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“Enjoyable food after a poor start”
Review of Cantinetta Luca

Cantinetta Luca
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Ranked #49 of 159 Restaurants in Carmel
Price range: $20 - $50
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Cantinetta Luca offers an authentic menu inspired by the traditional recipes of various regions of Italy featuring hand-crafted dishes using the finest Italian goods and locally sourced ingredients in a lively atmosphere. Executive Chef / Partner Jason Balestrieri shares his Italian culinary heritage and travels through handcrafted dishes prepared traditionally with a simple and rustic presentation. Starting with treasured family recipes passed down through generations the menu specialties include a hearty selection of source verified premium meats, first hand selected then hand-cut on site, a wide array of anitipasti including house cured artisan salume, wood-oven baked pizza offered at lunch, housemade pastas and sauces, and whole roasted fish.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Enjoyable food after a poor start”
Reviewed October 5, 2013

We had a reservation for the 4 of us but when we arrived we were shown to a small table right at the front in the window in front of the reception desk - this is more suited to seating people picking up a takeaway than a restaurant table. We said it wasn't acceptable and had to wait just a few minutes and then were shown to a nice table in the middle of the restaurant. We had to wait some time to have our order taken only to find some of the specials were not available so had to make quick changes to our selections. The food, when it arrived was very good and our only gripe was that the wine list only featured Italian wines. Nice I guess if you are American but when you are from Europe and looking forward to sampling some Californian wines it was a bit disappointing. Overall we enjoyed Luca but it did have some small flaws.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Peedee1955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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509 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    27
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
89 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Didn't work for us”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

We loved the look of this restaurant from the outside: cozy, attractive and busy. After receiving positive reviews from a few diners leaving the restaurant, we made a dinner reservation for later in the week. So disappointing. First off, we were surprised by the wine list which was rather pricey for a restaurant offering many dinner items between $17 and $22. Our appetizers were a long time coming and when we enquired, we were told that the kitchen was re-doing mine because they didn't like how it turned out. Fair enough, but we could have avoided this irritation if the waiter had mentioned it first. Returning food to the kitchen is something we have never done, but hubby's pasta was so undercooked as to be inedible and it had to go back. Maybe we were just unlucky but the really unfortunate part was that the staff made us feel like contemptible complainers.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Tad02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Ok, but don't need to go back”
Reviewed September 24, 2013 via mobile

First off we had a Groupon which saved us some (but not enough). I felt that this place was a bit over priced for what we got. I got a pizza, which was the best part of the meal & my husband got a pasta dish with Clams, good flavor but at least one of the clams was FULL of sand which pretty much ruined the the dish for the hubby. The wine was good, but again a bit over priced, mine was 3oz for $8, husband was 6oz for $14. They give you one serving of bread for the table- but additional will come with fee! Not really cool anywhere but especially at an Italian restaurant. & about those breadsticks on the table... We weren't sure if they were for decoration or eating...we wondered how long they had been there, how many people touched them AND 3 of the 4 were touching the wall, the dusty wall-YUCK! But we saw someone else eating one so we braved it (cause we were out if bread :( ) and split the one that wasn't touching the wall :) then it came to dessert and a cappuccino which was good, Except for the fact that it was 'included' in our groupon & we specifically asked our waitress if the cheeses were included & she said 'yes'... But when the bill came we were charged :(
PROS- we did not feel second class with our groupon and were not rushed out, EVEN when there were people waiting for our table. The staff was pretty friendly and attentive.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jennifer F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waco, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“Great Rehearsal Dinner & Beach Party”
Reviewed September 18, 2013

Our son was recently married in Carmel, CA. Cantinetta Luca was the site for the rehearsal dinner and the restaurant's owner, the Mirabel Group, organized and catered a beach party for the 130 guests not attending the dinner. Both events were fabulous. The 5 course rehearsal dinner for 30 at Luca was delicious and the sommelier's wine selection was particularly of note. The restaurant's staff was very attentive and responsive to our tight schedule and toasts. The beach party menu was beer, wine, gourmet hamburgers and hot dogs, and finished with the pastry chef's scratch-made s'mores. Because the schedule required that the rehearsal dinner and beach party times overlap, we depended on the Mirabel Group to coordinate the events - and they could not have done a better job! They were wonderful hosts with lots of attention to detail. Our emails and phone calls were answered immediately, they worked within our budget, and they made us confident that all would go well - and it did! We would highly recommend the Mirabel Group and the restaurants they represent.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Bill D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Italy in Carmel? YES!”
Reviewed September 17, 2013

We took a chance and tried Luca for lunch and loved it so much we went back for dinner that same night. Staff is very gracious and friendly. Food was fantastic; big portions. Our lunch was a cured meats and cheeses plate, and as I work in a wine and cheese shop in my hometown, I was really impressed with the cheese selections. Cured meats are house made and on display near the bar. Wine list was very interesting too. It's a beautiful room for dining, with high ceilings, which is a bit uncommon for Carmel. Dinner was peaceful and romantic, with very attentive service. Luca is my new "go-to" for Carmel dining, either lunch or dinner.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Kris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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