Located in a section of Los Angeles that is mostly commercial buildings near Hollywood, Marino Restaurant makes this neighborhood very classy. Seeing that I was staying near by for my staycation, this was a great choice for a nice dinner. With its upscale Italianate interior, you don’t really know what is in store for you when you walk in the entrance. But the minute your taste buds touch the food you will be happy that you chose to have your dining experience at Marino’s.
I was completely surprised to realize that I have driven by this restaurant many many times, but never knew how spectacular their food is. It really separates the men from the boys. Marino is right up there with the best of the best in Los Angeles, or for that matter, the world!
Sometimes they will serve me the whole plate and sometimes they do a mini tasting of everything, which really helps me in my tasting because I don’t have to pace myself and can really enjoy the full flavors of everything. This was the first time that I didn’t take anything home. My guest and I pretty much ate everything that was served. The only thing I took home was my dessert sampler plate.
Here’s what I tried:
Martini, served in a very nice traditional Martini glass with 2 olives, a great way to start my dinner.
Cosmopolitan, also served in a very nice glass, lovely berry flavor, very refreshing.
Clams Arreganate, baked little neck clams, stuffed with bread crumbs, lemon, and parsley sauce. These little gems are just the right things to start with; they pretty much pop in your mouth.
Calamari Alla Griglia with grilled calamari, with lemon, garlic dressing on a bed of organic mix green. The calamari was such a beautiful presentation, and so very tender.
Insalata Alla Cesarino with romaine lettuce with house made Caesar dressing. I just loved this salad, very simple but truly wonderful.
Minestrone with Italian Style Vegetable Soup. I can always figure out a restaurant by its soup, and this minestrone had no pasta and the vegetables were cut very large with a very flavorful light broth. This soup was out of this world.
Fettuccine Al Funghi Mist with home made fettuccine, with mixed mushrooms. They make all of their pasta in house and the sauce was filled to the brim with mushrooms. It had a great creamy taste, a true winner.
Pappardelle Alla Bolognese with ribbon pasta, Beef and Veal Bolognese Sauce. Big thick noodle and the Bolognese sauce did not disappoint.
Linguine Alla Vongole with linguine, Manila clams, white sauce. Lot and lots of clams and a nice fragrant light sauce.
Linguine Alla Pescatore with shrimp, calamari, baby clams, black mussels, spicy tomato sauce. Love this pasta with all of its very fresh shellfish, wow.
Gamberi Posillipo, jumbo shrimp sautéed with fresh tomato sauce, sautéed spinach. These shrimps are huge and butterflied just the way I like it, where they curl up. The sauce reminded me of sauce I had as a kid at our families Wednesday night Italian dinner at Scarantino’s. How fun to have really fantastic childhood memories in one of these dishes.
Scaloppini Di Vitella Con Funghi E Vino, veal scaloppini with seasonal mushrooms, white wine, medley of vegetables. The veal is flattened and the nice array of vegetable and mushrooms made this dish one of my favorites.
Filetto Alla Sinatra, chunks of filet mignon, peppers, mushrooms, red wine, medley of vegetables. Fantastic!
Profity Rolls, like a cream puff, but with oozing chocolate sauce on the outside.
Tiramisu, great homemade tiramisu is always one of my favorites and this one is right up there.
Cheesecake, this is a fabulous rendition of this dessert staple.
Chardonnay, William Hill Aromas ad Flowers of ripe tree fruit and spice with hints of citrus and tropical notes. I liked this wine with the clams; it hits all the right notes.
Insolia, Cusumano-Sicilia light straw yellow color, white flowers and fruits hints of apple, intense fruit finish. Nice mellow flavors this worked with the calamari perfectly.
Lunania la Belle – Abruzzo, biodynamic intense bouquet with floral aromas and tropical fruit. This wine was great with the Caesar salad; it worked nicely with the anchovy’s goodness.
Pinot Grigio Plovaro, Veneto. Light citrus, delicate floral aromas and hints of green apple and pears. I liked this wine with the minestrone soup; it is fruit forward to it just added a nice tone to this remarkable soup.
Chianti Classic Banfi Toscana; well balanced with lots of structure accompanied by pleasing aromas of berry and plum. What can I say; you have to do this one with the Bolognese.
Montelpulciano D’ Abruzzo Costi Di Moro Sicilia with strawberry, black berries, juniper berries, light spice & creaminess on the finish. My heart just flutters when I take myself back to this stellar wine paired with the Steak Sinatra, you just can’t go wrong.
Cabernet, Kenwood, CA. Boysenberry, Cherry mint vanilla, bay leaf, well structures, tannins, good finish. I liked this wine with the Veal Scaloppini
Original owner, chef and proprietor Ciro (Mario to American friends) Marino has been dedicated to the restaurant business for over 50 years. Only now, his son and wife Maria do the day to day operations of the restaurant.
The decor is classic old school. A wall of glass, softened by out of door planters full of fichus, faces famous Melrose Avenue. The soft colored walls; starched white linen cloths, the silver sugar caddy, votive holders and subdued oil paintings all come together to create its appeal. Memorabilia from a 50-year career is scattered all around. Italian light fixtures in gold blown glass. Their music is ambient jazz from Pandora, but sometimes they play Frank Sinatra depending on the types of people dining.
The food is described by many ‘quintessential NY Italian in Los Angeles’. The Marino wine list has been repeatedly an award winner by Wine Spectator. All of the food is fresh; it is sourced from local purveyors and markets. At Marino, you will always find the freshest produce and seafood contained in carefully prepared dishes respecting tradition. All served with a professional manner in a warm welcoming fashion. Guests here are king.
Marino is very romantic, so much so the night I was there a couple got engaged in the next booth, so sweet the future groom got down a one knee. The future bride said yes, and the ring was her grandmothers, very delicate and gorgeous, what a moment to witness, wow!
The lunch crowd is from the studios nearby, Paramount; Capitol Records execs, music execs and film and TV producers. Friday and Saturday are their busiest evenings, but sometimes during the week they can have a big rush, which is totally understandable given the quality of the food.
I have my favorite Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. I also hear people say that there is no good Italian in Los Angeles, and I beg to differ. From now on when someone asks me my favorite Italian restaurants Marino will rank right up there with the best of the best!
6001 Melrose Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90038