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New Restaurant Bestia Mare Now Open in Downtown Franklin

Bestia Mare is now open, bringing the feelings, flavors and freshness of coastal Italy to historic Downtown Franklin. As the second concept from executive chef and owner Frank Pullara, who also heads neighboring Culaccino, the seafood-forward restaurant focuses on sustainably sourced seafood and modern selections from both land & ocean with a menu that dives into authentic seaside Italian fare to capture the essence of being ‘al mare’ without leaving Tennessee.

“I’m thrilled to be opening a second concept here in Franklin and to add a unique fish-centric restaurant to our culinary scene,” says Pullara. “Being Italian, I grew up eating seafood and always cherished creating those recipes with my family for holidays and gatherings. Now, Bestia Mare takes those traditions and modernizes them in a way that brings the flavors and feelings of coastal Italy to each and every dish.”

Bestia Mare’s design exudes a casual, polished, and contemporary luxury. Set in tones of cream and wood, the 2,900 square-foot indoor/outdoor space boasts cathedral-like arches throughout, modern light fixtures, rustic exposed beams and floor to ceiling windows, allowing natural light to Illuminate the space. Cream-colored velour banquettes line a dining room centered around an expansive open kitchen with an elevated white marble chef’s table as the centerpiece, complete with a custom crystal chandelier sparkling overhead.

The eatery accommodates up to 155 guests across tabletop, booth, bar, and patio seating.

Translating to “sea beast” In Italian, Bestia Mare’s menu pays homage to the Mediterranean-style seafood cuisine found on the glistening southern coast of Italy. Similar to Culaccino, many of the ingredients used in the kitchen from flour, olive oil and a majority of the cheeses are imported directly from Italy and are enhanced with local, seasonal produce from regional partners and purveyors, paired with sustainably sourced seafood that keeps the highest level of quality and consistency in mind.

The menu begins with a selection of antipasti selections like the Arancini filled with sea scallop, rock shrimp, cuttlefish and fontina and Cauliflower Soup with butter poached lobster and crispy guanciale, followed by a curated raw bar with small bites such as the Hamachi Crudo with pickled white beech, puffed black rice and chilled seafood bisque and Tuna Tartare topped with caviar. Known for his pasta, chef Pullara’s Agnolotti with potato-leek, crab, corn and tomato fonduta offers a comforting Italian classic with a creative twist. For the main course, fish and meat offerings include Ciopinno comprising of tutto il mare “all of the sea” fennel, fingerling potato, tomato-saffron brodo, Swiss chard and saffron garlic aioli and the “BCF” Hanger Steak served with foie butter, fondant potato and roasted root vegetable. Meant to share, the “Per Due,” or For Two section of the menu includes a Whole Branzino with lemon and thyme. Ending on a sweet note, the Torta Di Carote features sweetened mascarpone, orange crème anglaise and toasted coconut topped with cinnamon gelato.

On the beverage side, Bestia Mare features classic aperitivo, spritz and negroni selections, in addition to signature cocktail options like the O Captain! My Captain, their version of a dirty martini made with peppercorn infused Franklin Southern Vodka, Moletto tomato gin, dry vermouth, basil and garlic confit oil; the Deep Watermelon with arbol chili infused Arette Blanco, Fidencio Mezcal, watermelon syrup, cilantro, and egg white; or the Call Me Ishmael with Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy, Green Chartreuse, Giffard Carribean Pineapple, lime juice and ginger syrup. The drink menu is rounded out with an extensive liquor and wine list encompassing rare varietals from around the world, flawlessly complementing the maritime fare.

Bestia Mare currently offers lunch and dinner service, along with a late-night menu and will soon launch a weekend brunch service. Reservations are available through Resy or by calling the restaurant directly.

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