The New York original is Madonna’s go-to for her favourite tomato pasta and Jay-Z and Beyoncé head there for date nights – plus it’s been anointed by Michelin with a couple of its coveted stars. That’s a pretty hard act to follow, and so the Dubai incarnation of this lauded Italian restaurant has a lot to live up to.
Taking over the DIFC spot formerly housing Peruvian Totora, the space oozes old school understated elegance. Crisp white tablecloths, subdued lighting and leather seating with an amber bar at the entrance draws in the eye. You’ll find everything from fresh oysters, silky pastas, simply grilled meats and a strong seafood showing – Marea translates as ‘tide’— on the menu.
Starters include an unusual pairing of burrata, tomatoes and lobster, but the stand-out dish has to be the home-made pasta – a house signature – the veal agnolotti teamed with mushrooms was cooked perfectly al dente, with the complexity of flavours leaving us yearning for more. Carnivores should opt for perfectly pink-in-the-middle lamb chops – or push the proverbial boat out with the mixed seafood extravaganza, shellfish a la plancha, to share.
We ended on a sweet note; a rich panna cotta, perfectly balanced with berries, and hot, sugar dusted doughnuts served alongside a chocolate and a lemon creme.
INFO: Gate Village 7, Dubai International Financial Centre, Tel: +971 583 6366, marea.ae, @mareadubai