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Permanently Closed - Mare Culinary Lounge

252 reviews
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$30 and under
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Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Great for Outdoor Dining

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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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Hours of operation

Daily: 7:00am - 10:00am

Daily: 10:00am - 3:00pm on saturday and sunday


Monday- Friday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm; Friday & Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm


saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 2:00pm
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Phone number
(949) 715-9581
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Alessandro Pirozzi
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Off-site catering & event planning

On-site private dining

Pick-up Party Trays

Take out Menus

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Alfresco Dining
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Cross street
Cleo St
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Parking details
If street parking is full, free parking is available to Mare Culinary Lounge guests at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St Anns Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 252 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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vipemecee32 (Portland)
5.0  Dined on November 18, 2016

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.

vipreddo (Orange County)
5.0  Dined on October 29, 2016

Love Momma's meatballs and the eggplant appetizer!

OpenTable Diner (Orange County)
2.0  Dined on October 1, 2016

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

neilb (Los Angeles)
2.0  Dined on September 16, 2016

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

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
1.0  Dined on September 2, 2016

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

brian (Orange County)
1.0  Dined on August 13, 2016

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.

vipKipG (Orange County)
2.0  Dined on August 11, 2016

Slow services and not attentive

TinaR (Orange County)
4.0  Dined on July 2, 2016

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.

GermanRoachk (Orange County)
2.0  Dined on July 1, 2016

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... 😕

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on June 24, 2016

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.

vipFinefoodie (Orange County)
3.0  Dined on June 3, 2016

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.

Pickywicky (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on June 1, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (Orange County)
2.0  Dined on May 21, 2016

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!!!!

OpenTable Diner (Las Vegas)
1.0  Dined on May 8, 2016

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

JerryPam (Central Coast)
2.0  Dined on April 22, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (New York Area)
5.0  Dined on March 12, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (New York Area)
5.0  Dined on February 26, 2016

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

vipMycroft (Los Angeles)
3.0  Dined on February 13, 2016

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

vipGenoCapaccino (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on February 13, 2016

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.

vipOpenTable Diner (Portland)
1.0  Dined on January 15, 2016

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