Permanently Closed - Mare Culinary Lounge

4.1
252 Reviews
$30 and under
Italian

About

This restaurant is permanently closed. Pirozzi opened his first restaurant in Orange County, California almost a decade ago. Combining his charming personality and his time-honored family recipes Pirozzi created an authentic taste of Italy on Pacific Coast Highway.

Born in Naples, Italy, Pirozzi was the youngest of four children and the only boy. Growing up in a house full of girls was a constant challenge but fortunately for him, whenever the girls were teasing him, his grandmother, Nonna Ida, would rescue him and take him into the safety of her kitchen to help prepare dinner.The kitchen became his sanctuary. He fell in love with the different aromas, the flavors and learning the traditional techniques of preparing fresh homemade pasta. It was here that he learned the many secret family recipes and began his journey to become a Certified Italian Chef.
What 252 people are sayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1based on all time ratings
4.2
food
4.0
service
3.7
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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vipemecee32
Portland
17 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is the second time we visited Mare Kitchen. We live in Portland and the first time our SoCal friends introduced us to this gem. This time we visited on our own and again loved it. Great atmosphere, food, and service. Don't let the fact that it is attached to a Holiday Inn Express in Laguna Beach scare you away. You will miss a special place if you do.

r
vipreddo
Orange County
19 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2016
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Love Momma's meatballs and the eggplant appetizer!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2016
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Would recommend for the food ... but not necessarily the service.

n
neilb
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2016
Overall2food3service3ambience2

upon arrival I announced myself and said I have a reservation the young Hostess said oh ok and did not ask my name or give any ackonledgment really at all .
the patio is the place to be but there was not seating available it was 8PM on a friday night in laguna Beach Calif. the place was almost empty that is not a good sign
The caesar salad was ok but when we asked where the anchovies were they reply is "oh you anchovies that is $3 more "are you kidding me isn't that always on a ceasar ?
the food was ok for me but everyone else liked theirs . the lighting is terrible and this is a place that lights the candle on the table as people are seated if the candles were lit it would have been much better. it was so lax and uncaring this is a tiered place and the attitude shows it . I will not go back

SP
vipSandyP
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2016
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Beyond awful. So sorry Mare has new owner. Not the same place. Went from our fav restaurant to never going again.

b
brian
Orange County
23 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2016
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Mare cancelled our reservation 30 minutes before we were due to arrive. They said they had a wedding going on. We made these reservations 2 weeks in advance. Very shocking and disappointing. They transferred our reservations to another restaurant which was very noisy and hectic.

KG
vipKipG
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2016
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Slow services and not attentive

TR
TinaR
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2016
Overall4food4service3ambience4

All the food was tasty. My only complaint was they don't have a cocktail list, and attempts to engage the server regarding the bar's ability to make me a cucumber mint lime martini were rather unsuccessful. After some confusion, reticence, and back and forth (it turned out they didn't have cucumbers?), I gave up and got a glass of wine. The Martini That Never Was still appeared on the bill at the end, but it was resolved. All in all a good dining experience -- would return.

GR
GermanRoachk
Orange County
20 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2016
Overall2food2service4ambience3

The restaurant was empty on. Friday night? Very nice people, we had lemon cielo pasta with Lobster and Squid ink pasta with clams. We ordered a nice bottle of wine..$105!
The service was friendly the food looked great but everything was so over salted... Don't waste your time here it's in a Holiday Inn??
Go to the other store downtown Laguna much better!!
225 for two... 😕

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2016
Overall4food3service4ambience3

The food was very good but not outstanding. Service was very good and attentive and they offered a nice dessert with a candle for celebrating a birthday. Ambience was deflated a little bit because the restaurant was fairly empty. I'm not sure why because there are inferior restaurants in the area with more people going inside. They need to do something to the exterior to make it more inviting. It feels dark as you first begin to enter the restaurant. The Good Chef certainly deserves more customers than they had that night.

F
vipFinefoodie
Orange County
91 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2016
Overall3food4service2ambience2

Food was good as always. Service pleasant but very slow. Restaurant was half full on a Friday night in Laguna, not a good sign. Probably not many days left in the life of Mare.

P
Pickywicky
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wow, we couldn't believe we found this hidden gem in Laguna Beach. We love Alessi in Laguna and we love Priozzi in Corona Del Mar, but we can never get in there last minute. They are always so hustle bustle and busy. The food is amazing there but the ambience is noisy. And what do we find, the sister restaurant to those two, hidden in of all places the Holiday Inn in Laguna Beach! Who would ever think to go to a Holiday Inn and find this culinary delight by the same owners and menu as the other two popular hotspots. I hesitate to write this review as I'm not sure we want this secret to get out. Mario was an amazing server, a few months from Italy, and extremely attentive and accommodating. We loved the extensive wine list and the food was amazing, among the best we've enjoyed for these foodies.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on May 21, 2016
Overall2food3service1ambience3

We received a call early afternoon, confirming our reservation, and I asked if we could move it up 30 minutes as my family was caught in traffic,(from 5:00 to 5:30, they open @5:00pm) it was fine. When we arrived we didn't have a table, we asked for an outdoor table, and they said they had a party of 40 coming in at about 6:30 and if we could eat in that time it would be ok, not! We then searched for a table to accommodate us (6) by the patio front door, and it was too small , they sat us like 3, 2 and 1. I asked for another small table to be added, and they were not happy to accommodate us, but they finally did after the help kept discussing who should do what, but only after I started getting angry and headed for a small table to bring over, like 10 feet away! all in my party were upset. More people started coming in, and they were more concerned with getting them in,(party of 40+) and then several more parties of like 20,or 30 people. We didn't have a regular waitress most of the time, and I had to ask the bus boy for service most of the time. The portions were small, and the prices were high for what we got. We ordered a cheese and meat platter of our choice, and all of it was run together, it had shaved pieces of meat, with 6 tiny pieces of cheese on it, with a lettuce border, larger than the main items. My pasta primavera with chicken was 1 cup of pasta with a few chunks of meat in it. I am not happy with this place, and would not recommend it for any one. Also the parking was nonexistent, it took 30 minutes for my family to find a parking space, and they had to walk a long ways. We stayed 20 feet away with hotel parking for us. I might add that I made this reservation about 2 weeks before hand! 'nough said!!!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2016
Overall1food2service2ambience2

Chef did not plate the vegetables on their Lamb entrée. The wait staff did not even noticed.

JP
JerryPam
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on April 22, 2016
Overall2food1service1ambience3

Dining at 5 pm, my wife and I were one of only two couples in the restaurant. One would have thought with many staff buzzing around that the service would have been excellent. It wasn't . It was at times very slow. The food was mediocre at best. I had the beef mini ravioli. The sauce was bitter with an unpleasant aftertaste and the raviolis themselves were pasty . My wife's spaghetti had the same sauce with a mealy veal meatball. This restaurant is not inexpensive and we were expecting much more. It was an anniversary dinner (our 21st) and let's just say it is a dinner best forgotten.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 12, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We arrived at MCL and we were greeted by the lovely hostess. Our waiter made the perfect selections for us to diner "family style". The pasta was unbelievable and the sauces were unique and delicious.

Our guests were thoroughly impressed with MCL and we highly recommend it to anyone considering making a reservation.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 26, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was outstanding. The service impeccable. Jeff our waiter was knowledgable, friendly, professional and overall amazing.

M
vipMycroft
Los Angeles
65 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2016
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Chef Pirozzi experiment at the Holiday Inn continues to confound us. This is the third time we've visited.
Love the inventive combo of flavor and all round good quality ingredients - even love limited wine selection
Please upgrade your service. Please, else we'll go elsewhere

GC
vipGenoCapaccino
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2016
Overall4food4service2ambience4

Our overall experience as good as the food had some real highlights like the lamb stew/soup and the gluten free ravioli. The service was friendly but not as attentive as I would have liked. Our short rib dish as disappointing so would recommend staying with the Italian food options for best experience.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2016
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Waited forever at the door for someone to take us to the table. Once at the table, we sat there for 15 minutes and no once ever came to our table. Once the table next to us was seated and offered a drink order, we just left. Never again! First warning sign should have been that this restaurant was in a Holiday Inn! Haha

J
vipJimmymoore
Los Angeles
43 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2016
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Mare Monday group would like to meet on Friday now, and use the cards like on Mondays

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2015
Overall3food4service1ambience3

Definitely not worth the trip! Other affiliated restaurants are much better... There was 1 waitress covering half the restaurant that was open. She forgot our wine and when I asked about it halfway into our meal, she simply apologized. We ordered two glasses of wine instead but she yet failed again and brought one glass only. We quickly finished our meal and left. Horrible experience... Made it worse that it was Christmas Eve and we were trying to have a nice family meal. Will definitely not venture back... Pirozzi and other restaurants are much much better!

TM
vipTMan
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2015
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Love this place. They get the concept of customer service and the food is awesome.

SM
vipSteveM
Orange County
36 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2015
Overall4food4service5ambience4

High quality food at affordable pricing combined with excellent service. The only slight negative was that we had to sit outside due to a group party that occupied the entire indoor seating capacity. That said, the servers went out of their way to make our visit very comfortable.

1
10isgirl
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2015
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Nice place for Italian food. Can always get a reservation. Was a bit disappointed in the food quality this time...perhaps it was just an off night.

D
vipDouglas1
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2015
Overall5food5service5ambience4

When my girlfriend and I first saw it was in a Holiday Inn we were wary. We need not have been. Good ambiance, great food. Another nice find in a city of great finds. Worth a try if you're in the mood for something new

J
vipJimmymoore
Los Angeles
43 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2015
Overall5food5service4ambience5

food is great, and with laguna food and bar card, the prices are very reasonable, fresh pasta and meatballs are made here, and the seafood is great. Yvette is great bartender and server.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2015
Overall1food1service1ambience1

The WORST experience I have ever had at a restaurant, It was so hot inside (I called two days before for an outside seat, that didn't happen) We were sat and waited 27 minutes for someone to even take a drink order. Drink order was taken and drinks were received 13 minutes later along with our waiter who asked us what we would like, we started ordering an appetizer and he said "OK and for the main course?" We then told him we would like to take our time dining tonight and he said we MUST order everything at once. So we did without even looking at the menu. I ordered a RARE filet and received a cold hockey puck. Brown all the way through with a big slop of cold spinach. (the menu didn't say anything about spinach only potatoes and we did get potatoes....) after our appetizer i ordered a drink, and got about half way through my dinner when i realized wait I still haven't gotten my drink, so I had to walk to their bar area and request one. A Moscow mule. We have all heard of that right? It's a menu option here, however the bartender asks me word for word (can you tell me how to make that) I walked her through how to make my drink, while my husband sat and ate alone, Oh might I add it was our anniversary pretty awesome right? Don't ever go here. We were not the only people unhappy, one look around that restaurant OH THAT HAS ONE SERVER FOR INSIDE AND ONE FOR OUTSIDE everyone is rubber necking looking for server, rolling their eyes, getting up and walking out. It was TERRIBLE!!!

C
Casualdiner
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2015
Overall3food3service2ambience3

didn't know the restaurant was under the holiday inn, so immediately our expectations declined a bit. Reviews from others were good, so we gave it a chance. Hostess was a little flighty. The inside seating area was 90% empty, but the outside was totally full. So all the servers were really focused on the outdoor guests. We waited at least 10 minutes after being seated before anyone came to our table. We had burrata fritte for an appetizer, seemed to lack flavor and could have used more sauce, if only a server was available. Main course - lobster ravioli for my wife, mushroom risotto for me. Lobster had a slight fishy taste but overall was a very good meal. My mushroom risotto was delicious. We had chocolate soufflé cake for desert - very dry, actually cold on the outside and left a lot to be desired. Ice cream that came with it had pieces of ice in it. So overall, just ok. Ambience is cool. Probably won't go back.

FS
vipFrankS
Orlando
10 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2015
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Horrible food and service. Over rated. Manager was useless

j
vipjqgil
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2015
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Food was wonderful.
Just too noisy.
The low ceiling and hard surfaces make it just way too noisy with a full house. I mean, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!" noisy. Spend some money and install the much needed acoustic sound absorption on the ceilings and walls. Please.

CF
CherylF
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2015
Overall5food5service4ambience5

This restaurant was suggested by a local and we are delighted we ate there. We sat outside on the patio by a lovely fountain. The charcuterie plate was delicious you have three choices of cheese and three choices of meat. The burrata was particularly good but all of them were delicious. The wild boar gnocchi and the orechetti was delicious. They make pasta fresh everyday. We will definitely go back.

d
vipdanapointart
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2015
Overall3food3service3ambience1

Disconcerting when hotel guests walk through dining area in beach clothes.

F
vipFinefoodie
Orange County
91 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2015
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Always stellar italian

C
Caligirl
Orange County
29 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2015
Overall3food5service3ambience1

Love Mare. Come often. The moment we walked in we were hit with very loud music. You do walk into the bar area so I assumed the outside patio would be quieter. No. It was every bit as loud out there. You couldn't carry a conversation with your guests. I asked four times that it be turned down and it was.....eventually. By the end of the dinner, it was at an acceptable level. Now the music that was playing is great for a bar but not a nice restaurant. We're talking Blink 182, No Doubt, U2, to give you an idea of what was being played. It was very strange. Also, we did not get all that we ordered. Ordered the olives and they never came. Ordered the Mama Mia to go. Got home and it was just 1 plain meatball. The waitress probably couldn't hear us over the loud music. Food was delicious but I don't want to strain to hear what people are saying or yell to be heard while trying to enjoy a meal. I really hope this was an isolated event.

TK
vipTomKat
Las Vegas
17 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2015
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was flawless - atmosphere, decor, cuisine and staff. Our waiter, Juan, was fun, personable, knowledgeable and possesses a true passion and love for what he does. He made our evening extra special. We will definitely return the next time we are in Laguna.

l
lucampo
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2015
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The outside patio was pretty with outside lights hanging from the umbrellas and trees.
The drinks and wine were excellent and the table was very comfortable.
Even though the restaurant is located within the Holiday Inn. You feel as though you are at a boutique hotel in LA and it was crowded with people having fun and enjoying the evening. We ate at 5:30 P.m. before the Pageant of the Masters, and when we left, it was crowded, so I recommend making reservations ahead of time.

J
vipJeff
Central Coast
120 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2015
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always great with the added pleasure of our waiter, Frank

FF
vipFoodieFinds
Central Coast
15 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2015
Overall2food4service1ambience2

We've had many lovely, delicious dining experiences at Mare, but this one was a disaster. Very slow service, guests not getting their courses at the same time, the list goes on to whatever could go wrong, did, and the worst of it, the manager made all kinds of excuses ... none of which were valid. Despite all of that, the food was good (as it always is) but I was embarrassed by the evening as the restaurant was my recommendation for our guests. I want to give Mare another chance ... just not sure that I will.

e
vipevanh
Denver
32 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2015
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Never got to eat here. Entered empty restaurant with my party waited 10 minutes for someone to show up front from the restaurant staff. Gave up and ate somewhere else.

FAQs

Permanently Closed - Mare Culinary Lounge offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (949) 715-9581.

Permanently Closed - Mare Culinary Lounge is rated 4.1 stars by 252 OpenTable diners.