If you are looking for the most picturesque dining experience in the UAE, Mare Mare should be at the top of your list. Nestled a stone’s throw away from the shores of Saadiyat beach, Mare Mare is Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort’s popular Italian restaurant. Mare Mare promises home-cooked coastal flavors of Italy set in a relaxing beach side location, with an indoor setting during the summer and an open-air terrace during the cooler season.
It is about 8.00pm when we arrive to Mare Mare and the restaurant is already bustling with guests. We opt for one of the larger tables at the back of the restaurant, which offers a more intimate dining experience. The menu is a good size and offers a variety of dishes. To begin I opt for the Parmigiana Di Melanzane, an oven baked eggplant gratin in tomato sauce, with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. My dining companion selects the La Burrata, a light and fresh burrata cheese with heirloom tomatoes drizzled in basil pesto and the Carpaccio Di Polipo, an octopus carpaccio with bottarga, lemon dressing and salad. The carpaccio selection does look very temping and for my next visit I will be sure to try the Carpaccio Di Gambero, a red prawn carpaccio with burrata and pistachios. All the starters are thoroughly enjoyable. My Parmigiana Di Melanzane is excellent, the eggplant is nicely prepared, chef has finely balanced the parmesan to ensure just the right amount of eggplant to cheese in each bite. With Burrata being quite possibly one of the most ordered dishes in the UAE, Mare Mare’s option stacks up nicely amongst the best we have tasted.
We take a small break between our starters and mains to ensure we have ample space to enjoy our coming dishes. The service so far has been very attentive but not intrusive, a fine balance but one the team at Mare Mare have nicely mastered. Chef de Cuisine, Simone Federico is the mastermind behind the menu at Mare Mare. Having grown up in Abruzzo, Italy, since the young age of 13 Chef Federico knew he was going to be a chef. At 17 he was recognized as one of the top three young chefs in Italy by the National Federation of Chefs and became a qualified sommelier the following year. An international career followed, cooking in the Caribbean, Miami and the Middle East. Chef Federico has a philosophy of customer-centric adaptiveness – taking inspiration purely from what his diners want to see on their plates.
For mains I decide to try the Classica Pizza, a very simple but nice tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and anchovies. The pizza dough is fermented for a minimum of 48 hours to ensure the highest quality in both taste and texture. Wanting to try something less obvious my dining companion opts for the Tagliata Di Mattone, a chargrilled 300g rib-eye steak, served with rocket, tomato, parmesan, aged balsamic and confit cherry tomatoes. Admittedly I struggle with my pizza, having overindulged in the Parmigiana Di Melanzane means I only manage a few slices, however what I do eat, I enjoy. My dining companion, who clearly has a much better dining strategy than myself, enjoys his plate. The combination of the rich rib-eye paired with the almost sweet balsamic is, I am told, sublime. Feeling slightly full but craving something sweet we all opt to share a dessert and enjoy a round of tea and coffee.
Overall Mare Mare is a fantastic dining destination, the location and the scenery easily make this venue standout, but chef and his team have done well to create a menu that equally demands its own recognition. What I really like about this restaurant is that it lends itself to whatever you are in the mood for, be it a casual pizza and a few light bites or make an evening of it and enjoy 3 sumptuous courses. The staff are friendly, confident and happy to make recommendations. Apart from the carpaccio, that I am slightly wishing I had ordered, another great reason to visit Mare Mare is its host of delectable dining offers, especially Lobster Day which takes place on Wednesdays from 12noon to 10.30pm, guests are invited to enjoy sublime pasta with a fresh lobster cooked to their liking for a true taste of coastal Italy, all for just AED 220.
Parmigiana Di Melanzane, AED 55
La Burrata, AED 95
Carpaccio Di Polipo, AED 75
Classica Pizza, AED 85
Tagliata Di Mattone, AED 190