Luca was an unexpected delight. My husband and I were looking for a casual pizza restaurant on Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend and we wandered into Luca without reservations. The hosts were extremely friendly and moved a few things around to find two seats for us at the pizza bar, overlooking the open kitchen. This turned out to be quite a treat – we got to watch the chef create an endless array of beautiful and mouthwatering pizzas – each one emerged from the wood burning oven perfectly golden brown as the aroma wafted over to our seats.
We ordered two pizzas – the first was the Salumi pizza, with subtly flavored pepperoni and salami (both cured in the restaurant), a sprinkling of ricotta, and a light homemade tomato sauce. With a dash of spicy pepper flakes on top, the pizza was delicious – a subtle mix of perfectly proportioned ingredients in every bite.
The second pizza was even more fantastic. We ordered an open-faced Cornetto (it’s usually served like a calzone), which was a white pizza with a mix of fontina and mozzarella cheese, topped with a layer of thinly sliced prosciutto, lightly dressed rucola, and shaved parmesan. The combination of the cheeses created an intense and delicious flavor, the rucola added a peppery zest, and the saltiness of the parmesan brought everything together. Needless to say, we polished off both pizzas.
We debated whether to get the nutella walnut cake or the tiramisu for dessert – the waiter didn’t want us to miss out on either and brought us the second dessert on the house. The cake was crusty, dense, and moist, with a light walnut flavor that was not particularly sweet but was complemented by the salty-sweet buttery toffee sauce and deeply flavorful banana sorbet – we did not leave a crumb. The tiramisu was served in a teacup with beautiful layers that were light, fluffy, and delicious.
The last surprise of the night was the bill — under $100 for two of us, including wine.Cantinetta Luca http://www.cantinettaluca.com/index.html Dolores Street Between Ocean and Seventh
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921 831.625.6500