Marzano on Park

If you’re like me, you drive past a restaurant and say to yourself “I need to try that place” but never end up going. Marzano was one of those restaurants until an invite was extended to me last month.  


On a lovely Tuesday evening in September I step foot into Marzano on Park Blvd with my food blogger friend Lisa (@510foodie).  We were greeted by the smiling Manna who responded with “I’ve been waiting for you” when I explain to her that I was a guest of Marzano’s but realized I gave no real name.


From start to finish, Lisa and I had a fantastic time. We were looking at the menus when our waitress Mercyee mentioned that bottled wine was 20% off on Tuesdays. That information made me question if we were “guests” or regular diners. (As food bloggers sometimes it’s not always clear if it’s a media tasting).* I told Lisa that I’ve been wanting to try the food at Marzano so it didn’t matter if it wasn’t a media tasting.


Looking at their Happy Hour Menu I was glad to see that the cocktails at Marzano were under 10 dollars. I dislike it when a place has a Happy Hour Menu and the prices are double digits. There’s nothing “happy” about that at all. Their HH Menu had a few items on there but my eyes saw burrata for a great price and didn’t see the rest. We also got the chickpeas for only $3!

After ordering from the Happy Hour Menu I wanted to order an appetizer from the regular menu.

I told Mercyee I was debating between the meatballs or octopus. She recommended the octopus but warned me that it was a little spicy.  When I tasted the octopus I knew I had to go back for it again.


And sure enough, exactly a week later I brought my friend “A” to Marzano. This time, not as guests but as regular diners. This time, instead of a skirt and heels I was in a pair of black jeans, black tee and sunglasses hoping not to get noticed. I was trying to be incognito because I wanted to experience it as a customer, not a guest. But nothing got past Mercyee, she took one look at me and said with a big smile “welcome back!” Darn! I wanted to see if regular customers got the same great service as me.  As I watched other diners I saw that they were receiving great service too.


My friend ordered a pizza. I ordered the burrata and the octopus again. The octopus was delicious and spicy as I remembered. One element I love the dish was the spiciness. I hate it when a restaurant eliminate key ingredients to accommodate the American palate.  I love also the touch of saltiness from the pickled lemon and the texture of the octopus. I’d say this dish was my favorite at Marzano.


My friend absolutely loved the octopus. She loved it so much she thanked me for taking her there. Her exact quote was “Thank you so much for taking me here. This is amazing! You always pick the best places.”  Damn right! She’s right. I wouldn’t take her to a mediocre place. She already planned out next visit to Marzano. She said we’re going there for their weekend happy hour and the lasagna special. The octopus was great on our pizza too!


Whatever you order for the main dish, make sure to order a side of creamy polenta to go along with it. You’ll thank me later.  The chicken dish we ordered the first time was perfect with the polenta. However, we decided to order just the slow braised beef short ribs.  I’m usually not a fan of short ribs and I’m definitely not an expert because I’m not a fan, but I’d say, if you are a short ribs fan, you’ll enjoy their short ribs here. The beef short ribs was the Tuesday special last month, so you should maybe check first.


For dessert, I ordered the chili spiced chocolate pot de creme. Although I loved the octopus, this was the main reason why I went back so soon. Price wise, the dessert is a great price and it definitely feeds two people. (I had to eat it all myself the second time–don’t do that, it’s much. Take it home).  


Price wise overall, it’s not too expensive so if you have a family, you can definitely afford to feed them here.


The best time to go is during their Happy Hour so you can nibble your way to the main course.  Pizza is only $10!


*(We were guests that day).


4214 Park Blvd.

Oakland, CA


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2 Responses

  1. Ian says:

    Nice review! We enjoy Marzano from time to time and always have delicious food and lovely service!

    • dishingoakland says:

      Thank you! I agree! Service is lovely and so is the food. It’s in a very cute neighborhood too! I think if they included a couple of cool shops nearby the restaurant it’ll be a great place to spend the entire afternoon.

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