Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines and I enjoy seafood as well so when Cal Mare posted its Dine L.A menu, guess who made a reservation asap! Located in the Beverly Center, the venue is a lovely blue and brown haven of coziness. One of chef Michael Mina’s many restaurants in the US, the specialty here is the seafood, with a few other options thrown in.
We chose the Dine L.A dinner menu, which had a good sprinkling of some of their regular menu items. The four course meal, including antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci and a glass of wine was only $59 per person, which I’d say is a mighty good deal for a restaurant of its caliber. Given we were also celebrating our anniversary, this made for a fine opportunity to get a taste of what’s in store at Cal Mare.
I loved the décor and service to start with, that makes an impact as you walk into the venue. For dinner, the restaurant was dimly lit but the pleasant sea blue pops against the brown furniture is a soothing choice. Seating options included booths and open tables. A bar in the center of the space grounds everything around it and the open kitchen is like front row seats to a well-rehearsed play.
For once, mentioning a special occasion actually made a difference. Most places don’t care if you are celebrating at their venue, much less acknowledge it but at Cal Mare that wasn’t the case surprisingly. Everyone from the hostess to our server made sure to wish us for our anniversary, and the staff very sweetly signed and placed a card on the table for us as well. We even received a little complimentary champagne to toast the night!
Moving on to food. I will have to head back to taste the regular menu but the Dine L.A menu offered three choices under each course which gave some room for exploring a handful of new to us dishes. The amberjack crudo and mozzarella with caramelized onion were great but the Sardinian octopus in tomato sauce was a tad bit too fishy for my taste buds though. Since we don’t eat pork, the staff very kindly advised on the ingredients in each dish and made some alterations to accommodate our dietary preferences.
The arctic char and rigatoni carbonara though were the best part of the meal – portions are plenty and we couldn’t put a dent on it given the previous courses consumed so in a box they came home with us. Desserts for the promotional period were canolis and gelato but given the colder weather in the city now we stuck with the cannolis – plain vanilla, chocolate and pistachio flavored.
Overall we had a great experience, made memorable by the fantastic service by the staff that night and certainly hope to head back again with friends. If you’ve been, I’d love to hear your experience here and any recommendations from the menu for when I head back next. Until then, I hope you are enjoying some Italian or seafood or both wherever you are. Dine L.A is on until the 25th so if you are in the city, you have just a few more days to enjoy some fabulous lunch and dinner deals at area restaurants. Saluti and buon appetito!