Sunday, May 26, 2024

Maretalia Revamped with Impressive Oyster Bar and Pasta Room

Photo credit: Blue Bridge Hospitality

Since Blue Bridge Hospitality took over the former Vigilucci’s location in July 2017, they have been making changes through a multi-phase remodel and are now ready to unveil the completed grand and inviting new look and menu. My family and I went in to check out Happy Hour on a recent Friday evening and were warmly greeted and promptly seated at the 24-seat wraparound island bar, which we were told was designed to channel Italy’s coastal essence with handmade Capri blue porcelain tile contrasted with white Calacatta marble. You are given the choice of sitting at the bar or at communal tables with banquette-style seating, all of which offer amazing views. The large 1,800-square-foot indoor-outdoor cocktail bar and lounge has been dubbed “The Raw Bar at Maretalia.”

Photo credit: Blue Bridge Hospitality

David Spatafore, owner of Maretalia’s restaurant group, Blue Bridge Hospitality, shared, “The new space was designed to be a better fit to our coastal town. The bar moved upfront feels so airy and bright. You can see the ocean, people watch Orange Avenue, or enjoy the beautiful trees that are on Churchill. The new patio is detailed with Manguris Red Hardwood Screening and dozens of plantings. The dining space matches the beautiful sunset views out the wall of windows. All art is by local San Diego artists and to be sold for them.”

We enjoyed a charcuterie board and delicious hearty meatballs in an authentic sauce that we used to dip our bread in. The people next to us raved about the Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta and the house red wine. All of the bartenders were friendly and kept up with the fast-paced tempo. The bar menu is impressive and consists of signature and specialty cocktails, like the Smoked Negroni served in a cedar-smoked glass, the refreshing Fennel+Lemon Sparkler and a wide amaro selection. A Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, as well as grappa, vodka, whisky, rum, gin and after-dinner drinks are also served.

Maretalia Raw Bar. Photo credit: Blue Bridge Hospitality

An impressive eight-foot Raw Bar is one of the two visible culinary hubs, offering guests an evolving menu of bivalves, crudos, crab claws, shellfish, composed oysters and seafood platters.

Chef Ronnie Schwandt
Chef Ronnie Schwandt.
Photo by Jim Sullivan

Another highlight is The Pasta Room where Executive Chef Ronnie Schwandt gives diners a front-row view of the culinary action from the newly transformed 70-seat dining room.  The pasta kitchen has space for production, research and interaction, creating fresh pasta daily, along with a selection of artisan cheeses and house made breads. Small group pasta-making classes are in the works and will soon be offered.

Pasta making. Photo credit: Blue Bridge Hospitality

The updated menu highlights Mediterranean and Italian influences and offers seasonal entrees, including local swordfish and a seafood stew filled with lobster, scallops, clams, and halibut. Diners can also choose from sharable small plates and salads including lobster stuffed squash blossoms and Amalfi-style octopus. The ever-evolving handcrafted pasta menu is a highlight with choices like squid ink gramigna with venus clams, saffron and mussel broth and campanelle with heirloom tomatoes, olives, capers, arugula, chives and tarragon.

Seafood stew. Photo credit: Blue Bridge Hospitality

“To be able to explore chef driven seasonal dishes with fresh house made pasta and fresh seafood will define a ‘new’ restaurant for Coronado. We don’t want Italian food to be defined as spaghetti and meatballs. Italy has 4,700 miles of coastline that is very similar in climate to California. Italians are one of the benchmarks of Mediterranean cuisine, which is defined by fresh and available ingredients. This will also be a good compliment to current Blue Bridge Hospitality locations,” comments Spatafore.

To top off an impressive meal, the sweet treats feature decadent deconstructed tiramisu topped with warm espresso, as well as Red Warm Poached Pear with burnt cinnamon cream, oat crumble and salted caramel, whipped up by Blue Bridge’s acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef Lori Sauer.

Blue Bridge Hospitality has gone all out with this top-to-bottom $250,000 renovation. Give the newly renovated Maretalia, located in Coronado Plaza at 1300 Orange Avenue, a try for Happy Hour from 4 pm to 6:30 pm, Dinner from 5 pm to 10 pm daily, private parties or drinks. Check them out at



Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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