A chic 100-cover restaurant in Marylebone with a menu specialising in premium Italian seafood from the Tyrrhenian sea.
Entrepreneurial restaurateur Andrea Reitano who, having been a partner in the opening of Mayfair’s now defunct Assunta Madre in 2014 aged just 20, now owns and operates four restaurants: Caffé Rei in Mayfair, Osteria Romana in Knightsbridge, Kowa in Milan, and Forte dei Marmi in Miami. Dividing his time between the three cities, Reitano now plans to expand his restaurant business further, not just in London but internationally.
While a special meat-lovers menu is available on request, seafood is Santo Mare’s principle focus. The selection is vast and the prices are high, but there’s a no frills authenticity to the dishes. The food is effectively simple; the fish, sourced from day boats in the Mediterranean Sea, relied upon to do most of the work. Raw fish plates include tuna tartare served on a bed of crushed potatoes (£20); langoustine carpaccio (£30); seabass tartare with avocado and lime (£20); and Tarbouriech oysters (£4 each). Diners who prefer their seafood cooked can choose a rich dish of fried squid on a bed of chicory (£15); a mixed plate of fried fish and shellfish (£25); and broccoli with shrimps (£28). The restaurant’s signature dishes are gnocchi served in a sauce of cherry tomatoes and red shrimp, topped with pecorino cheese (£26); and a salt-crusted seabass with roast potatoes that’s designed for two or more to share and priced at £85 per kilo. Although the risotto, cooked with cuttlefish and artichokes (£24), is the menu’s standout.
Reitano oversaw the interior design himself, with the restaurant’s appearance reminiscent of Assunta Madre. Like that restaurant, here the look attempts to balance rusticity with luxury. Adjacent to the main entrance, a giant pescheria holds polystyrene crates filled with ice and packed high with fresh fish including lobster, langoustines, oysters, saddled bream and snapper. Adding an air of rich indulgence is the low lighting and cheery wood hues, although it’s slightly undermined by the maritime paraphernalia and blown-up black and white fishing photos that adorn the walls.
And another thing:
As well as Santo Mare, Reitano will launch his sixth restaurant this month. Osteria Napoletana, opening in Notting Hill, will serve regional Neapolitan dishes including linguine all Nerano – linguine with lightly fried courgette slices and parmesan cheese – and La Zeppola di San Giuseppe – a fried doughnut with custard and cherry.
87-89 George St, Marylebone