Open Today: Maradentro Studio City

What: Maradentro is a Mexican seafood restaurant in the former location of La Ventura in Studio City.  The space is completely unrecognizable with white walls, blonde wood floors, sea blue chairs and ocean-themed wall art. Who: This is the third concept for restaurateur Jesse Gomez and Chef Jose Acevedo of the Mercado restaurant group (LA, Santa Monica, Studio […]

What: Maradentro is a Mexican seafood restaurant in the former location of La Ventura in Studio City.  The space is completely unrecognizable with white walls, blonde wood floors, sea blue chairs and ocean-themed wall art.

Who: This is the third concept for restaurateur Jesse Gomez and Chef Jose Acevedo of the Mercado restaurant group (LA, Santa Monica, Studio City) and Yxta Cocina downtown. A second Maradentro is set to open in Eagle Rock this summer.

The food: Seafood with twist and a kick includes: guacamole de longosta (lobster), oysters “rajafeller,” hamachi, pan de tuna (ahi with avocado-wasabi and fried shallots on ciabatta, surf and turf (lobster taco and filet mignon taco) and chile relleno de siete mares (poblano chile with scallops, mussels, white fish, clams). A meat highlight is carnitas—decidedly one of the best dishes at the Mercado restaurants. Prices for apps and entrees: $11 to $24. 

The drinks: There is a select yet interesting cocktail list created by Cesar Arenas that starts with a theme: the Michelada del Mar with Dos Equis amber, house michelada mix and, of course, shrimp. The Maradentro margarita has white tequila and passion fruit with simple syrup and black lava salt on the rim. The SMP is a sweet and spicy mix with shishito, mango and BarSol pisco. Tamarindo tea is made with Casamigos silver tequila, fresh tamarind, lemon juice and a crema de mezcal float. And a toast to the neighborhood: the Laurel Canyon Burro with whiskey, ginger syrup, maple syrup, lime juice and ginger beer. Also offered: 10 beers from Redondo Beach to Spain and Japan; 11 global white wines, including Champagne and prosecco; and three local reds.

The deal: Happy hour runs Monday to Saturday, 5 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 4 to 7 p.m., with a good number of the regular menu items running $5 to $10 and a few beers ($4), draft chardonnay ($7) and two margaritas ($7 and $9).

The lowdown: I’m a big fan of Mercado and the seafood choices, so I'm really looking forward to checking out Maradentro.

Oysters "rajafeller"

Chile relleno de siete mares

Pan de tuna

Chocolate flan (shaped like a fish!)

Maradentro, 11929 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, maradentrorestaurant.com

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