Boston >Restaurants >
135 Richmond St, Boston, MA | Directions 0210942.363143 -71.054116
Sun- Fri 4pm -11pm
Neighborhoods: Central, North End
This restaurant was recommended by two different concierges (Marriot Long Wharf and Park Plaza) so we thought it was a good coincidence. Now, I have to wonder if these people are paid for their referrals. We were told by one that this was the best seafood in Boston. Neither concierge was aware that we are really locals and know better -- but we decided to try something new anyway. Food was ok. We had tuna and sea bass -- the chef recommended the tuna be cooked medium are so I went with the chef's suggestion -- overcooked. The bass was very tasty. The owner offered us a glass of wine to replace one that spilled (due to the very tight quarters); we could tell right away that it was not the same wine. When asked, the owner was adamant that it was the same wine. Guess all that extra tannin was a surprise. Wouldn't bother to go back. If you want good sea food, go to Legal.
Probably my favorite restaurant in Boston – I love Mare but have only been two times. The restaurant itself is clean, hip and intimate. There is this cool light fixture that fills the dining area with an assortment of warm colors that changes every so often, creating a unique ambiance. The first time I went, I ordered the stuffed Maine lobster. It was absolutely delicious and I recommend it to everyone who goes. You will not be disappointed. The second time I went there, I wanted to try something different and ordered the wild boar pappardelle. This dish was also extremely good. I love pappardelle and this was possibly the best pappardelle dish that I have ever tasted. I also tried their bone marrow which was very good. I had never tried bone marrow before but I was pleasantly surprised. Mare is probably my most favorite Italian or seafood restaurant in the city. It is that good.
Would not recommend – We tried Mare for Restaurant Week, to which the meal was OK but would never pay what they are actually charging for these dishes. In addition, the alchol was outrageously overpriced including a house bottle of wine for $55 (I have never paid that for house wine at any restaurant in the North End). Also, it was extremely hot inside as if their AC was not working. People kept asking for the air to be turned up but they said it was at it's max so we all just used our napkins to blot sweat instead...ridiculous.
Surprised at high rating – The food was just ok. The same food at a place with an Entree' half the price would have earned a great review.
As others have suggested here, just the grilled octupus is worth the visit.
Very good seafood – I would like to start off by rebutting a few statements made by other reviewers. First of all, any time you see a restaurant with $30+ entrees, it should be small. Beware of any restaurant that can seat 150, and/or one which you don't need a weekend reservation for. Generally speaking, you can be sure your food is prepared with less care, probably by some first year sous chef or lower. Secondly, these restaurants are only in it for the money. Finally, if you have ever been to Italy, you will know that the majority of Italian restaurants are small and family owned, not corporately franchised. As for the bar scene, obviously you don't go to an Italian seafood restaurant for the bar. As for the food, we stuck to the seafood, because it is a seafood restaurant. I started with the grilled octopus, which was good. It came with a pesto sauce and a potato foam. My girlfriend ordered the chef's grilled fish sampler for her entree (a nice idea, more places should do this). It came with six fish, all great accept for the monk fish, which was dry (way overcooked). I ordered the whole sea bass, which was fantastic. If you have never ordered whole fish before, just beware of small bones than can stick or choke you. The service was on par for a restaurant of this caliber. My only complaint was that the waiter charged us twice for alcohol. I quickly noticed the price discrepancy and pointed it out to him. He immediately apologized and recalculated the bill for us. So just look over your bill before paying. But after all, you won't find any mathematicians who wait tables on the weekend. So in conclusion, very good seafood, good service, wine was fine, nice atmosphere, don't go to propose or to get trashed at the bar.
Best Bread Pudding Ever! – My boyfriend and I went to Mare for the first time & when we got there we saw that the place is really small. There is virtually no bar, so you can't sit and have a drink before dinner. The waiter arrived and was on top of us and pushed us to order when he arrived, took our drink order, delivered our drinks.... you get the idea. Anyway- we ordered the Bufala Mozz and it was insanely yummy. The mozz just melts in your mouth and the heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms with it are a great addition. Just before the apps came out a woman came over and said that our waiter went home so she would be taking care of us. She was wonderful, kept up with us without being in our faces. Our main dishes were not impressive at all. The Wild Boar was so salty that I couldn't eat more than half and my throat was on fire from it. His spaghettoni was good but being at 6'5" he was upset with the small portion. The dessert however was DIVINE. the vanilla bread pudding with caramel and Amaretto Gelato was the best I have ever tasted. I was fine, but he left hungry and ate again when we got home. End Result: go for Mozz and bread pudding. Eat dinner elsewhere
1st Time Restaurant Week Visit – We live about a 10 min. walk from Mare and it is in a good location and the outside is very appealing. The restaurant is beautifully decorated, although small, but is unique to most restaurants in the city. We were disappointed to find out they did not have bar to sit at and have a cocktail before dinner, but they did make us some drinks as we waited for our table. The lemon drop martinis are made with lemoncello and they are incredible!
We decided to order from the restaurant week menu and the mussels were fresh and delicious! Our dinners took about 40 mines to arrive after our appetizers, which were a bit annoying, but they were very nice about it and we were having fun anyway so it did not matter so much. I had the salmon which was very fresh and sweet, one of the best pieces of fish I have had in Boston. My husband ordered the gnocchi and it was ok, not great as the gnocchi seemed to be a bit too firm and the sauce was a bit tasteless. There are many other places in the North End to get better gnocchi. This is a seafood restaurant, so I would stick with getting fish here. Dessert was nothing unique but very tasty and fresh. We would go back, but we would order from the regular menu this time and stick with the fish dishes.
Lovely place – Went for an early Sunday dinner, and really enjoyed the experience. Our waiter (I believe his name was Giovanni) was very helpful in describing the dishes and specials. He helped us select wines by the glass and advised us that the primi course can be ordered in half portions.
I had the restaurant week menu - the mozzerella in the caprese salad was so fresh, and the gnocchi had a lovely sweetness balancing the earthy vegetables. Also samples were the truffle skate (very rich), the stuffed lobster (SOOO much food), fried clams (from Ipswich, with a light batter), octopus (the foam accompanying it was very interesting), and lemon pasta (a fresh, light alternative to oil & garlic). My menu came with the ricotta torte (basically a lemony cheesecake) for dessert.
The space is simple and fresh, and we enjoyed watching the videos of the Italian countryside on the TVs.
All in all, a really great experience.
Great North End Dining – Usually the North End is a destination I reserve for out of town guests with indiscriminate palates who want Italian food. The typical restaurant can serve a good version of pasta with marinara and meatballs, but is rarely notable. Mare, however, was awesome. The food was atypical for the North End with a focus on seafood and gourmet pasta rather than the usual, boring dishes that can be found anywhere on Hanover or Salem Streets. I started with the grilled octopus which, while smallish, was VERY tender and flavorful. I split the spaghetonni (spelling ?) with a friend for the second course and it too was awesome, tastes of (i think black) truffles and wile mushrooms with a creamy sauce were perfect for the fall/early winter Boston weather. For a main course, I had the Halibut which, though other reviews said was not worth it, I found to be great. The accompaniments were neither imposing nor unnecessary. I will definitely be going back. The service was very good, knowledgeable, and unrushed (though the server did have a difficult time helping us decide between a few dishes as he said our choices were "all very good" and "depended on personal taste"). Also, good selections of wine by the bottle including good reserves, though the at least the red wines by the glass could use a slight tweaking (only one Chianti, no Barolo and a seemingly randomly placed tempranillo for an Italian restaurant). All in all, a good experience with great food, will definitely return.
Worst high-end restaurant I've visited in Boston, BEWARE, the fish made us SICK – This was our second time at Mare, the first was right after it opened, and was terrible, but we chaulked it up to "newness" and not working the kinks out yet. Unfortunately, it was even worse.
The waiter wasn't friendly, and seemed like he just didn't want to be there, speeding through descriptions, and not enthusiastic at all. They then mixed up our wines pouring the wrong wine in the wrong glass.
The octopus was small and tasteless, and the other fish wasn't fresh by any stretch. I took two important clients there and I got the great call 2 days later that they got sick from the food. I wanted to impress them with true "itralian seafood" as I keep raving about restaurants in my home city of Pesaro (I was born on the adriatic coast of Italy, sea food central!)
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