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

La Balena
Ranked #29 of 153 Restaurants in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Families with children, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
145 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Felt like I was in Tuscany”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 9, 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ebbosse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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238 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    150
    52
    17
    12
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Paso Robles, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Octopus like I've never had”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
1 Thank WillyJ2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great place”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
2 Thank John_D154945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level Contributor
41 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Awesome food with great service”
5 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank thebruckers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thousand Oaks
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Good ingredients, but bland food”
3 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank winecheeselover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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