Sunday, August 30, 2015

Marina Grande

Marina Grande began life as a seaside bar in 1918 and then moved to its current location on Spiaggia Grande in 1935 overlooking the wonderful expanse of water enclosing the historical center of Amalfi. Waves break just near the covered terrace, which you can gaze at while you taste the best of the local cuisine.  This is a very popular spot, so reservations are highly suggested to avoid any long waits.


Marina Grande is committed to the philosophy of locally grown, organic food, known here as "Km 0". The fruit and vegetables are just picked from the garden, the fish bought from local fishermen, all which helps reduce the negative impact of transportation from the producer to the end consumer. Not only does this show respect for the restaurant's environmental impact, it also refines the seasonality, freshness, taste and uniqueness of their local products.


We started with an amuse bouche of cuttlefish with farro.  It was the most unique bite we'd had so far in Italy, and a great way to start the evening.


For my appetizer, I chose the Seared Scallops with black and white sesame, zucchini scapece, burrata cheese, and mint.  I adore scallops, and these were cooked just right and surprisingly paired well with the creamy cheese and fresh zucchini.  The sesame seeds added a unique nutty flavor that was accented by the local olive oil.  A delightful start!


Keith ordered the traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - fried eggplant baked with tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, and parmigiana reggiano.  We had seen this dish on almost every menu, so he finally decided to get it.  This version was a bit oily, but not much different than what we're used to at home.


For his main course, Keith ordered the Branzino - sea bass with potatoes, spring onion and a Mediterranean sauce of tomatoes, capers, and olives.  The large piece was cooked expertly with a nice crispy skin and fleshy meat.


I ordered the fresh catch of the day, which was Yellowtail topped with bacon and cheese on a bed of mashed pumpkin.  It was an odd combination to say the least, and the fish itself was way too tough.  I love raw yellowtail at sushi restaurants, but I guess I am not the biggest fan of the cooked version.  It's basically a fattier tuna steak, and was just not hitting the spot for me on this night.  I must point out that when we visited Rome in 2006, we remember distinctly being scolded by the local servers to not put cheese on fish.  However, many of the fish dishes we enjoyed during this Italy trip all came with cheese.  And it tasted great!  So, now we will not feel as guilty if we put cheese on our pasta dishes that have seafood when at home.


As a pre-dessert, we were served a dollop of cannoli cream with a dusting of chocolate.  Though it did not look the most appetizing, it tasted great.  Not too sweet.


Lastly, we shared the Lemon Sfusato Amalfitano - a dessert featuring lemon in three ways: a cake, sorbet, and yogurt cream.  My favorite was the lemon cake and sorbet, but I could do without the yogurt.

Marina Grande was the only restaurant we dined at that brought the check out right away without you asking, as they are a popular tourist destination and need to turn tables often.  This was a welcomed act for us, even though we enjoyed the moonlit view, we were also pretty exhausted from the day's activities, so we were happy to not have to linger longer than needed.  All in all we had another great seafood dinner in Amalfi.

Total Rating: 3.78
Food: 3.5, Price: 3.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 5

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