We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

La Balena

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Get directions
Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
831.250.6295
Website
Today
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Tue - Wed 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thu - Sun 11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Good for:
Local cuisine

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 144 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 94
    Excellent
  • 29
    Very good
  • 9
    Average
  • 6
    Poor
  • 6
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Lived up to its reputation!

La Balena is a well-regarded local restaurant which we've been meaning to visit. The opportunity arose to go there for lunch and, to my surprise (perhaps because many locals leave town during the AT&T madness), the place was deserted. The menu is eclectic Tuscan and the items we had were uniformly... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed February 12, 2015
Andrew A
,
Carmel Valley, California
Good for:
  • Local cuisine
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
Add Photo Write a Review

144 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Carmel Valley, California
Top Contributor
167 reviews 167 reviews
124 restaurant reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2015

La Balena is a well-regarded local restaurant which we've been meaning to visit. The opportunity arose to go there for lunch and, to my surprise (perhaps because many locals leave town during the AT&T madness), the place was deserted. The menu is eclectic Tuscan and the items we had were uniformly good. The Wild Boar Pappadelle Ragu in particular, was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2015

We dined early Saturday evening two weeks ago with a second couple, sitting outside. The service and the meal were excellent. We shared plates including salad, branzino, two pasta plates, and dessert. Two excellent bottles of an Italian white wine accompanied the meal. Overall, La Balena was an excellent selection. We will be back next year!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2015

Our Inn recommended this place for dinner and we were not disappointed, I had the spaghetti with clams and my partner the tagliatelle with pork and beef bolognese, both were superb! Only thing is to check the bill - they overcharged us $1 for each glass if wine we had and $2 for one of the pastas, while not much... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Santo Domingo
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2015

Only 2 person attending the restaurant. Asked for water 5 times and never arrived. The chicken wings were served uncooked and had to return them. One of the family members didn't received her main course after 2 hours in the restaurant. The finish plates stayed in the table for 10 minutes without being taken away.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
Reno, Nevada
Top Contributor
306 reviews 306 reviews
142 restaurant reviews
258 helpful votes 258 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2014

We were in Carmel for five days and this was the best dining experience during our stay. We started with the grilled octopus with potatoes, and it was very good. Although I would have liked more octopus and less potato, but the octopus was very tender and tasty. We also ordered a salad that was very good. My husband ordered... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Pleasanton, California
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

Had a great birthday dinner with friends on the enclosed heated patio. Atmosphere is lively and fun. Seems a special place even for the locals. Food was superb, enjoyed the "Lasagnette al Ortica" filled with ricotta and wild mushrooms. Sides of broccolini and kale, and cauliflower gratin were fresh, flavorful and just mouth-watering! Their tiramisu was silky and worth saving... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Walnut Creek
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2014

We enjoyed soup, the potato appetizer, bruschetta with burrata cheese (yum!) and my husband had a panini. We sat out front with our canine companion and had a lovely lunch. The service was prompt and the staff was friendly.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Del Mar, California, United States
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014

Arrived definitely past early evening on Carmel. Our hotel staff recommended two very good dog friendly restaurants......one around the corner & one 4+ blocks away. Upon leaving it was heavily suggested that we go to la Balena & are we happy we did. They were still quite busy when we arrived @ 9pm. We were seated right away at the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
NC
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2014

Once you find this gem as Carmel does not list street #'s/specific addresses. Look for The Best Western and look across street. Best meal I had in Carmel, reasonable prices, efficient service eat in the rear / outside with patio heaters, menu is varied and the special fried half of chicken, yes...is delicious as well as grilled octopus .

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
California
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2014

Let me start by stating that we were dining with someone who knows the owner, so we may have enjoyed a bit better service than the norm. Having said that, this place is great, and we'll definitely return, with or without Robert. Seating is a little bit tight, but we were never disturbed by conversations at nearby tables. I brought... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

Travelers who viewed La Balena also viewed

Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
 
Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
 

Been to La Balena? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing
Improve this listing

Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Monterey Peninsula  >  Carmel
  • Phone Number: 831.250.6295

Price and Cuisine

  • Cuisine: Italian

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Good for: Local cuisine
Open Hours
Sunday
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thursday
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday
11:30 am - 10:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of La Balena and other visitors
1 question
Ask a question
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
1 month ago

See all questions (1)

Questions? Get answers from La Balena staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?