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Jan 28, 2011 06:48 AM

To anyone who has dined solo at Marea...

Marea has been on my list now for far too long (I haven't yet been able to come up with a sufficiently special occasion to merit such extravagant pricing). But since I now have an OpenTable reward cheque that expires within the month, I figure it's time to treat myself to some solo dining at the bar.

So I'm curious, I've seen Marea mentioned several times as a good place for solo diners. How was your experience/what did you order? I'm mainly interested in trying the ricci and the fusilli, but I know the ricci is listed as something to be shared by the table (even though it's only two pieces, right?). Anyway, I don't really want to gorge myself on lardo so I was wondering if anyone has ever been successful in requesting a half order? I figure I'm going to feel slightly intimidated eating at the bar anyway, I don't want to annoy them with a special request that will make me look more ridiculous. Any chance they'd be more likely to accommodate me if I requested half portions of two starters (like the ricci and zeppole), or is this going to be something they just don't do at all?

Curious as to anyone's strategy at getting the fullest possible Marea experience when dining alone...I should also note I don't really want to spend or eat a ton, and I'm not interested in the secondi, just the pastas and maybe an app/crudo.

Oh and can someone please confirm for me- can you redeem OpenTable cheques at any OT restaurant regardless of whether you have a reservation, or do you have to have made an OT reservation for that night?


240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Dining solo at the bar at Marea is always a pleasure. The bartender is really nice, so don't worry about being intimidated. For the Opentable checks, I think you should confirm that with the restaurant beforehand,

    The crudo portions are small, so I would not worry about half orders. You could also get a crudo sampler (three selections I think). To maximize your first experience at Marea, I think you'll be fine with the ricci, an appetizer (perhaps the astice or grilled octopus), fusilli (or maybe spaghetti or risotto mare), and if you're not too full, dessert (panna cotta, affogato, gianduja...). Enjoy!

    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    1. i have not dined there solo, but i assure you there will be no issue if you do. even if you ask for a table and not the bar.

      the ricci is small enough for one - in fact my only complaint i have about the place is that they list that as for sharing, when it is really 2 small bites. delicious, a fine appetizer, and i'm happy to share, but the marketing makes it seem like it will be a much larger dish than it is.

      so go - order the ricci and the fusilli. it's fantastic, and you'll have a fine time

      2 Replies
      1. re: thew

        In the OpenTable FAQ section, it does state you should book a table via OT in order to use your check.
        But it sounds like more of a suggestion rather than a rule (since it is not mentioned otherwise on the site), so I'd give OT a call (800-Opentable) and ask.

        1. re: boredough

          Given Marea's fame, I'm not sure why the OP would want to go without a reservation?

          Even dining for one, you might as well make one. Doesn't hurt.

          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

      2. I dined there solo quite recently. Enjoyed a wonderful meal at the bar.

        If you aren't interested in eating or spending a lot, the lunch prix fixe is perfect: $42 for one primo and one secondo. You can get one crudo and one pasta and have a delicious but not huge lunch.

        I wouldn't feel intimidated eating at the bar. It is the the easiest, most liberal route to eating at a restaurant.