The word Mare means “sea” in Italian and is the highly appropriate name of the recently-opened Centara Grand Beach Resort’s signature Italian restaurant. As you sit in the elegant Ushaped outdoor colonnade and terrace of the restaurant all you hear is the rustle of verdant tropical foliage, the enticing clink of wine glasses and silver cutlery and the susurration of the surf on Karon Beach a few meters distant. The outdoor dining terrace overlooks shimmering ornate pools with a raised stage at its end upon which a gamelan player serenades with her haunting ancient notes, or later an Asian music and dance show is performed to entertain the diners. The restaurant’s charming location and ambience are only the first of the many beguiling pleasures that are bestowed
upon the visiting diner.
Within the stylish interior of the restaurant you’ll perceive the sparkling steel and glass components of the state-of the art open kitchen where resident Italian Chef Fabrizio Crocetta works his culinary magic with no less than ten assistants in a blur of energy and creative passion. In addition the restaurant boasts its own wine bar and tasting cave with a huge selection of fine vintages arrayed within the glass fronted wine racks.
Chef Fabrizio hails from Bologna in the north eastern corner of Italy and practiced much of his culinary trade at the beachside restaurants in Rimini on the Adriatic Sea. No stranger then to the delights of fresh local seafood, he has brought this particular passion to the menu he now offers at Mare. Interestingly, he says that the fish and seafood from the top of the Adriatic basin where he grew up, are fuller flavored and saltier than those he is now deploying from the Andaman which breaks virtually at his back door. The compensatory use of stronger sauces and sea salt are part of his response to this and the excellent results can be savored within the selection of Mare dishes.
The menu is a classical Italian one covering all the expected dishes without becoming fussy or overly complex. As mentioned, a strong seafood influence deploying local fish, squid, lobsters and shellfish from the Andaman catchment are a prominent feature. In addition a delectable selection of traditional and modern Italian dishes is on offer including a delicate antipasto selection, sampler platters and stone baked pizza.
As the restaurant serves both lunches and dinner from 11:30 am until a late closing at half past midnight, the lunch menu features a goodly selection of lighter dish- es, salads, sandwiches and pizzas, just the thing for a mid-beach day pit stop to re-fuel the hungry family troops before they return to their suntan oil-stained novels and constructions of ramparts and canals in the sand.
Chef Fabrizio’s own selection of signature dishes includes starters of Australian Wagu beef carpaccio with salad and 28 month aged Parmigiano cheese shavings, or sautéed squid with fennel and Parmigiano sauce. The home made potato gnocchi with imported rabbit ragout is an unusual treat and for the best of both worlds try the medallion of char-grilled Australian veal tenderloin plus seared yellow fin tuna, white lemon cream and caramelized leaks.
This reviewer would be remiss in his duties were he not to advise saving some tummy space for dessert. We managed to find space for the Variazione Al Limone of lemon sherbet, frozen lemon, candied lemon skin and lemon foam and the Millefoglie Con Crema – thousand sheaf layer cake filled with unbelievably addictive caramel cream.
Finally, Mare also boasts the services of a well-trained Sommelier, who is happy to give guidance and advice in selecting well-paired wine complements to the cuisine from a cellar that is extensive and covers both the classics and the New World from all the key regions and varietals.
Mare at the new Centara Beach Resort at the northern end of Karon Beach is certainly a huge addition to Phuket’s fine dining options.
Billy, Henrik and Krister welcome you to an unforgettable evening in a relaxing and spiritual atmosphere. We offer superb International cuisine, tender steaks, tasty seafood and inspirational Thai food. Don't miss out on our wide range of wines.