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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 #19 of 153 restaurants in Carmel
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Reservations
Tucson, Arizona
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
39 helpful votes 39 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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82 reviews from our community

86% Recommend
    55
    15
    4
    4
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
manhattan beach, CA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 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
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
“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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Bay Area
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
42 helpful votes 42 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
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
44 helpful votes 44 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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