Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a restaurant critic and get to eat all the amazing food that goes along with the job? Brand new for 2019 we introduced “The Restaurant Review Dining Experience”! Only 4 tickets are sold to each experience for a more intimate dining experience. Go behind the lens with me to see how I work and taste all of the amazing food you have seen in my articles! Our very first RRDE happened on Wednesday, January 16th at Di Mare on South Beach. Di Mare is known for their French and Italian cuisine and this was going to be my very first time dining here, so I was really looking forward to this experience.
Growing up in Nice, France is where Chef Jean Zana learned to cook. He immigrated to the USA in 1982 and was drawn to the Vero Beach area because of it’s close proximity to the coast and a few of his friends were already living here. He turned his passion for cooking into a career while working for a small hotel restaurant in Vero. Several years later he relocated to Satellite Beach, FL where he opened The Dove restaurant. After 20 years in business he sold it and he decided to head back to Vero Beach where he opened Di Mare in 2010 with his wife Edyta.
Now let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what we had to eat!
Disclaimer: Due to the nature of the Restaurant Review Dining Experience event and the multiple courses served to everyone, the portion sizes show below in this review are all considered tasting portions and do not represent what you will receive when you order the same dishes at the restaurant.
Pierogi – I know you’re wondering what a traditional Polish dumpling is doing on the menu at a French and Italian cuisine restaurant, but that’s because Chef Jean’s wife, Edyta is Polish and she makes these in house from scratch. The pierogi are filled with mashed potato and a farmers cheese, topped with a bacon cream sauce, and was garnished with green onion. The wonderful aroma of the bacon cream sauce is what first hits you as they sat the dish down in front of us. The dumpling was perfectly cooked, very tender, yet a little chewy (a good thing) on the edges. It was generously filled with potato and farmers cheese and left us wanting more.
Goat Cheese Salad – Belgium endive, micro greens, crumbled goat cheese, Prosciutto DI Parma, roasted pine nuts, pistachios, and pecans topped with an orange blossom vinaigrette. I’m a fan of complex salads with lots of ingredients in them and this one was exceptional. Everything was very fresh and quite tasty!
Filet Mignon au Cognac – A pan seared center cut tenderloin of Black Angus beef is topped with a Cognac cream sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. A steak knife was brought out for this course, but comments from around the table was that the steak was so tender, the knife was not needed, and I had to agree. The steak was cooked a perfect medium and the cream sauce was quite flavorful. The potatoes were nicely presented and had a subtle garlic flavor and were unbelievably smooth and creamy.
Dover Sole Almandine – The filet was lightly floured and pan sauteed in butter with a touch of lemon. The sauce over the top was a lemon beurre blanc sauce. Sauteed spinach and Angel hair pasta were served alongside. The fish was nicely seared on the skin side and had a little crunch when taking a bite. The sauce was a nice accompaniment and added a bright pop of flavor to the dish.
Canard al’ Orange – A baked duck breast with crispy skin was served with a potato gratin and topped with a Grand Mariner blood orange sauce. The duck breast was perfectly cooked and quite flavorful. Comments from around the table were that the potato gratin was fabulous! The potatoes were perfectly tender, and were brown and crispy on the bottom.
Coconut Rum Bread Pudding – It’s made with fresh blueberries & raspberries and was topped with a dulce de leche sauce. We were all pretty full from all the previous courses, but we managed to make room for this delectable dessert. Texture was spot on and surprisingly not overly sweet. It was a perfect way to round out our wonderful evening!
I think Di Mare flys under the radar here in Vero because of it’s location on South Beach. Not being directly connected to Ocean Drive where all of the activity happens does not help to bring people just casually driving by in to dine here. Di Mare is a destination that you need to seek out and go out of your way for. The food here was spectacular and worth the short drive to South Beach and give these guys a try, I know you won’t be disappointed!
I have more of these types of experiences planned this year, but unfortunately, our next two have already sold out. With only 4 tickets available for each event, you have to act quickly if you want to attend. I’m heading to Costa d’Este and The Wave next month, and in March I’m heading back to Cobalt to check out the new chef! Keep checking Vero Beach Foodie Facebook events for updates!
Address: 1517 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963
Open 7 days a week for dinner, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm