Tucked away in New York’s prestigious Central Park South neighbourhood is Michelin-starred Marea – an Italian fine-dining restaurant fronted by Chef Michael White, the world-renowned chef that has been dubbed The King of Pasta. In March 2019, Marea brought its NYC-cool attitude and award-winning dishes to the heart of DIFC and we couldn’t resist a visit.

Upon entering Marea – masked and temperature-approved – we were given the choice of sitting in the stunning dining room, luxurious lounge or outdoors. Given that it was our first visit (and that our Dubai-ness meant 20 degrees was a tad too chilly for dining al fresco), we opted for a safely distanced table in the buzzing dining room.


After perusing the extensive menu, we were stumped. Presented with the ultimate first world problem, we simply could not choose one dish. Thankfully, super-helpful staff – special shout out to General Manager Mehmet Orhan – did the difficult work for us and directed us to Executive Chef Yunus Emre Aydin’s recommendations. For starters; fresh lobster atop creamy burrata; spectacular grilled octopus with Sardinian fregola; and a perfectly balanced beetroot salad with goat’s cheese for a light addition to the meal before pasta-mania began.

Next came the pasta course. After all, one can’t visit a restaurant created by The King of Pasta without having said pasta. We happily tucked into a rich, veal-filled homemade ravioli topped with mushrooms, while our guest (also happily) devoured the garganelli with mushrooms, parmesan and a neat mountain of black truffle. Much to our relief, we were offered a bite, before mutually agreeing that it was some of the best pasta we have ever tasted (Italy included).


Fully embracing the Italian way of life – after a brief break and waistband adjustment – we continued our delicious journey through the menu and were presented with the delicate sea bream fillet, which was highlighted by a simple, perfectly dressed salad and a squeeze of lemon. We ended the evening on a sweet note with Marea’s signature espresso tiramisu and delicious panna cotta, which, by the way, was sprinkled with both rock salt and aged balsamic and has officially been ranked as our favourite dessert in the city.

All in all, it was a glorious meal. Every aspect of the Marea experience was impeccable; from the exquisite food, warm staff and lively (but dinner-appropriate) ambiance. A memorable first visit, and definitely not the last.

Photos: Supplied