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La Balena

Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
831.250.6295
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Ranked #14 of 152 restaurants in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Italian
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Reservations
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87 reviews from our community

86% Recommend
    59
    16
    4
    4
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Stamford, Connecticut
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2014

the chef is so extroadinary.. such a lovely meal like in Italy .. tuscan style.. we ate outside ..DONT MISS IT , EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE DINNER IN CARMEL

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Del Mar, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2014

We just returned from a few days for the ATT Pebble Beach in Carmel. We've visited Carmel several times over the years, but hadn't been before when LaBalena was on the dining scene. As a tour director for a Culinary, Wine and Adventure program in Italy, we have had the pleasure of many meals prepared by Tuscan mammas and michelin... More

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Palo Alto, CA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2014

Authentic Italian food cooked by the chef owner who is from Italy. If you know and like the uniqueness of La Ciccia in San Francisco you will like this place. Ask a local who has been here for their opinion then decide. Reservations are difficult to get.

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Austin, tx
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

the inside is crowded and loud because it's such a small place and the tables are very close together. it was also exTREMEly hot inside. we sat in the back courtyard and it was SPECTACULAR!! the ambiance is really great out there...a little garden courtyard. we had a glass of wine that was amazing and the cannoli was delicious! the... More

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Greenbrae
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
75 restaurant reviews
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2013

We went there upon the rec of friends who live in the Valley. First, we had a firm reservation. Second, they said they were behind when we arrived. Another couple was waiting also and we were not happy campers. After 20 minutes i confronted the hostess and demanded a firm time time for seating. After an agonizing 10 more minutes... More

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Menlo Park, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

This restaurant is our new fav' in Carmel. They offer really fresh and authentic Tuscan cuisine that distinguishes this gem from the other restaurants in town that serve the typical Italian-American fare.

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San Francisco
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

My salad was so over-dressed that it was almost inedible. It tasted as if it had been soaked in pig grease. My husband's calamari appetizer was also overdressed. My ravioli was good, but half of my husband's gnocci was burnt. And the desserts were just bad. Disappointing.

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San Francisco, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

I've dined at La Balena five times since it opened in Carmel, and I have only had amazingly wonderful food there. My family followed owners Immanuelli (joined by his brilliant wife Anna) to La Balena from Luca restaurant and market in Carmel, which he deveIoped for other owners. Immanuelli also worked for Mario Batelli in NYC. Now , in starting... More

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Breckenridge, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

I would highly recommend this restaurant. The food was delicious, especially the octopus appetizer which had a rich, smokey taste.Service was good, but not outstanding. Try not to be seated in the dining area next to the kitchen as it gets smoky from the grill.

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Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

Visited La Balena recently because of the good reviews. Though we enjoyed setting, the meal was sort of average. I tried the Tagliatelle Nere. The pasta was unusual to say the least and I thought it was an odd pairing with fairly delicate seafood. Maybe I'm just not into `California Italian'. We sat in the rear patio which is fairly... More

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