Battle of the Nonnas: Marino Ristorante Pits Venice Vs. Naples

Maria Marino: The wrong nonna to mess with
Maria Marino: The wrong nonna to mess with Photo: Marino Ristorante

Everyone knows that grandmamas kick major ass, what with all the hard candies, hugs, shiny nickles, and old world curses they dole out. On January 12th, two grandmothers with ties to local Italian restaurants will claw it out at Marino Ristorante, hoping to settle the ages-old Venice versus Naples rivalry through the vendetta-mending powers of a six-course dinner.

Representing Naples with scary, vicious aggression will be “Mamma” Maria Marino, mother to Marino chef and Il Grano owner Sal Marino. Holding down Venice with a bloodthirsty pride bordering on psychosis, “Mamma” Luciana Ongaro, mother of former All’Angelo chef-owner Stefano Ongaro, will be cooking using similar ingredients for dishes crafted in her own regional style. Both will vie for supremacy for their respective hometowns, but what tools will they employ to dispatch their most hated foes?

The days of stick-fighting on tiny Italian footbridges are alas, long gone. For the dinner, both of these brave nonnas will battle with ingredients. Course two will find both battling over the use of rice, course five will pit pasta creations against one another, while the final course will be fought over meat servings and epic, crashing crescendos.

No word on whether the guests will actually have to break-a the poor mamas’ hearts by declaring a winner, but a $65 reservation will get them a ringside seat with servings of each course. See the full menu below and make reservations at 323-466-8812. May the best grandma win!

$65 per person (includes a glass of Prosecco upon arrival)
$35 optional wine pairing


Mozzarelline in Carrozza, Polpettine di Vitello alla Ricotta e Radicchio
Mini Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches, Veal and Ricotta Meatballs with Radicchio

First Course:

Naples: Vongole Arreganate
Manila Clams Gratin with garlic aioli

Venice: Crostino di Baccala’ Mantecato
Toasted Bread with Salted Cod

Second Course:

Naples: Sartu’ di Riso
Arborio Rice Timbale, English Peas, Pancetta, Eggs and Artichokes

Venice: Risi e Bisi
Rice and English Peas

Third Course:

Naples: Stoccafisso con Patate
Fish Stock, Yellow Yukon Potatoes, Onions and Tomato

Venice: Dentice saporito
Red Snapper, Black Olives, Capers, Anchovies and Tomato

Fourth Course:

Naples: Paccheri di Gragnano al Ragu Imperiale
Double wide Rigatoni stuffed with Veal, beef and Pork ground meat

Venice: Bigoli all’ Anatra
Thick Venetian spaghetti with Pulled Duck

Fifth Course:

Naples: Braciola
Rolled Sirloin Steak stuffed with Raisins, Eggs and Pine Nuts in tomato sauce

Venice: Maiale al Latte
Milk Braised Niman Ranch Pork


Naples: Torta alla Ricotta
Ricotta Cheesecake

Venice: Torta di Pane
Venetian Bread Pudding

Battle of the Nonnas: Marino Ristorante Pits Venice Vs. Naples