CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Marinella Trattoria, Beirut
Marinella - A Delicious Italian Lunch
Marinella: Le Coin Italien des Habitués
Marinella: Worth Skipping Work For
Unfortunately for you dear Italian cuisine lovers, Marinella only opens for lunch. You'll have to find a way to escape work or simply come on the weekend... Five years have passed, and still, Marinella is considered to be one of the best casual Italian restaurants in Lebanon. I love this gem, its spirit and positive vibes. In here, everyone is happy, people come to enjoy a pleasant moment, not to judge Marinella's cuisine.
You are welcomed by Sophie, the owner, who makes sure every detail is taken care of meticulously. Marinella has a menu, a limited menu, but also a specialty board changed on a daily basis. What a pleasant ambiance. A fully-booked restaurant with guests coming from all over the country meeting for a business lunch or a friendly get-together. Eating, smiling and shouting, I couldn't see but happiness on everyone's face.
Lunch starts with a basket of artisanal fresh bread as well as a plate of sliced salami.
The place: Built on two levels, Marinella hosts a terrace, a bar, and a dining area. Open the door where the bar occupies the left side, before taking the two steps down to the dining space. A mirror takes over the left wall, making the place look bigger. Around the high ceiling are posters of the family ancestors. Down at the end, an open kitchen with grilling sounds adds a relaxing, musical ambiance. A fridge, bottles and jars, a big preparation table and the metallic plate display. All the wooden tables are set with black placemats, two forks and two knives with a bottle of olive oil, as well as salt and pepper mills.
Let's eat: The crunchy vegetable salad is indeed crunchy. A mix of asparagus, fresh mushrooms, green beans, and rocket leaves mixed with a lemon sauce in a bowl. Green and white are the colors; crunchy is the texture and tastiness is the flavor. I enjoyed crunching into those one at a time.
I come here with one mission in mind: to enjoy again and again the bottarga pasta. Fine pasta cooked to perfection, al dente, and topped with shredded lemon peel, shredded bottarga (batrakh) and small pieces of parsley for the color, altogether leaving a subtle, enjoyable bitterness. That's a connoisseur's kind of plate. If you like "Batrakh" that's a must try. I also tried the carbonara, one of my favorite pasta dishes, cooked without cream; bravo chef.
What a great lunch, especially for someone like me, who is a big fan of spaghetti and risotto. I could eat risotto and spaghetti every day and believe Marinella serves the best this country has to offer. Simple and unsophisticated, lunch at Marinella is recommended.