In early autumn 2020, two restaurant newbies decided to bring their own passion project to life. Anaïs Arlot is a wine enthusiast from the Loire region who previously worked at importer La Cave de Bacchus; Johannes Emmerich is a born Berliner and ardent home chef who’d prepare elaborate three-course meals after his shifts at Decathlon. Bored at home in the early weeks of Covid lockdown, the couple hatched a plan to combine their talents.
The eventual result was La Marinière: half wine bar, half épicerie, 100 percent appealing. At navy-upholstered banquettes sandwiched between shelves of confiture, paté, sardines and other goodies, neighbourhood regulars and in-the-know Frenchies chase down Arlot’s hand-picked Loire and Languedoc varietals with Emmerich’s daily specials (“to share… or not”, suggests the chalkboard menu in French). As you might guess from the name, there’s a nautical theme.
Bretagne oysters (from just €2 a pop!), crevettes and steamed mussels share space with a handful of fancier creations, like seared scallops over Beluga lentils studded with salicorn and pickled onions in a foamy yuzu beurre blanc. A peek in the back room reveals a lovingly stocked cheese fridge; sample its contents in platter form or just dig into a hot, gooey wheel of Mont D’Or, the fondue-like Jura specialty. Little cubes of the Comté make it into the beef tartare, surfacing like salty buried treasure in a deliciously unorthodox twist.
Wine-wise, you can stick to the tightly curated menu of bottles and glasses or allow Arlot to steer you into deeper waters with, say, a fruity sauvignon blanc from the young winery Domaine de la Coche near her hometown. The default pour is 0.2L and there’s always at least one €4.50 option per category, making this one of the few ‘democratic’ new wine bars where you can get tipsy without fearing for your bank account. Just beware that the joie de vivre of the place, magnified by the village vibe of its location on Wilmersdorf’s little-trafficked Leon-Jessel-Platz, might have you ordering more than you intended.