Cantinetta Luca
L'Auberge Carmel

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Press Releases

2 Nominations for 2016 James Beard Awards Semifinalists

Feburary 17, 2016

Best Chef West: Justin Cogley
Outstanding Service: Aubergine

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Aubergine chef Justin Cogley forages for flavors in Monterey Bay

by Meredith May, Saturday, November 29, 2014

With less than an hour to go before the doors open at Aubergine restaurant in Carmel, executive chef Justin Cogley is scrabbling over the rocks at the northernmost end of Carmel beach, scanning the surf for mermaid’s hair.

Just when he’s about to run out of sunlight, he spots some of the crimson, spaghetti-like seaweed waving in a tide pool and pulls up a triumphant fistful.

Dinner is saved.

Cogley, 36, forages from the sea several times a week for his award-winning menu at Aubergine, taking a hyperlocal approach to celebrating the tastes of Monterey Bay.

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by By Lisa Crawford Watson, Edible Magazine, Spring 2015

When executive pastry chef Ron Mendoza first went to work at Aubergine restaurant in L’Auberge Carmel, he says that the boutique hotel was importing hard candies from Italy for the guestrooms. Mendoza suggested soft, smooth, buttery caramels instead, and said he would make them by hand.

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The Most Romantic Old-World Hideaway in Northern California: L'Auberge Carmel

by Ann Abel,, March 21, 2013

Built in 1929, the 20-room L’Auberge Carmel evokes old Europe in a way that few American hotels do. Stepping into the central brick courtyard, I found myself wondering if I was still in California or had somehow been teleported to the charming Austrian inn—a fellow Relais & Châteaux member—I’d visited last year. (The hotel in Carmel was actually modeled on a hotel in Prague.) All the Continental hallmarks were there: tiered fountains, shaded café tables, wrought-iron banisters, and flower-filled window boxes hanging from the three-story wood-and-stucco building.

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L'Auberge Carmel: A Captivating Inn

February 2015 Hideaway Report, Andrew Harper

L’Auberge Carmel is a fetching stucco-clad inn of 20 guest rooms arrayed around an intimate tile courtyard. The property is located at the western edge of town four blocks from the beach, and was its first apartment building. A local entrepreneur named Allen Knight, who would later become mayor during the 1940s, was inspired by a visit to Prague to commission an Old World Czech-style structure on his family’s property on Monte Verde Street. In 1929, The Carmel Pine Cone noted approvingly of the new Sundial Court that “the architecture is European, probably more Bohemian than of any other national type, and fits in well with Carmel’s general scheme.”

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A Brief And Opinionated Guide To Monterey County, Carmel, And Big Sur, California

by Ann Abel,, March 18, 2013

A longtime local favorite on one of Carmel’s main drags, Luca is especially popular for its house-made and artisan salume, house-made pasta, and bistecca alla fiorentina for two, as well as a convivial vibe and lively late-night scene.

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Carmel and Monterey make their mark on fine dining

by Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle, September 18, 2011

Opened in 2006, Cantinetta Luca quickly became the best place to go for casual, well-prepared Italian-inspired food. Chef Jason Balestrieri offers all the right things - burrata cheese ($9), arancini ($6), excellent pizza ($13-$16), house-made pastas and beautifully roasted meats and fish ($22-$29).

One of the chef's main loves is salumi. In fact, beside the open kitchen he has a salumi room, which led to his next big idea.

In August, the restaurant expanded next door with Salumeria Luca, a takeout deli and bakery. As with the restaurant, the offerings change seasonally, but now Balestrieri has a venue to sell his prosciutto, house-made cheeses and other handiwork. The restaurant also offers grilled panini and other items that can be taken away for a picnic.

In addition, you can buy pizza dough, olive oils, pasta sauce and pastas, and even some hand-cut steaks.

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Rethink Italian at Cantinetta Luca

By Mike Hale, Monterey Herald, May 5, 2015

My dream places me inside a brick-walled wine cellar, or cantinetta, fashioned into an upscale trattoria, where I’m happily sipping Barolo from a globed glass. Torpedoes of cured meat hang from the ceiling in a glass-enclosed aging room, table vases bloom with elegant breadstick stems and we snack on warmed, fat Sicilian olives. I’m in full view of the kitchen’s heart, the 700-degree, wood-fired oven, where three black-hatted, squatty men with no arm hair perform a balletic ritual near the narrow opening that releases vapors of heat and wisps of wood smoke.

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Feeling Cured: Salumeria Luca unfurls an impressive assemblage of Italian charcuterie, sandwiches and other treats

by Ulia Zettie, MC Weekly, December 22, 2011

The first I heard of Salumeria Luca was from a friend who bought her father a salami sandwich for his birthday. He promptly reported that it transported him back to his native Italy with the first bite. I knew with similar immediacy that I had to compare Luca against the high salumeria standards I developed tasting my way through Rome. 

Traditionally a salumeria is more than a butcher shop. It’s an Italian deli that carries fine, artisanal charcuterie like prosciutto, salami, bologna, mortadella and beef bresaola. Carmel recently gained its only traditional Italian salumeria when Luca opened right next door to its sister Italian restaurant Cantinetta Luca on Dolores Avenue, where riches like imported Italian salume, Chef Jason Balestrieri’s house made sausages and cheeses, carefully curated wines, fresh pasta, fresh baked bread and shelves full of Italian grandmother’s favorite pantry items reside. 

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Destinations: Carmel-by-the-Sea

by Milla Sukonik, Caviar Affair, Winter 2014

Stumbling into this special find on Dolores Street brings you right back to the best secret family-style restaurants in Rome. Locals and visors enjoy delicious pizza, baked in an authentic, Italian, no gas, wood-burning pizza oven. Do not miss the salume and fresh handmade pasta. Simple and rustic at its best.

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400° Gourmet Burgers & Fries
Featured Press

Family Weekend Getaway in Monterey and Carmel

Fodor's Travel Intelligence, July 5, 2012

Sink your teeth into a juicy burger at 400 Degrees, an upscale diner that opened in May 2012. A straightforward menu includes burgers, sandwiches, and salads with gourmet touches, such as duck-fat fries and Sea Salt Caramel milkshakes, plus a kids menu. The restaurant provides computer tablets at tables so you can order extra items, pay your bill, and—perfect for impatient young'uns—play games.

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400 Degrees: The Down-Low Diner

by Allyson Thommen, See Monterey Blog, June 19, 2012

Watch out Carmel-by-the-Sea, there is a new joint in town unlike any other! The masterminds behind Carmel hotspots Aubergine and Cantinetta Luca have concocted yet another praiseworthy restaurant. 400 Degrees is Carmel’s one and only gourmet burger and fries restaurant in a town known for its upscale menus and prices. Hearing so much buzz about this place I just had to check it out for myself.

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Off the Menu: New burger join 400° makes a big splash in Carmel

by Raul N., Montrey Herald, May 30, 2012

This new project from David Fink and the Mirabel Hotel and Restaurant Group finds chef Jason Balestrieri — also executive chef at Mirabel-backed Cantinetta Luca — trading Italian fine dining for good old-fashioned burgers. (And don't worry, Balestrieri isn't leaving Luca — he's juggling both kitchens.)

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Guide to Carmel, CA

by Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis, November 2, 2015

400 Degrees serves delicious burgers. They have the freshest ingredients and it is an awesome family restaurant.

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Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest
Featured Press

Event Recap: Relais & Châteaux's GourmetFest Once Again Delivers a Foodie Affair for the Books

by Diane Sukiennik & Michael Reiss, JustLuxe, March 13, 2015

GourmetFest is an incomparable annual four-day extravaganza featuring an exclusive roster of Relais & Châteaux Chefs and fine wine estates. This year’s event took place from March 5-8 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. The Relais & Châteaux brand is an exclusive curated collection of over 500 of some of the finest, most discriminating lodgings and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries.

With 18 wine and food events, there was enough to satisfy even the most voracious appetite, while the roster of chefs, vintners and spirits purveyors was dazzling. The welcome party on Thursday kicked off the foodie affair with a delectable bang. Renowned culinary giants including Gary Danko, Michel Bras, Tetsuya Wakuda and Lanshu Chen, made use of luxury ingredients to regale our eager palettes. These ingredients included Black River caviar, fresh oysters, French back truffles, and Valhrona chocolate.

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Gourmands Eat Up GourmetFest In Carmel-by-the-Sea

by Kelly E. Carter, Haute Living, March 9, 2015

Carmel-by-the-Sea dazzles even when there is nothing going on. Throw in Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest 2015, held March 5-8, and you’ll understand why this idyllic coastal town was the haute spot for gourmands these last few days. Chefs and winemakers came from near and far to participate in this decadent four-day festival that has quickly made a name for itself with food and wine enthusiasts from the San Francisco Bay Area and far beyond.

Local culinary kings such as chef Gary Danko and Justin Cogley teamed up with international star chefs such as Michael Bras, Olivier Roellinger, Annie Féolde and Tetsuya Wakuda to headline this gastronomy fest which featured one-off dinners and tastings, after parties and after-after gatherings as well as demonstrations with talent from France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Peru, Taiwan, Canada and, of course, the United States.

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Farmers Market Luncheon at Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

by Food Fashionista, March 4, 2016

Even after the last course was served, guests couldn’t stop talking about the Farmers Market Lunch at Relais & Châteaux’ GourmetFest in Carmel-by-the-Sea. With a four-course menu from a quartet of well-accomplished chefs from California, Vermont (United States) and Sapporo (Japan) it was a highly motivating reason to wake up that breezy, beachside morn

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This Might Be the Most Lavish Food and Wine Festival Ever

by Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, February 13, 2015

Relais & Châteaux is known for the seal attached to some of the world's best hotels and restaurants, so when it announced last year it would celebrate its 60th anniversary with a gourmet food and wine festival, the event was bound to be good.

This year's GourmetFest, taking place March 5-8, just might top last year's celebration. The four-day festival will be headlined by Chefs Annie Féolde (Ristorante Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy), Colin Bedford (The Fearrington House Inn, Restaurant & Spa, North Carolina), Diego Muñoz (Astrid&Gastón, Perú), Gary Danko (Gary Danko, California), Justin Cogley (Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel, California), Lanshu Chen (Le Moût Restaurant, Taiwan), Michel Bras (Bras - Sébastien et Michel, France) and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons de Bricourt, France)

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How I Became a Chef: Plus, Relais & Chateaux Celebrates Women Chefs and Winemakers This March

by Danica Lo, Glamour, February 11, 2015

On March 6, Relais & Chateaux will feature 10 trailblazers as part of its Grand Women Chefs & Winemakers lunch. On the talent roster: Weekapaug Inn's executive chef, Jennifer Backman, Chapellet Winery's Carissa and Molly Chapellet, Grand Chef Lanshu Chen of Le Mout Restaurant, chef-owner Annie Feolde of Florence's Enoteca Pinchiorri, Gaia Gaja of Gaja wine producers, winemaker Bibiana Gonzalez Rave of Wayfarer, pastry chef Liz Miller of Blackberry Farm, president of Spottswoode Vineyard and Winery Beth Novak Milliken, and Peay Vineyards winemaker Vanessa Wong.

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MIRABEL HOTEL & RESTAURANT GROUP: Corner of Mission & Seventh Streets, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California // Mailing Address: PO Box 7228, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, 93921
L'Auberge CarmelAubergineRelais & Châteaux GourmetFestCantinetta LucaSalumeria Luca400°