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“Excellent Octopus Appetizer” 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 #20 of 150 Restaurants in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Breckenridge, Colorado
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Excellent Octopus Appetizer”
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.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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147 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    95
    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
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Charming little restaurant”
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 cramped quarters to begin with, but a party of 6 or 7 had to squeeze in through a backdoor opening and with dogs in tow. I think I'll skip this one next time I'm in Carmel.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Nightmare!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

Wrong entre was delivered. Waiter then asked if I wanted another entree, which also was not what I ordered,
By time my food arrived(just pasta) my date was partially done and remainder cold as a glacier.

Waiter not helpful when I pointed this out,

For$160 you expect what you order and for both orders to arrive at the same time, it was Judy pasta in cream sauce

Stay away

  • Visited October 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel, California, United States
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Never got served - totally ignored”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

We went to La Balena because of the good reviews. After sitting down, we waited for at least 10 minutes and the waiter could not be bothered to even approach our table. He was too enamored of another table where we could hear him explaining the menu items, the wine list, and all of the other details. The food might be good (we never found out) but there are so many restaurants in Carmel which provide excellent service why bother with one that does not.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, TX
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Hottest new restaurant in Carmel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Small and charming restaurant. The best gnocchi I have ever tasted. Excellent fried chicken but only available 2 nights a week. Request outside seating because on a crowded night the inside is very noisy.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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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