Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Welcome to Marelle: a Vibrant Ode to California Cuisine

New beachside restaurant and bar by Santa Monica native and renowned chef, Raphael Lunetta, opens today

(6.17.24) - editor's note: Marelle restaurant under Culinary Director Raphael Lunetta, is now open at 1740 Ocean Ave. Lunetta also did Santa Monica restaurants JiRaffe and Lunetta. The following is excerpted from their press release:

Drawing from (Lunetta's) 35 years of culinary experience and inspirations from classic Coastal California cuisine, his travels from around the world, and the richness of farm-fresh local ingredients.

Marelle, which means "Star of the Sea," offers more than just seafood; the menu celebrates the bounty of ingredients from land and sea, seamlessly blended with bright flavors. Signature dishes on the current summer menu include: hamachi crudo made with jalapeño kefir lime ponzu; local Farmers Market fruit cocktail; duck confit with fresh cherries and almonds; Jidori chicken over stone-ground polenta with roasted peppers, summer peaches, and shishito peppers; plus, an ever-changing fish special, such as California sea bass grilled in banana leaves. 

"It's been an incredibly exciting journey to bring the vision for Marelle to life within the eclectic culinary community of Santa Monica," says Chef Raphael Lunetta. "Having grown up and celebrated so much of my life and career in Santa Monica-even attending high school a few blocks away from this property-Marelle is a beautiful addition within the community that has supported me through everything thus far."

Welcome to Marelle: a Vibrant Ode to California Cuisine

The bar program, curated by Beverage Director Amanda Fewster (previously etta and Cal Mare), encourages guests to celebrate life for any reason and "drink to nothing at all." Marelle's signature cocktail menu features fun, inspired creations, including a unique twist on the classic paloma: "La Vie En Rose." This drink is served in a bespoke clay cup, allowing guests to don a pair of rose-colored glasses and embrace the joy of the moment. 

Another signature cocktail served in an extraordinary form is the "Star of the Sea," a California take on a classic vesper that comes in a seashell-shaped martini glass. Marelle's beverage program utilizes spirits and wines from local brands, women-owned brands, and BIPOC-owned-and-operated brands such as Amass (women owned, and created by Morgan Mclachlan), Gray Whale Gin (locally made by a husband and wife team that utilizes local California coastal botanicals with a percentage of proceeds of their sales donated to the Oceana Organization to help save the whales), and Marelle's rosé by the glass is made in Valle de Guadalupe by winemaker Jorge Maciel, who is inspired by outer space, a tie into Marelle's name, meaning "star of the sea". 

Marelle's thoughtfully designed space is brought together by acclaimed Icelandic designer Gulla Jónsdóttir and a testament to natural beauty and elegance. The design features an organic color palette inspired by the neighboring sand and sea, with an array of textures like woven fibers, soft linens, and contemporary clay art pieces, including handmade ceramic pendant lamps designed by Gulla in collaboration with Laviva home and made by their team in Oaxaca, Mexico. The indoor dining area boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that open fully to the lush outdoor patio, creating a seamless and free-flowing ambiance.

Welcome to Marelle: a Vibrant Ode to California Cuisine

Open for all-day dining, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Marelle offers 187 seats total: a bright and airy patio that seats 72 (with a 10 seat and 6 seat private dining tables), lounge and bar seating for 25 seats, a main dining room accommodating 80 guests, and an indoor private dining room for 10.

Marelle invites you to experience a culinary journey that celebrates the flavors and spirit of Coastal California. A place where food and design harmonize in one. 


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