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“Charming Gourmet” 4 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 #13 of 126 Restaurants in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
135 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Charming Gourmet”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Loved that the locals eat here and cherish it. The pasta is home made. The Osso Buca was great as was the the pork loin. The waiter was attentive and the ambiance of this small place was just charming.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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159 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    104
    32
    11
    6
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
manhattan beach, CA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“I'm sad I don't live closer! Simply wonderful...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Fresh and tasty food, helpful and friendly staff, comfortable and warm setting! Please stop by and tell the owner the couple from New Jersey/Manhattan Beach sent you! (I promised I would spread the word!)
The fried green tomatoes are deliciously coated in corn crumbs, the broccolini and potatoes are crispy and flavorful. The pasta is fresh, the soup is hearty...I could go on and on. And we brought Murphy, our dog, who was warmly welcomed by everyone.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toluca, Mexico
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“This restaurant is awesome for any person that knows real italian food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

try the Octopus app and the Osso Buco, they are simply amazing. the personnel is fun and dilligent.

It id not appear on the GPS, but is easy to find. Junipero St between 5th and 6th.

best in the Monterey area by far.

  • Visited July 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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Seaside, California
Level Contributor
101 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Excellent and Innovative Italian”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

Wonderful restaurant with great outdoor seating in back and in front. The octopus with melon was one of the best appetizers I have ever had. We shared the osso buco which was made with lamb instead of veal and topped with a mint gremolata. Different and delicious. The wine list was very interesting and reasonably priced. The portions are very large and we shared the octopus and the lamb and were quite satisfied. The olive oil served with the bread is also excellent. I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone. It is especially friendly to dogs and they put out water for them.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.
Nutley, New Jersey
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“REAL, AUTHENTIC Italian Food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

We are foodies. We live in Northeast and eat regularly in Manhattan. We've also been to Italy. There is a certain level of excellence we expect from our Italian food... and this place totally hit the mark. After a very poor meal at a different Italian place in Carmel on our first night there... we tried La Balena on our second night. The restaurant was packed but we were offered a table on their private outdoor patio right away. It was a cold night but their outdoor heaters kept us comfortable throughout our meal. I love seeing lardo on a menu! It's like a green flag telling me that the chef is Italian! The octopus app was truly amazing and PERFECTLY cooked (which isnt easy when it comes to octopus). Our desserts were also fantastic (I ordered two and I'm proud of it). We talked with the owner at length after our meal. He knows his stuff, has worked for well-known chefs (Battali), and understands the way real Italian food should taste. I can't say enough about this place... it felt like a little slice of home in Carmel. Don't miss it. It's truly authentic.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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