“The home-cooked flavours of coastal Italy.” Mare Mare
Two things were a must when I was booking a recent family celebration dinner. Italian cuisine (my favourite) and somewhere I had not previously been for dinner. Mare Mare at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort not only ticked both boxes but also has a great beachside location to add to its list of merits.
Mare Mare (meaning literally sea sea) takes traditional Italian cuisine and presents it with a modern twist. The menu is filled with delicious regional classics, plenty of fresh seafood and some specialties created by chef de cuisine Simone Federici and his team. Ever since sampling a few bites at a festive event it has been on my radar to return to enjoy the full experience.
The menu is vast and takes some time to peruse. Diners can indulge in caviar and raw seafood from the crudi section or a selection of signature carpaccio. There’s also antipasti, primi and secondi courses and a sharing option. The authentic freshly made pizzas looked tempting and, if you still have space, there’s a selection of classic desserts that includes a tiramisu. What’s a good way to gauge an Italian restaurant before you’ve taken a bite from the menu? The quality of its olive oil, balsamic vinegar and it’s wine selection, I can confirm they are all first-rate.
We enjoyed a selection of well presented dishes that were simple yet flavoursome. Two of my all time favourite dishes feature on the menu, burrata cheese with heirloom tomatoes and parmigiana di melanzane which I ate almost every day in Italy, so I was happy. We also had the seafood soup with fresh tomato and garlic croutons, the spinach salad with pine nuts, stracciatella cheese and fresh berries, carnaroli risotto with smoked eggplant and goats cheese and two enormous Milanese style pan fried veal cutlets served with a tomato, rocket and red onion salad with a mustard dressing. If you are a seafood lover or enjoy Italian style pizzas and fresh pasta this is the place for you.
The decor is neutral, a boho coastal vibe that wouldn’t look out of place on the Amalfi coast. An interior of light wood combined with an abundance of white and a central circular bar area, the star of the show is the semi-circular outdoor terrace gliding around the edge of the pool that perfectly captures the beach vibe. The alfresco dining area’s light decor is offset with aquamarine textiles and plenty of rattan.
Although the cuisine made it worth the visit, the service was slow and somewhat awkward and the lighting was way too bright for nighttime dining which made for a lack of ambiance. The daytime views from this location are amazing, who doesn’t like tasty Italian food with a view of the ocean, but would I go back at night? Probably not.
Location: Pool Side, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 811 4444
Opening Times: Saturday to Wednesday 12 noon – 11pm Thursday and Friday 12 noon – midnight
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2021. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort.