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“Faultless and Consistent in the Best European Tradition” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Rustica

Cafe Rustica
10 Del Fino Pl, Carmel Valley, CA 93924
831-659-4444
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Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Pizza, Contemporary
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
114 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Faultless and Consistent in the Best European Tradition”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014

If the summer sun has not yet broken through the fog in Carmel by noon, consider driving 10 miles inland, up Carmel Valley Road, to Cafe Rustica for lunch. You will be sitting on a sunny patio enjoying what Tripadvisor's reviewers accurately rate as the best restaurant in the Valley. We have a summer place nearby, and have eaten here more than a dozen times in the past year or two. The interior of the restaurant is cosy at other times of year, with a low ceiling, stone walls, bustling staff, and a warm pizza oven. There are 7 seats at the bar where a single diner can usually snag a spot even on a busy weekend evening. The room has a nice buzz but is not too noisy.

The menu includes pasta and pizza but classifying it as Italian is a misnomer. One of the perennial favorites is Hungarian Paprika Beef Goulash on Egg Noodles, and the first 2 pizza listings are Alsatian in origin. The restaurant is faultlessly managed in the European tradition by a large omnipresent gentleman with graying hair. Service is attentive, faultless and friendly. The wait staff appear to enjoy their work. The 3-4 nightly specials are always an excellent choice. Vegetables are not neglected and are perfectly cooked. At least one vegetarian option is available.

If you are a foodie or want to splurge, go to Marinus at Bernardus and take your chances. But if you want to eat reliably well and feel pleasantly satisfied, Cafe Rustica is your best bet.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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266 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    165
    69
    16
    10
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
60 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Great pizza great pasta”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014 via mobile

Surprisingly good! We shared pizza and pasta and it was better than some I've had in Italy. Portions were huge though!! We had a nice little table outside. Worth a visit.

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A delight”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2014

Our first attempt to eat here was on a Monday, which is their day off. We drove up the valley he next night. It was worth the trip back. What a great meal with friendly, attentive service.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Redwood City, California
Level Contributor
72 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A great little "gem" in Carmel Valley!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

This restaurant was recommened to us by a fellow "foodie".
It was worth the drive into Carmel Valley to experience their "wood fired pizza". The servings are bountiful , fresh tasting, quality and some dishes have unique flavoring....
We had the "Jose" pizza....YUM! A must stop if you are in
Carmel Valley!

Visited January 2014
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Roseville, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Very cute but could be better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

After wine tasting in the valley we decided to have lunch at Cafe Rustica. The place was busy but not full and the menu looked very attractive. My wife chose the salmon and I the chicken pot pie special. The salmon was over cooked almost to the point of sending back. The butter leaf lettuce and dressing was good but not outstanding. The pot pie was average.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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