Mar Plata Restaurant in San Pancho, which first opened its doors in 2005, is known for its interesting fusion of Mexican, Argentinian, and Belgian cuisine served in a unique and rustic setting. With a variety of menu items, from steak and seafood to pasta, and specialty house-made craft cocktails, Mar Plata Restaurant is not what most would expect to find in San Pancho, just minutes away from Sayulita. I ask the head chef, Ramses Manneck, and lead mixologist, Tony Galea, to tell me more about the restaurant & their experiences in the industry.
Can you give readers some background information- where are you both originally from, and what is your culinary/mixology training or background experiences in the industry?
Ramses Manneck: I am originally from Mexico City where I had my first experience in the “hot seat” running a restaurant at the young age of just 22. I later decided to move to Berlin where I worked in a wide variety of restaurants. After a stage stint at Maaemo in Oslo, I found a passion for advanced cooking. Taking inspiration from the famous St. John restaurant in London, I returned to Berlin and went on to open opérate restaurants, such as Industry Standard, Wild Things, and now the current Wagner Bistro.
Tony Galea: I come from London, and was first introduced to the industry working on food trucks from a young age. I had my first bar job in Melbourne, Australia, at the age of 23. After leaving Melbourne, I also moved to Berlin to start working the bar scene. There I co-owned two bars, The Antlered Bunny, and Jigger Beaker & Glass. I worked alongside almost every bartender in town, always enjoying guest bartending.
Where does the passion for the industry come from, or when/how did you know this was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
Tony Galea: I noticed I was spending all my money sitting at the bar, so I thought it might be wise to be on the other side of things. When you have an eye for quality and taste, you don’t really want to serve anything you wouldn’t want to drink yourself. The passion for drinking good drinks was what lead me to creating them.
What is the concept for the restaurant, and the style of the menu/dishes at Mar Plata?
The space has a beautiful ambiance… lots of indoor greenery/plants and romantic lighting. It is very relaxed, yet elegant. For the menu, we focus on making sure all ingredients we put into our food and drinks are house-made and locally sourced. I guess the main concept, which should be at any restaurant, is for the guests’ senses to be fully satisfied.
What is your favorite dish on the menu, and why?
This is always a hard question to answer for chefs and bartenders alike. We want the individual to have their own experience and choose something that suits their taste. You can speak to one of our service staff or directly to us so we can recommend something that suits your day and what you like to eat and drink.
In three words, how would you describe the food you create at Mar Plata?
Local, fresh, and creative.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about your restaurant?
Due to our location sometimes the internet fails in the area, which results in credit card payments not working, so please be sure to carry enough cash or call ahead to check the status of our connection. Also, we operate every Tuesday through Sunday, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
*Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri