The first time I ate at Marea was about 6 years ago. Fast forward 6 years, and it still holds a special spot in my heart. The food has always been phenomenal and they never disappoint.
Our party of 4 were seated promptly upon arrival. We all opted to do the $117 4-course menu, which offers your choice of ostriche (oysters), crudo (raw fish), or an antipasto (appetizer); a pasta dish; your choice of entrée; and a dessert.
To start, I convinced everyone into ordering a crostini to share. They come 2 pieces to an order, so we went with 2 orders. The Ricci costini is one of the most divine things I have ever had. It features super fresh Santa Barbara sea urchin with a torched layer of lardo on top. Lardo, which is a type of salumi made by curing strips of fatback, is super fatty and makes the sea urchin taste even more buttery. It’s a steep price at $24 for 2 pieces, but it is well worth it.
For my appetizer, I opted for the Astice ($9 supplement), which features Nova Scotia lobster, burrata cheese, basil, and eggplant al funghetto. This has always been my go-to appetizer and it’s always, honestly, the best part of my meal. The lobster is so fresh and sweet and the burrata is so creamy and delicate. It’s well worth the supplement.
When one goes to Marea, one must order the Fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. The fusilli is their signature pasta dish and is one of the richest plates I have ever had. I once watched a video of Andrew Zimmern cooking this dish with Michael White and the precision that’s required to get the bone marrow melted just so has always stuck with me. If you go to Marea, definitely get the fusilli.
Every time I go to Marea, I always get the Astice and the Fusilli. But I usually branch out a bit more for my entrée – I have managed to order something different each time I’ve been to Marea. This time, I opted for the Anatra ($8 supplement), which features pan-roasted duck breast, riso integrale almond, and tangerine. First of all, this dish smells and looks absolutely amazing. The duck breast is cooked to a perfect temperature and is bursting with flavor. The sauce is stunning.
I also attempt to try different desserts each time I visit. It’s of my humble opinion that the doughnuts are the absolute best dessert, but I aim to try something new. This time, I opted for the Budino di Riso, coconut rice pudding with basil and topped with mango sorbet. This was the perfect end to a rich and savory meal. The coconut rice pudding was light and refreshing – just what I needed!
Service was attentive throughout dinner and the pacing felt right. Bread service was consistent throughout the night, which one of my friends definitely appreciated. On a side note, I had their Malavita cocktail, which features teeling Irish whiskey, Cointreau, cappelletti aperitivo, and lemon. It was everything that I wanted it to be. If you’re a whiskey cocktail fan like I am, this one is perfect for you.