By Cheryl Mandell
Photos by Autumn Gates
The feast for your senses begins upon entering Mare Terra. Bold, beautiful abstract art by Mexican artist Gabriella Ramirez Vazquez adorns virtually every wall of the restaurant. Brightly colored chairs contrast neatly with the otherwise clean, white space of the interior. Whether it’s the striking acrylic and metal renditions on the walls or the carefully presented fine Mediterranean cuisine, Mare Terra is clearly making an artistic statement, and we’re listening.
“It took me a year to make the changes we needed to make at Mare Terra. I really wanted something different,” says Sal Sinzieri, the visionary behind Mare Terra, which means “sea and land” in Italian.
Sinzieri is a longtime Naples restaurateur, who moved from Sicily to New York as a child in the early 1960s. After working at Bice Ristorante in Manhattan for many years, he opened a restaurant by the same name on Fifth Avenue South in Naples about 20 years ago. Sinzieri also established two restaurants at the Village Shops on Venetian Bay — MiraMare and Fish.
The Bonita Springs location for Mare Terra may be familiar to local patrons – over the last two decades, the spot has been home to Anthony’s Trattoria, Noodles Cafe and most recently, Palladio, which closed last summer. Despite unforeseen renovation and supply chain obstacles, Mare Terra opened on June 27, 2022.
Sinzieri partnered with a restaurant designer and architect from Mexico City who also designed Bice and MiraMare, along with many restaurants around the world, including in England and Dubai. Sinzieri also enlisted the daughter of renowned architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez to use his space as a gallery. Gabriella Ramirez Vazquez created acrylic and metal interpretations of her Mexico City gallery work for Mare Terra, complete with scannable QR codes to receive more information and pricing for each piece.
The restaurant has over 150 seats, including several in an elevated section at the rear of the dining room. The full bar aligns with an open kitchen along the north wall, and the private dining area itself resembles a work of art, with a carefully stacked wall of wine.
Our waiter Jaime, with his vast experience serving in a multitude of fine dining establishments in the Washington D.C. area, pointed out that there’s no wrong decision on the menu. He highlighted his personal favorite, the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese with homemade tagliatelle pasta and traditional ragu bolognese, for a sweet-and-savory entree. The quintessential crowd pleaser, Jaime noted, is the Salmone Marinato, which is seared Atlantic salmon with a wine and fish fumet (stock), mashed potatoes and spinach.
“Everyone wants the salmon!” declares Jaime.
The menu at Mare Terra is extensive. A wide variety of starters, salads, pastas, pizzas, main courses — including Surf and Turf, Roasted Rack of Lamb and Black Grouper — plus classic Italian desserts, should please even the most discerning food critic.
The restaurant currently offers a three-course prix fixe menu and happy hour from 4-6 p.m. every day (excluding holidays) which offers half price well drinks, beer and house wine, and $8 pizzettas.
Mare Terra is open Tuesday through Sunday, 4-10 p.m. Beginning in November, once “season” is in full swing, the restaurant will be open every day for lunch and dinner with a late-night menu until midnight.
Experience an entirely artistic journey during your visit to Mare Terra. Once you taste it, you’ll be back again.
Anguria, Feta, Menta, Lebneh e Noci Macadamia Croccanti — This utterly refreshing appetizer is composed of a generous block of fresh watermelon, feta crumbles, mint leaves, drizzled lebneh (yogurt cheese) and macadamia nuts sprinkled throughout. The result is a uniquely pleasing Mediterranean appetizer.
Polpo Fritto alla Catalana — Blackened octopus on a cozy bed of tomato, mint and lime couscous, with a scattering of pine nuts, surrounded by pickled red onion, all in an eggless octopus mayo that has to be tasted to be believed. It wouldn’t be wise to pass up this starter!
Insalata Tiepida di Gamberi e Calamari — This warm salad beckons all seafood lovers with a bountiful portion of grilled prawns and calamari and an enticing combination of eggplant, mint and pine nuts. A great meal on its own or as a segue to the main course.
Branzino Ciliano — Arriving in a bowl lined with clear film, this oven-roasted Chilean sea bass definitely makes a statement. Clams, a medley of potatoes, olives, grape tomatoes, basil and thyme, marinating in a fish fumet that is so delicious, it can be delicately sipped with a spoon if so desired.
Scaloppa di Vitello alla Milanese — Gently, perfectly breaded veal cutlets are the foundation for this chart-topping main dish. Topped with arugula, baby tomatoes, sliced red onion, and shaved parmesan with drizzled balsamic glaze, there will be no need for leftovers here!
Coppa Spagnola — While this signature Italian dessert may be well-known in the Mediterranean, it is not often found on menus locally. It is an absolute dream pairing of vanilla and Amarena cherry gelato swirled together with Amarena cherries for a smooth, sweet grand finale.
28340 Trails Edge Blvd
Bonita Springs, Florida 34134