Mare Culinary Lounge
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
- New American
- Sun, Thu-Sat 7am-2am, Mon-Wed 7am-12am
- All Major Credit Cards
- Catering, Takeout
- Full bar
OC Weekly's Description
The site was formerly Blue Laguna, which, like Mare was a clubby lounge set anachronistically inside a quaint Holiday Inn with wrought iron balconies reminiscent of New Orleans Square. While Alessandro Pirozzi’s other restaurants are fit for families; Mare is intimate and sexy. The cold blue lights and shiny metal makes it look like a futuristic set from a scene in Blade Runner. A looped movie of bathing elephants projected on one wall is beguiling on purpose. There are other features that indicate the restaurant also wants to be trendy. For those come to enjoy Mare as a lounge and bar, it already has the best plate of fried calamari that beats any offered on PCH. The lighter-than-air batter covering the tender squid rings, Castelveltrano olives and house-pickled jalapenos tastes rich and almost buttery. From there, move to the tissue-thin octopus carpaccio, which melts like snowflakes on the tongue as the sprinkled black Sicilian lava salt crunch between the teeth. There are direct imports from the Alessas, including the indispensable and incredible butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and fried sage. Here it’s cut into heart-shapes and called cuori. But even an out-of-place appetizer called “Tacos Mai Way”, which employs the fluffy steamed Chinese bun all Momofuku aspirants tend to use, is well-done. Instead of pork belly, Pirozzi stuffs his “tacos” with braised oxtail, sweet onions, carrots and a homemade Saba. The oxtail is seen again tangled up between the pappardelle, tape-wide green-tinted noodles that tastes like it was just freshly churned out from a pasta press. The lasagnas use the same pasta, but cut wider and laid down with béchamel for a balanced dish layered with a slow-cooked meat sauce.
Tips from foursquare
очень качественная итальянская кухня, приятный сервис, изумительные десерты! 😋 very high quality Italian food, nice service, amazing desserts!
Surprisingly good. I held off for ages because, we'll, it's a Holiday Inn. But this place exceeded my expectations. Great space, nice service and really solid Nuevo Italian for California.
Absolutely delicious! I loved the decor as well. You can easily miss it because it's inside of the Holiday Inn on PCH. But it's well worth going in. :-)
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Reviews and News
Last night we attended a March of Dimes fundraiser featuring many of Orange County's finest, including Seakyeong Kim (Charlie Palmer... More on Mare Culinary Lounge »
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Mare is supposed to be known for its seafood. But you should know by now that Alessandro Pirozzi of Cucina Alessa fame has the golden... More on Mare Culinary Lounge »