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The team behind one of Tasmania’s most celebrated eateries is set to bring a unique taste of the Mediterranean to Hobart’s waterfront with the launch of Restaurant MARIA. 

A new restaurant celebrating the flavours, textures and convivial spirit of the Mediterranean and beyond has just opened its doors on the iconic Brooke Street Pier on Hobart’s waterfront. Restaurant MARIA takes its inspiration from the European coastline, while making the most of seasonal Tasmanian produce. With a wood-fired grill at the heart of its open kitchen, it invites diners to experience the simple indulgence of seafood, meat and vegetables cooked over fire and shared amongst friends. 

MARIA is owned by Christian Ryan, Will Priestley and Asha Ram, the talented team behind Aløft Restaurant, a highly celebrated modern Australian restaurant on Brooke Street Pier’s upper level. Co-Owner and Head Chef Christian Ryan has been working on the MARIA concept for several years, having long been drawn to the cuisines and dining experiences of the Mediterranean. He says that serendipitous timing saw the new venue become available just before a recent trip to Europe, where his inspiration was further invigorated by the influences of the Amalfi Coast and islands of the Aegean Sea. 

“What stood out to me while eating in the Mediterranean was that it’s all about uncomplicated food with punchy flavours,” he says. “By cooking with fire, we’re able to ramp up simple ingredients, and recreate those characters and textures that epitomise a European summer.” 

While the menu has a strong focus on the cuisines of the northern coast of the Mediterranean, it is also driven by local produce. Ryan says the team has been busy hand-foraging ingredients, including local nasturtium, chamomile and wild fennel pollen. 

“I’m excited to see how we can translate distinctly Tasmanian ingredients into nostalgic food from faraway places in ways that it may never have been used before,” Ryan says. “Who knows, maybe a wallaby gyro is the snack you never knew you needed.” 

While Aløft’s Nordic design elements and extraordinary food and drink have cemented it as a Hobart dining stalwart, MARIA will carve out its own identity on the floor below. Sharing a similar experience of refined food in a relaxed atmosphere, its unique design style will take influence from the vintage luxury of 1960s Europe. The venue has undergone a total refit from its previous iteration, introducing design elements of copper, linen and terracotta. 

“MARIA is open and airy, with a focus on the sounds and smell of the water,” Ryan says. “We’ve refined the space to create the feeling of a Mediterranean summer all year round.” 

The menu is accompanied by a beverage offering that celebrates local small producers, as well as a curated selection of imported wines from Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Portugal. The cocktail list includes house-made limoncello spritzes, and a selection of amaros and aperitifs are available by trolley service. 

MARIA seats 58 guests in the main dining room and eight guests at the open kitchen bar for the exclusive Chef’s Table experience, with space for an additional 24 guests for walk-in wine and snacks, and a semi-private dining room to accommodate up to 26 guests. 

Restaurant MARIA is open for dinner from 5:30PM-10:00PM, Tuesday-Saturday.