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“Felt like I was in Tuscany” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Balena

La Balena
Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
831.250.6295
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Ranked #18 of 126 Restaurants in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Lexington, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Felt like I was in Tuscany”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

We lived in Italy for 2 years and I can be a snob when it comes to Italian food- especially Italian cuisine labeled as Tuscan. My husband took me here for my birthday and it was AMAZING! We happened there on a night of free wine tasting which was also great. We ended up sharing the table with the part owner of the vineyard that was doing the tasting. So, we ended up eating typical family style and shared each other's plates. My husband ordered the pairing menu, which was an amazing value. I had the boar pasta- oh my, my mouth is watering, thinking of it now as I write this. Upon finding out it was my birthday the served us little glasses of prosecco to go with a huge slice of the most amazing chocolate cake. The whole night took me back to Italy and it was perfect.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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148 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    96
    30
    10
    6
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Paso Robles, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Octopus like I've never had”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

I've had octopus prepared a number of ways, but the way that they prepared it was absolutely fabulous. Next time I'll order my own appetizer of octopus, because splitting the order with the wife left us both wanting more.
The meal was a great experience in this small, restaurant. I had the Oso Buco and my wife had the fresh, local salmon which were both prepared excellently.
Service was excellent! The only draw back would be the tight seating, but that won't keep me from returning. For a meal like the one we had, I'd eat it in a phone booth.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

Excellent food. Good staff and very sociable owners. We couldn't get there for closing time, so they let us in late. It was very busy and seems to have a good following. We'll certainly return.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Awesome food with great service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013 via mobile

We had a very nice dinner here. Their specialty is upscale Italian: Including Osso Bucco, beef tongue, a fantastic cauliflower appetizer & fried chicken. Their wine list is extensive and reasonably priced. This place is small, so you will need a reservation.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thousand Oaks
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Good ingredients, but bland food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

Service - Excellent
Atmosphere - Excellent
Wine - Excellent
Olive Oil - Excellent
Dessert - Excellent
Food - Very good quality ingredients, but very bland. We tried several dishes all of which were fairly bland. We eat at many restaurants of this caliber and were surprised at the lack of spice, flavor or anything else.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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