Marino Italian Restaurant. Any opinions?
We had my friend's 40th birthday at Marino in the private/back room and it couldn't have been more perfect. Mario and Elodie were amazing helping set up the party (for 15 people) and creating a pre-fixe menu ($60 pp). The menu included vegetable antipasto, choice of pasta, choice of entree and cheesecake. They even made a special menu for us - that said Happy Birthday Ale!! The food was fantastic, especially the vegetable antipasto - I could have kept eating plate after plate of that. The staff was incredible - so welcoming and made us really feel like family. Mario kept popping in to make sure everyone was happy and enjoying themselves. We will definitely add Marino to our list of regular restaurants!
We went to Marino's 2 nights ago, and it was absolutely wonderful. I may be vilified for this, but we were given the choice of Osteria Mozza, Madeo, Angelini, or Marino's and both my husband and I independently chose to go to Marino's. It is one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles for authentic family Italian. Mario, the eldest son has recently taken it over, revitalized it, and the food is better then ever. The service is so wonderful, and they are willing to make anything to your specifications. We had a plate of clams oreganata that was to die for. A wonderful light caesar salad, and some mixed antipasto. As one in our party has some food restrictions, they were able to make him a Spicy Veal with Peppers according to his restrictions, and it tasted unbelievable. I had the Bucatini Amatriciana, and was literally licking the plate afterwards. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough.
8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048
6001 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
It's not really fair to consider Marino with places like Mozza or Angelini Osteria.
They're really different types of restaurants, aimed at different demographics -- and both are good in their own right.
I know this much, if I wanted a serene and quiet Italian dinner with a homey-touch, I'd opt for Marino. But sometimes that isn't what people want.
Funnily enough, after having driven past this place for 15 years without ever venturing inside, a Blackboard Eats deal finally convinced me to try it this weekend. Pleasantly surprised. Partly old school Italian-American red sauce joint, partly more adventurous Sicilian-inspired cuisine. Much smaller room than I had anticipated. Waited about 45 minutes for a table on Friday night (we just dropped in) but Mario, whom I'm supposing is the owner, was extremely nice despite the wait, even topping up our prosecco for free, and the overall vibe felt very welcoming. Food was good. Littleneck clams in white wine/garlic, squid ink pasta with calamari, artichoke heart salad, ragu with meatballs - all solid. Decent wine list too, Italian-heavy of course, with a few well selected by-the-glass selections for $10.
Overall, it also was a little more reasonably priced than expected. Including two glasses of prosecco and two glasses of a nice montepulciano, the tab was just over $100 before the BBE discount. It's not a place I would rush back to necessarily, but it's a very good neighborhood option, and I'm glad I finally checked it out.
Sure enough. This was an old school family run restaurant that been around for about twenty years. Comfortable booths, quiet and homey. Very friendly and efficient service. My wife had the 21/2 pound lobster and I had the veal chop which was butterflied and breaded.
The bread, pasta and the antipasto were all first rate. A great wine list. I will concentrate on the pastas when I return.
I've always liked Marino. Marino won't wow you with exotic or esoteric ingredients or preparations, but it is very authentic, high-quality southern Italian food. It's a very old school, Sicilian restaurant, but not a boring red sauce place. It has always been a family place, with the owner, Mario, and his wife at front of the house and their kids at various times in the kitchen. (One son is the chef at Il Grano.) Mario passed away last year, so I do not know how it has affected the restaurant. He was always a true gentleman who made you feel very welcome at the restaurant, whether you were a regular or there on your first visit.
They do great antipasto, so try to get a sampler of the antipasto from the front counter. Also, their fish is excellent. If they have branzino, it is always excellent.
Il Grano Restaurant
11359 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Marino's is an interesting place. It is one of my employee's all-time favorite restaurants so I've been there a lot. (For lunch.) I will say I enjoy it, but I will also say it is not someplace I'd go to (or choose) on my own .
Let me expalin: It's got a long menu, which I always find scary. (How could anyone do that many things well?) Gordon Ramsay would have a field day there. It's old fashioned in looks and more. Not really pretty. Definitely needs a facelift. It is very close to Providence and a real foodie would glance "thataways" and long for Providence. (There's no comparison.)
BUT I like it. Funny, huh? The people [I think I'm seeing the owner(s) or at least someone who certainly acts like one --in a very good way] are VERY nice. Very attentive (but not irritating) and gracious. My co-worker loves the canneloni so we always have that and I must say I like it. I like the warmth, kindness, the old fashioned-ness, the food even, and I havta say, we can always get a table. (I've found that a little sad, but then again I've only gone for lunch.)
Last time we were there, Dr. Phil was there with his son. To my surprise they were very friendly (Dr Phil and son, I mean). Bizarre Woody Allen movie-like experience. (Think Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall, but friendly.)
A caveat (as if it's my first) -- t'aint cheap!!!! Lunch even sets us back. I'd NEVER callit a value.
And that's my opinion! I'd be curious what others think.