MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Gorgeous and sophisticated Marea couldn’t really be found anywhere other than Central Park South. Its urbane clientele ensures the atmosphere remains as elegant as ever and the restaurant keeps its side of the deal by providing expert, if at times erratic, service in a beautiful, light-flooded dining room dressed to the nines with high-gloss Indonesian rosewood. Fish and shellfish are the stars of this culinary show and Italian the chosen language. The quality and condition of the fish are top-notch, but that would count for little if the chefs didn't get the cooking process spot on—and so they do. Nothing commences a meal like crudo (and this kitchen offers around ten to choose from), but the sepia laced with olive oil, lemon rind, tossed soffritto and shavings of bottarga di muggine is a plate full of flavor. Other generously sized antipasti also make for great starter options; while house-made pastas are spot on and forever popular among the regulars. Looking for something different? Go for the grilled octopus, glossed in herbs, olive oil and served with smoked potatoes and pickled red onions; or halibut enriched by a bright butter sauce, smoked trout roe and roasted potatoes.