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La Balena

Certificate of Excellence
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Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
+1 831-250-6295
11:30 - 22:00
Closed now
See all hours
Tue - Wed 17:00 - 22:00
Thu - Sun 11:30 - 22:00
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241 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 219: English reviews
Arlington, Texas
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Small cozy with wonderful food. Had to wait maybe 5 min for our table and we're treated to complimentary glass of wine. The owner is from Italy and knows great Italian food. The cauliflower appetizers is a must try. The wines are all top notch as well as the food. A favorite with the locals so you know it's good.... More 

Thank kim s
San Rafael, California
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were not expecting an outstanding dining experience in a tourist-dominated town like Carmel, but we were pleasantly surprised with one of the most memorable meals we have had in a while. We've lived in Italy, we know good Italian food, and our meal here was simply sensational in all respects.

1 Thank Tom K
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2016 via mobile

This restaurant is the best food in Carmel.. italian food which is handcrafted by the hands of the owner and chef who is from Italy.. he changes the menu depending on what is good locally and what is in season.. all fresh.. you will not see many tourists here, it is a well known great restaurant for the area..

1 Thank nyani46
Level Contributor
84 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 October 2016

We read positive reviews.We had reservations.We were greeted immediately.We had a choice of where to sit. We looked at the menu and really did not fine anything that was appealing, but thought we might chose a couple of new entrees. There is only beer/wine. No cocktails. The wine list is not very good. We tried explaining to the server what... More 

1 Thank dogstargems
Redondo Beach, California
Level Contributor
160 reviews
91 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2016

My wife and I had dinner. The setting is beautiful. Indoor and outdoor / garden setting. We had 2 appetizers, octopus and fried cauliflower. Both very good. I had the bisteca and my wife had a pasta dish w Bolognese sauce, which was very good. We shared a Tiramisu, which we loved. This is a great restaurant!! It is not... More 

1 Thank yannis63
Sonoma, California, United States
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 September 2016

Very romantic. A small jewel tucked back in off the busy Carmel streets. If you're looking for a small, intimate restaurant with friendly service and the food is amazing. We live in Sonoma but consider Carmel our second home. We were treated like locals. Owner came to our table...so nice.

1 Thank Sally N
Waikoloa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
75 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2016

Five of us were there for lunch. We came just before lunch closing midweek so there was no wait. The food is Italian but the help appears to be Hispanic. I did not see the cook. The restaurant is very small but clean. Four of the people had one of the assorted pasta dishes, there was one appetizer(cauliflower), and a... More 

Thank MrBretz
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 August 2016 via mobile

Very good food and waiters eager to please. Problem here is place is small tables tight and notice level high Well healed LOCAL customer base so tourists beware. Management caters to and is favorable to this crowd understandably the rest of us well you can wait in the corner over there given all the $$ this crowd has we were... More 

Thank Daniel M
Danville, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2016

The food here is amazing...the service, not so much..we walked up to the easel with the menu posted which is in the courtyard and sat for 4 minutes before we realized this was not the hostess desk. we proceeded inside, found the desk and was told we were early and our table was not ready..fair enough, back out to the... More 

1 Thank Donna M
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
86 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2016

I was in Carmel for a girls weekend and we had many great meals throughout our stay but this was by far the best meal we had....it was probably one of the best meals I've had in a very long time. The grilled octopus was perfection! It was so delicious-the very best I have ever had which says a lot... More 

Thank 978monicar

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
Lunch, Dinner, After-hours
Restaurant features
Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol
Good for
Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Child-friendly, Romantic
Open Hours
11:30 - 22:00
17:00 - 22:00
17:00 - 22:00
11:30 - 22:00
11:30 - 22:00
11:30 - 22:00
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Monterey County  >  Carmel
  • Phone Number: +1 831-250-6295

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of La Balena and other visitors
3 questions
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Saratoga, California
over a year ago
Pacifica, California
over a year ago
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
over a year ago

See all questions (3)

Questions? Get answers from La Balena staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?