12 Jan Marino Ristorante
It’s sometimes easy to forget about long-standing restaurants when we are always trying the newest place. But, for more than 30 years (since 1983), Marino Ristorante has been family owned and operated serving traditional Italian food to the Hollywood and Hancock Park communities.
Every morning at 5am, Mario Marino (the son of founder Ciro “Mario” Marino) can be found at the fish market, selecting fresh fish for the menu. Then you will find Mario at the restaurant, both at lunch and dinner, charming guests and suggesting wine pairings.
The menu is consistent with options ranging from antipasti, salads, soups and pastas to fish, chicken, veal and beef options. There are specials each day that feature seasonal ingredients from the fish and farmers markets. And, if you can’t decide what to order, try the five course tasting menu, which is what we did. At $65, this is a great deal. The tasting menu typically consists of items from the evening specials but if there is anything you really desire from the main menu, tell your server. In addition to the tasting menu, we asked Mario to pair each course with wine, which he eloquently did.
The night started with a glass of sparkling rose Mionetto Prosecco. It is nice to start the meal with a glass of bubbly. We were then served a glass of Villa Raiano Greco di Tufo from Campania. This crisp, minerally wine was the perfect accompaniment to pair with our vegetable antipasto platter.
The vegetable antipasti platter is not to be missed! If nothing else, come to Marino’s for this plate! The platter comes with two kinds of eggplant – peeled eggplant grilled and marinated in olive oil and garlic and Japanese eggplant sauteed with tomato, basil and Parmesan cheese. Cipollini onions in sweet and sour sauce, carrots, beets, sweet red peppers with black olives and capers and zucchini that was thinly sliced and then placed on top of the pizza oven to dry slightly before sauteing in extra virgin olive oil with mint, garlic and red wine vinegar are added to the platter.
A second antipasta plate of Carciofi alla Giudia (“Jewish-style artichokes”) [artichoke are peeled, sauteed and served with olive oil, garlic, black olives and capers] was also served.
Next was the refreshing and fresh salad of Burrata and Mozzarella di Buffalo with pears, arugula and walnut dressing, paired with Erste + Neue Sauvignon Blanc Alto Adige.
An Italian meal isn’t complete without a pasta dish and we had the Linguini with Scallops and Pomodoro paired with Coppo L’Avvocata Barbera d’Asti. The portion is just the perfect size – 3 or 4 bites.
For our fish dish, we had Scottish Wild Caught Salmon with fresh Scampi which was paired with a Summerland Pinot Noir from Santa Maria AVA. While this isn’t an Italian wine, it was a perfect pairing for the salmon.
As it is a new year, a dish of Cotechino con Lentichhie is in order. This hearty dish is an Italian tradition to eat on New Year’s Eve. The sausage is boiled, sliced and served with lots of lentils. They say that eating the lentils will bring you prosperity in the new year. Bring it on!
Our final course (before dessert) was Veal with Black Truffles and Mashed Potatoes, paired with Villa Raiano Aglianico from Campania. Anytime truffles are shaved over a dish, it’s a win!
We finished the meal with homemade Ricotta Cheesecake.The ricotta is house-made and candied fruit is mixed in. I will take ricotta cheesecake anyday. It’s deceivingly light, creamy and so good!
6001 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Mario is also co-owner of La Bottega Marino trattorias with his partner/brother Sal, who is chef/owner of Il Grano in West LA.