We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices

La Balena

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Junipero between 5th and 6th, West Side, Carmel, CA
+1 831-250-6295
Website
Today
17:00 - 22:00
Open now
All hours
Hours:
Tue - Wed 17:00 - 22:00
Thu - Sun 11:30 - 22:00
More Info
Add Photo Write a Review

238 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 217: English reviews
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago 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..

Helpful?
Thank nyani46
Larkspur,California
Level Contributor
84 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 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 

Helpful?
Thank dogstargems
Redondo Beach, California
Level Contributor
143 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 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 

Helpful?
Thank yannis63
Sonoma, California, United States
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 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.

Helpful?
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 18 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 

Helpful?
Thank MrBretz
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 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 

Helpful?
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 15 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank Donna M
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
83 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 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 

Helpful?
Thank 978monicar
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2016

I had a lot of great meals when I visited Carmel last week, but this was outstanding! The grilled octopus and fried cauliflower were some of these best dishes I've had and they were just the appetizers. The staff was wonderful as well. I highly recommend this restaurant in a town known for incredible food!

Helpful?
Thank joneskory
san francisco
Level Contributor
26 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2016 via mobile

Went there for dinner and returned for lunch the next day. Innovative Italian food with classic flavors. Dinner can be difficult to get a reservation and the place is small

Helpful?
Thank Kenneth L

Travellers who viewed La Balena also viewed

Carmel, Monterey County
Carmel, Monterey County
 
Carmel, Monterey County
 

Been to La Balena? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing
Improve this listing

Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 bubbles
Cuisine
Italian, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Lunch, Dinner, After-hours
Restaurant features
Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol
Good for
Romantic, Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Open Hours
Sunday
11:30 - 22:00
Tuesday
17:00 - 22:00
Wednesday
17:00 - 22:00
Thursday
11:30 - 22:00
Friday
11:30 - 22:00
Saturday
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
Ask a question
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?