After a few days of long meetings, the ladies of Here Comes The Guide refueled and toasted a job well done with a delectable dinner at Cantinetta Luca, a sister venue of L’Auberge Carmel. The bistro is designed around the concept that Italian dining is a celebration of sharing, simplicity and family—and as co-workers who consider each other family, we warmed to this notion immediately.
When we arrived, the main dining room and bar—oriented around an open kitchen and a wood-burning stove—were bubbling with energy. We were greeted by Giuseppe, the charming General Manager, and whisked away to the Wine Room. This semi-private dining space has a vaulted brick ceiling and windows that look into the wine cellar; the other walls sport oversized and whimsical Italian-themed paintings. Large enough to hold a reception for 50 yet still cozy and intimate, the Wine Room can be set up for an elegant wedding reception, a family-style affair, or a lively rehearsal dinner.
And then there’s the food! We started off with the meant-to-be-shared appetizer platter that was so generously arranged for us. Everything was fresh (they make all their pasta and the salami is aged in-house) and perfectly seasoned. I loved that the chef offered an original culinary twist on these dishes while keeping with Italian tradition. The service was swift and accommodating, and the relaxed ambiance provided the perfect antidote to our grueling work schedule.
If you’re going to be in the Carmel area, take the time to stop and enjoy this lovely gem. You’ll be thankful you did.