Chef Leigh Whittaker Debuts Le Mari Restaurant on Newbury Street

Alum of Earth at Hidden Pond, Fox & The Knife introduces Boston to “the husband”
Chef Leigh Whittaker Debuts Le Mari Restaurant on Newbury Street
Photo: Alyssa Blumstein Photography

On Thursday, June 13, Chef Leigh Whittaker will debut her new restaurant concept along Newbury Street. Le Mari – French for “the husband,” as Chef Whittaker affectionately refers to her latest endeavor – is a Mediterranean-influenced concept that celebrates the freshest seasonal creations in a lively setting, designed for social imbibing, in Boston’s most fashionable quarters.

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After a lucrative 20-year career in the medical device industry, Leigh Whittaker made the decision to leave sales behind to pursue her passion for cooking. After graduating as class valedictorian of Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2021 (where she continues to serve as a chef instructor), Chef Whittaker quickly found herself behind the line at Earth at Hidden Pond (Kennebunkport, ME). In September of 2021, Chef Whittaker joined James Beard winner Karen Akunowicz at Fox & The Knife (South Boston, MA).

Empowered by the force of female chefs in Boston, Chef Whittaker was inspired to create her own restaurant that blends her love of sourcing local ingredients with her talent for crafting homemade pastas and her joy of bringing people together. Le Mari – located in the space formerly inhabited by Bar à vin 1855 – is a 1,300 square foot restaurant and bar on Newbury Street that also is home to a pair of quaint Parisan-style patios for optimal al fresco dining. Inside, clad in deep turquoise tones reminiscent of the Aegean Sea and accented with golden hues, the space is outfitted with a mix of traditional seating, high-top tables, and banquettes. A dueling set of bars, located along the back of the restaurant, seats 18 while the dining room, seating 30, is anchored by a French mural (depicting “Mediterranean Views” by Joseph Dufour et Cie in Paris c. 1820) that hangs along exposed brick. Throughout the reimagined space, crystal chandeliers and sconces glitter in the natural light that pours in from a trio of oversized bay windows that look out onto Newbury Street. A nod to Chef Whittaker’s playful side, there also is a commissioned “Alice in Wonderland” piece of wall art.

Chef Whittaker has invented a menu of creations that marry unique layers of flavors and textures with aesthetically stunning presentations. Designed for sharing, crudo standouts include the scallop with grilled pineapple, toasted coconut and aguachile as well as carne with bone marrow aioli, beech mushrooms and sorrel. For small plates, opt for the duck fat gaufrettes with shallot aioli, caviar and tarroco dust; the pansotti con cipolla, fontina-stuffed homemade pasta with caramelized onion en brodo; or carciofi Mediterraneo with dill vinaigrette, fried capers and feta. Entrée highlights include the sea bass with tzatziki, fennel, Granny Smith apple and sumac; steak frites, a picanha cut with gremolata; as well as Lion’s Mane with butterbean puree, Marrakesh and garbanzo. There are a trio of handcrafted pastas like the cacio e pepe with buffalo milk butter, white alba truffle and microgreens as well as the cavatelli con vongole with littlenecks, squid ink and San Marzano tomatoes. The menu is rounded out with a collection of seasonal soups and salads as well as side enhancements.

On the liquid side, Le Mari features a carefully curated beverage program that mixes classic techniques with whimsical charm. In addition to showcasing an extensive portfolio of wines suited for novices and connoisseurs alike, the cocktails are rooted in the classics with modern takes as seen in the Yes, Chef with Altos blanco, agave and Thai bird chili; Catchin’ a Flight T’Amaro with bourbon, Amaro and citrus expression; I’ve Studied Abroad with Velo vodka, Caffè Borghetti and Tia Maria cold brew; as well as (Not) a Basic B*tch Spritz with Bonanto cherry, apple, mango and cava. For zero-proof elixirs, there’s Phony-Negroni and Amaro Soda.

Le Mari Restaurant is located at 259 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Le Mari will be open for dinner service Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30pm through 2:00am. Le Mari also will debut weekday lunch and weekend brunch services in the coming weeks.

Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
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