Marea is one of the most successful restaurants to open in recent memory and the third highest ranked Italian restaurant on our list. It serves transcendent pastas and seafood conceived by Michael White, one of New York’s most exciting chefs at the moment. Marea has a sophisticated, cosmopolitan ambiance to it, with alabaster, imported wood, and carved Egyptian onyx, but the atmosphere is also warm and relaxed. It feels like a stylish club.

The pasta dishes at Marea are uniformly superb and served in generous portions. The fussili with red-wine braised octopus and bone marrow is rich, hearty and delicious. The spaghetti with crab, Santa Barbara sea urchin and basil is one of the most memorable pasta dishes we have ever eaten, bizarre and utterly winning. Perhaps the best of all is the Gramigna, a perfectly al dente curled pasta paired with wild boar.  The astice antipasti, a nova scotia lobster with burrata, eggplant al funghetto, and basil is haunting, a dish that lingered in our memory for days afterwards. Other items, like a dover sole and dry aged sirloin are excellent, but we recommend that you stick with the pastas unless you are a regular patron. 

The wine list is, as you would expect, Italian-focused, but short on heavy Barolos and Super Tuscans, opting instead to focus on lesser-known varietals and producers. Italy has a great many varietals and unless you are expert in Italian wine, let the sommelier guide you. Try the San Paolo Pievelta 2006 verdicchio by the glass for an excellent pairing to many of our recommended crudos and antipasti. The service is professional and adroit. But the chairs can be surprisingly uncomfortable — opt for a booth if you can.


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Midtown West
240 Central Park S.
New York (nr. Broadway)
Mon-Thurs, 12pm-2:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm, Fri, 12pm-2:30pm, 5pm-11:30pm, Sat, 5pm-11:30pm, Sun, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10:30pm
    Michael White, Chef
    Jared Gadbaw, Chef de Cuisine
    Francesco Grosso, Beverage Director