Press & Team


If you are on assignment and would like to dine at Cantinetta Luca we would be pleased to assist with your press trip.
For further information, photography or to answer questions, please contact



Executive Chef

Aaron Rayon joined Luca in July of 2017. Rayor, who hails from the Los Angeles area, was most recently employed at Bestia. Bestia is considered by many LA food critics as ‘adventurous’, energetic’, ‘the hottest table in town’ and ‘one of the most cutting edge Italian restaurants in that community’. Prior to joining Bestia, Rayor’s career included stints at Salt’s Cure and the remarkable restaurant of Chef Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Rayor was educated at Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He also received a baking and pastry diploma from The Art Institute in Orange County, CA.



Rethink Italian at Cantinetta Luca

I’m in an Italian bisteccheria, an exotic, sexy steakhouse. And I’m deliriously content.You may think Italians don’t eat steak, but they certainly do. Click Here to Read the Entire Article

by Mike Hale, Monterey Herald, May 5, 2015


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

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. Click Here to Read the Entire Article

by Ann Abel,, March 18, 2013


Carmel and Monterey make their mark on fine dining

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.Click Here to Read the Entire Article

by Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle, September 18, 2011


Dose of Vitamin P: Cantinetta Luca Salume Selection

The restaurant has wood fired pizzas, several pastas and entrees, but the aspect that left the biggest impression was the salume, mostly house-made and kept in a glass fronted room between the bar and open kitchen. We ordered the Selection of Salume ($24.95) and subbed in wild boar prosciutto for sweet capicolla from the Bronx for an extra $3. This ended being a great deal, since we got to experience eight different meats, most of them pork-based. Click Here to Read the Entire Article

By Joshua Lurie, Food GPS, April 17, 2012


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

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. 
Click Here to Read the Entire Article

by Ulia Zettie, MC Weekly, December 22, 2011


Destinations: Carmel-by-the-Sea

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.Click Here to Read the Entire Article

by Milla Sukonik, Caviar Affair, Winter 2014