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Second generation operated ethnic restaurants include marino ristorante in East Hollywood. Los Angeles Magazine’s “best” pick restaurant host, Mario Marino, shares responsibilities. Brother Sal (former owner-chef of Il Grano, La Bottega Marino), oversees the kitchen.
(Marino ristorante) is one of the 31 restaurants in Los Angeles to be awarded the The “Ospitalita’ Italiana – Seal of Authenticity”. Restaurants have to pass an extensive series of rigorous tests for authenticity, from a percentage of denomination Italian wines on their list to the menu being written in perfect Italian, and Italian-speaking staff.
Dad Ciro (who passed away in 2009) created Marino Ristorante as an old school formal dining room in 1979. The menu is respected for being as fresh as the fish and seafood the brothers continue to carefully pick out each morning at the downtown markets. Sal is a familiar face at local farmers markets, and has so many tomatoes in his own garden he holds “tomato dinners” several times each summer.
“Marino” means “the sea,” and here fish and seafood star among the Neapolitan comfort dishes. Marino was the first restaurant to feature whole Branzino (Chilean Sea Bass), filleted table side. The kitchen still offers it three ways: grilled, Blackened and baked in a coating of sea salt, filleted table side.
Once known affectionately as the “unofficial Paramount Studios commissary” for power hitters and celebrities, Frank Sinatra held in the back room (after personally recruited Ciro to be his private chef at Martoni’s). White tablecloth tables and booths still hold political officials, musicians, entertainers and producers with household name recognition though their privacy is respected..
Marino cuisine classic options are healthy – vegan bread is baked in ancient Roman style, with a similar recipe also used in the award-winning pizza crust. Marino’s Chestnut Pasta has been featured in Los Angeles Magazine. Gluten-free pasta choices, such as the wild mushroom fettuccine show here please for vegetarians and vegan. For carnivores, there is the pappardelle Bolognese, plus steak and lamb dishes. The signature Neapolitan, Chicken Vesuvio, heads the list of poultry dishes. Marino also features organic produce (featured on National Public Radio), and homemade desserts.
Ciro was always a cutting-edge trend-setter since his days as head captain at the legendary Villa Capri. He later managed Martoni’s, one of the city’s first celebrity-driven eateries. Sonny Bono wrote, “I’ve got You Babe,” after host Ciro requested he go home and change to follow the restaurant dress code. He originated the first outdoor patio dining spot on Sunset Boulevard, which soon became such a popular after-hours hangouts for restaurant insiders, the proprietor did not arrive home till dawn. And the innovator operated the first restaurant “take-away” section, still popular at marino ristorante with its kitchen window visible from the street.
Ciro left Martoni to raise his young family in Naples, returning in 1982 to open Marino. There the signature mealThe anti pasti (shown here), that became so popular it earned a showcase of its own at the door. The health department declared it’s se days the case is at Marino La Bottega deli instead!
The signature ricotta cheesecake currently boasts three pages on google, including a video. A featured item at many invitational charity events in the city, Mario and hostess Rita serve it here.
www.marinorestaurant.net. marino ristorante, 6001 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038,(323) 466-881. Order online for pick up and delivery. Lunch Mon-Fri; Dinner Mon-Sat. Reservations suggested; children welcome; valet parking, casual elegant, private room.
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