their orders were consistently serviced and the table of 8 seated after us received their appetizers and meals before us. If we had not asked for our food - we would probably still be sitting their. The Flatbread appetizer was nothing more than a circle of baked pizza dough. White wine was room temp (warm). Entrees were good but could not make up for the overall bad experience.

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food3
ambience1
service1
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 18, 2017

There simply were no bad choices on the menu. The only quirk on the menu was their carppaccio. It's supposed to be a dish of raw beef but we got cured antipasto cured meat instead. It was tasty nonetheless.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Excellent food and wine. Noise level high - probably because we were a table of 2 in between a table of 6 and a table of about 8.👎🏼

Tags: Casual, Fun, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Everything was good, service was good, and food was good. It was a busy place.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 9, 2017

What a gem! The grilled meatball appetizer had amazing flavor. Cacio e Pepe was cooked to perfection. Loved the homemade pepperoni on the pizza. Even the homemade pistachio gelato was some of the best we ever had. Service was great. We will definitely be back!

Tags: Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 8, 2017

We started with a grilled shrimp appetizer with Fava type beans. It was good. For entrees we had the Short Ribs and thick spaghetti pasta in a white, peppery sauce (can't remember the name of it). The short ribs were good but the pasta was too peppery, but ate it anyway. For dessert we had the Pistachio Gelato - nothing special. Overall, the food was just ok - not something too unique or different. We both had a glass of Pinot Noir - ok, but quite pricey. The menu item descriptions on some of the dishes were hard to understand - had to have our server explain a lot of items on the menu. However, despite the mediocre food, we had very good service from the hostess (she moved us to a quiet, cozy window booth) and our servers and bussers were very attentive to our needs.

Tags: Cozy, Bar Seating
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food2
ambience5
service5
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 30, 2017

Great food, their famous Chicken was amazing and the side dishes not to be missed. In fact they were so good we ordered them all.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive, Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 28, 2017

After receiving a call to confirm my reservation, I proactively stopped by the restaurant to confirm in person. I had asked for a window table and was assured I would get one.

When I arrived a few minutes early for my reservation, I was told the table wasn’t available and if I wanted a window then it would be 30-40 minutes or longer. Clearly the table had been given away just before I arrived for my reservation time as the guests were just starting on their wine.

I asked the server for a menu recommendation
and was told I should order the fish entree. I wish I’d asked more questions because it arrived with both head and tail still attached. It was tasty once you scraped away the charred skin, but was not in the least appealing to look at.

Service was slow..,very slow....and when my server disappeared, right after my initial
order, I had to flag down another sever when I wanted a second glass of wine. Solo diners apparently aren’t worth attending to.
It would have been a totally disappointing experience but was somewhat redeemed by the coffee and dessert.

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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 28, 2017

Very, very good chicken. California Italian restaurant. Unusual stuff.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 25, 2017

I've eaten here 4 times in the last year and have not been disappointed.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 23, 2017

Excellent wines. Good vibes. Food uneven especially the pasta (inexcusable given the Italian menu). Fish excellent. Salami excellent. Cheeses good but poorly presented. Relatively expensive for what one got. Go for the wine and salami.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 21, 2017

Luca's food is consistently good. Never flashy or exceptional, just a decent meal at a decent price. Service tends to be slow but not a major issue. We go there often so it must be better than "okay" as there are a lot of dining options in Carmel.

Tags: Disabled Access, Good for Anniversaries, Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Casual, Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Excellent italian food (and a burrata appetizer that's one of the best I've ever had), plus their own homemade cured meats. Their bucatini cacio e pepe is wonderful (maybe a little under-salted), and the wine list is predictably wonderful. It's a little loud when it gets busy, and a little pricey, as well - then again, it IS Carmel.

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food5
ambience3
service4
value2

 
·Dined on October 15, 2017

Great service, very high quality food, brought out food in timely manner. Great dining experience. Only criticism is the price adds up with a lot of a la carte items. Still, for Carmel, it strikes me as a good deal to get a high quality Italian meal

Tags: Good for Groups, Good for a Date, Fun
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

I had the Branzino which was wonderful and my husband had the bolognese which was also terrific. We started with the olives and tomatoes and burrata. The sommelier was very approachable and I loved his approach of listening to what we liked and then just bringing us a bottle to try (which we loved). My only complaint was that the food came out way too fast. We were there for what we hoped would be a leisurely Saturday evening meal but it was way too hurried.

Tags: Authentic, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience3
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Terrible experience. Our waiter and hostess were nice but the kitchen kept messing up our order.
Drinks came

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food1
ambience2
service1
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Food was fantastic. Service was less than stellar.

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food5
ambience3
service1
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 11, 2017

My crab & pasta in a tomato sauce was superb. My husband had roast pork with stone fruit. All of the flavors melded beautifully. The only thing that surprised us was the price of the non-alcoholic drink, almost the same price on my alcoholic drink.
Cannot wait to return!

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 9, 2017

Everything was delicious and service was freindly!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined on October 8, 2017

We were early for our reservation. The hostess gave us 3 options for seating. It was a very busy Saturday evening in Carmel. High marks for accommodation, wine service, quality of food, pace of the meal. I will surely come here again.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Always a pleasure. The staff is tentative and amazing.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Dinner was excellent and service was attentive, if not super professional. The not so good, $35 corkage is excessive, and some noisy tourists in tee shirts, gym shorts and flip flops ruin the ambiance. I think some sort of reasonable attire requirements are needed. Hate to see this spot become a tourist spot with no regard for locals.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience2
service4
value2

 
 (Denver)·Dined on September 27, 2017

I'm not sure if it was maybe just our waiter, but the appetizer came long before the wine or water. My husband knew what he wanted to eat, but asked the waiter to come back to me in a few minutes so I could decide. I had to wave him down to ask him to take my order. It was obvious that he had ordered
my husband's meal, but forgot about me. When we finally got our food, my husband's pasta was cold and mine steaming hot. The short ribs I ordered tasted my pot roast. The appetizer, tomato caprese, was delicious though. Hostess came over to try to repair the experience. She was very nice.

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food1
ambience2
service1
value1

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on September 27, 2017

Poor service and lack of willingness to prepare special dishes.

Disappointing dinner at a restaurant I have frequented over the years

Will not be returning

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food3
ambience3
service1
value2

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

I have eaten here a few times and it was always very good. However this time it was very poor food. The menu items were limited and they were out of two of the items. The short ribs were average and a small portion. The tomato burrata salad had terrible tomatoes. I will not eat here again.

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food2
ambience2
service3
value2

vip
 (Orange County)·Dined on September 24, 2017

Phenomenal food and service. We dined with a large group, including one Italian, and were all extremely happy with our experience. Highly recommend it.

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 2, 2017

I had high hopes for Cantinetta Luca. Six weeks before my reservation I had a wonderful dining experience at Aubergine, another restaurant in the Mirabel Hotel and Restaurant Group. I expected the level of service and experience to dip slightly due to the price bracket difference between the two restaurants, but I was not prepared for it to be a stark difference.
The menu is in line with the price. It has intriguing and varying items to choose from within each category. I began with the house selection of salume, unfortunately I cannot tell you which cured meats were included on the board that was slapped down on the table before the server dashed away. The service continued like this throughout the evening. The house salume on the other hand was wonderful. The richness in flavor was readily apparent due to the salume being served at an appropriate temperature.
When my partner and I ordered for the main course he was advised to order an antipasti with the Filleto (8oz filet mignon) since our server said, "it's basically just a garnish," about the arugula that accompanied the filet. Now, traditionally in french cooking watercress is presented as a garnish just peeking from underneath the meat, so I thought this being an Italian restaurant it would be logical that an Italian cook might poke fun at traditional french cooking by using arugula. In reality it was a mound of arugula the size of my open hand. My partner was up-sold. Instead of an attentive server, a negligent used-car salesman waited upon us.
Service aside, we enjoyed the quality of our meals but it saddens me that I must iterate the the phrase I tell all novice cooks and those looking to improve upon their skills.
Salt!
Always remember to season your dishes while youre cooking and adjust it as necessary. Never send out an unseasoned dish!
The caprese salad was unseasoned.
If you appreciate salume go to Cantinetta Luca, sit at the bar, order the house salume, and have a drink, you might need it.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value3

vip
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on August 30, 2017

First seated at a table next to a large and noisy party celebrating birthdays. Then fortunately moved – but the noise level in the restaurant in general is higher then it's conducive to good conversation, and the tables are much too close together. The portionsare adequate and the food tasty but to serve a menu items such as the roast chicken with no vegetables accompaniment available at the price is ridiculous. Very disappointing.

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food3
ambience2
service3
value1

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

Great food and service, but back room is way too loud!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience1
service4
value3

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Good experience but geared toward tourists with the menu pricing. Corkage at 35 is outrageous. We will not return just because of that.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value2

 
·Dined on August 27, 2017

It took over 30 minutes after we were finished with our salad before we got our main course. We were sitting at the bar eating and the bartender said it was taking way too long. She took the cost of our wine off the price of our dinner as she felt bad about the wait. She was really. Ice.

We come to Carmel frequently and we always eat at the restaurant and have referred it to a lot of our friends. We have not had this problem in the past so hopefully it was just a bad night in the kitchen.

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food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Very nice restaurant in Carmel. I've walked by it many times, but never stopped in. It will be one of my go to restaurants on future carmel visits.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on August 26, 2017

My fiance and I sat at the kitchen bar and were able to watch the cooks make the food. The pizza oven was the coolest part. The food was amazing!

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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 25, 2017

Eaten here twice and both times found the food excellent. I think they can improve on the prices of the wines by the glass.

Tags: Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Casual, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 21, 2017

Seems ridiculous that on Concours weekend they would run out of so many dishes, but yes they did. Also, 72 hour cancellation policy with $50 pp penalty is quite outrageous. I have been to so many finer restaurants in the area that have no such policies. Get over yourself Cantinetta. Will not be going back after so many years. A total disappointment.

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food3
ambience1
service2
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 21, 2017

The food was very good as was the service. The restaurant was very loud which was a negative for me.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value4

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