Have you been outside lately? This weather is astounding. Spring showed up in January and summer is pretty much here. What are you doing about it? Traditionally, Fire Up the Grill Season doesn’t start until Memorial Day weekend, but that’s no reason you can’t find other ways to eat outside and enjoy this amazing weather.
That’s where Bistro di Marino steps in. They’ve opened their courtyard for the summer, and the setting is magnificent. Streams of golden lights, tiki torches, a beautiful stone fountain; if there’s a more beautiful, romantic spot to eat in Collingswood, I haven’t found it yet.
Bistro di Marino, if you haven’t eaten there, falls on the casual side of the gluttonous fence of Italian eatery in Collingswood. That’s not to take anything away from Bistro di Marino; they play that casual card as a strength, offering delicious, unpretentious Italian food in an atmosphere that makes even first-timers feel like regulars.
It also allows flexibility with their menu and promotions. Last summer, diners in the courtyard were treated to free mussels with their entrees on Tuesday, all-you-can-eat crabs and pasta on Wednesdays, and a giant, 60-inch plasma TV with which to watch our beloved Phillies.
I arrived this week to sample Bistro di Marino’s Chef Menu, a special three-course prix fixe menu currently offered on weeknights. The menu changes every week and, I was surprised to note, isn’t pulled from the regular menu.
The breakdown is an appetizer, a pasta dish and an entrée. This week, I was able to try some delicious mozzarella sticks, house made with fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto before being breaded and fried. Also on the menu and equally tasty were a garlicky rigatoni caprese, creamy gnocchi Florentine, risotto with chicken and shrimp skewers and veal wrapped in mozzarella and prosciutto.
All of the food off the Chef’s Table menu was very good, and for $20, you’ll have a hard time finding a better deal on Haddon Ave. What’s more, a new Chef’s Menu every week keeps it interesting.
If you’re looking for a nice meal on a pleasant night this summer, you need look no further than Bistro di Marino.
- Speaking of Bistro di Marino, they’re currently installing an outdoor “mixer” bar in their courtyard to be ready for summer. Bring your own bottle to enjoy your favorite cocktail!
- Casona just opened their patio seating, so there will be more than one place this summer to enjoy the atmosphere.
(Have some restaurant news from the Collingswood/Haddonfield area? Want to see your favorite restaurant profiled in this column? Email David Valiante at email@example.com.)