© Heloise Bergman
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Oct 15 2013
Following widespread reports earlier in 2013 that iconic ice-cream parlour Marine Ices in Chalk Farm was about to close after a takeover by the Italian restaurant chain Ponti’s, we spoke to Paul Myatt, the managing director of the gelateria, who put us straight. ‘Ponti’s haven’t bought anything. They now rent and run the restaurant space from us. Since last May (2012), the ice-cream has been produced by Criterion Ices from their farm in Suffolk, but the quality is so good, most customers have not even noticed the change. They are continuing to serve up the original recipes that were developed by Gaetano Mansi [the founder of the business] years ago.’
Myatt said the name will remain unchanged and forwarded us a letter from Dante Mansi, grandson of Gaetano, who wrote: ‘With regard to Ponti’s, they have simply taken over the restaurant at Chalk Farm and will still be selling Marine Ices there as it has been for the last 82 years, along with their own food offering, as they wanted a presence in north London, and we as a family were ready to retire from the restaurant business.’
The restaurant can trace its roots back to Geatano Mansi who arrived in England in 1898 at the tender age of twelve, from Ravello on Italy’s Amalfi coast. In 1931, he started a small shop at No.8 Haverstock Hill in Chalk Farm, making ice-creams and sorbets. In 1947, the place was given the name Marine Ices and remodelled to resemble a ship. Thankfully, the story of Marine Ices' sudden demise looks to be nothing more than a storm in an ice-cream cone.
Marine Ices 8 Haverstock Hill
- Venue phone:
020 7482 9003
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Lunch served noon-3pm, dinner served 6-11pm Tue-Fri. Meals served noon-11pm Sat; noon-10pm Sun
Tube: Chalk Farm tube
Main courses £6.95-£15.55
- 8 Haverstock Hill
- 020 7482 9003
- 8 Haverstock Hill
- Marine Ices
Average User Rating
2.5 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:7
We have just had the most disappointing evening for ages going to Marine Ices Chalk Farm. We knew something was wrong when we walked in no buzz or any atmosphere and the menu a quarter the size since our last visit, the ice cream menu even worse. I'm so sad that after thirty five years of going to this restaurant we will not go back . The end of an era
Very interested to read the article about Marine Ices. I recently had ice cream from there and did notice quite a difference in flavour. Feel slightly cheated considering the high prices and yet the standard was not the same. Wont go there again !
Marine Ices has been one of my favourite places to eat for very many years, and I always look forward to eating there - the food has always been good and reasonably priced, the ice cream amazing and the service generally very good....... until now. I had not realised that the restaurant was no longer being run by the Mansi family, and my last visit there was a crushing disappointment. The menu has been decimated, and the food that remains is no longer on a par with the simple but tasty fare of the recent past. And whilst the ice cream is still top notch, the selection has also been brutally limited. It seems that I'm not the only person of this opinion. In the past Marine Ices always seemed to be quite busy at just about any time of day, pretty much every day of the week, but during my last visit there was only one other group in there. The new management seem to be trading on Marine Ices reputation, and rapidly tainting it - I have recommended this restaurant to many people for years, and now I would be ashamed to do so. I won't be returning in a hurry, and I can't see the restaurant continuing in its present form for too long. How very tragic. Another lovely family run establishment sold out to a chain who haven't a clue what made the place so good in the first place.
A tragedy. North London's best family pizza restaurant sold-out to some faceless chain - who have decimated the interior, the menu, the décor, the old loyal staff.... Everything. We went on my daughters 11th birthday expecting our usual favourites and almost nothing remains. It is astounding... this place was always packed. Loyal customers had been going for years (43yrs my Mum had been a patron) and the owners choose to sell it to a company with no regard for this tradition. R.I.P. Marine Ices.... And sorry too for the great staff who were all dismissed by the new (corporate) owners.
Marine Ices was once a popular, family-run restaurant in Chalk Farm that served Italian food and ice-cream. If the décor was quirky – it looked like an old-fashioned ice-cream parlour in a fading seaside town – then its interior spoke of its fifty-year history. And the food was fabulous – inexpensive, unfussy, and delicious. The linguine al scoglio was, for me and my wife, an often-ordered Saturday night treat. Perfectly cooked pasta, glossy with garlic-infused olive oil, served with plump prawns, clams and succulent squid, with a little chopped chili to give it heat. But now it’s all over, finished, finito. Following a few weeks of closure – which I assumed was just a matter of minor redecoration – I went in last Saturday night to find everything changed. The dining area had halved in size, and so had the menu. No more linguine al scoglio, no more Roundhouse pizza; gone, too, is the spaghetti con vongole. In fact, hardly any pasta on offer at all – just six dishes, down from a dozen. Confronted with this contracted and alien menu, I opted for a carbonara and something called linguine con gamberetti. Neither was particularly good – not a patch on how the food used to be. The portions were small, and – for a takeaway – expensive. What accounts for this tragic, wholesale transformation? It turns out that the Marine Ices has been flogged to Ponti’s – a London-based chain of Italian restaurants. This explains the mystery of the menu, which is identical to the one on the Ponti’s website. In fact, the only thing left of the former restaurant is its name, but even that has become so degraded that, unless the new, corporate owners come clean and call the place what it is – Ponti’s Haverstock Hill – they ought at least to tweak the name of this now substandard restaurant. Call it Sub-Marine ices, since this once excellent establishment has sunk to the depths.
Best Ice-cream Ever. Really big and Tasty portions. I`ve been here lately with my two friend and the service was excellent. After We drunk two or three bottle of wine, the waitress offered us Limoncello, I guess cause we spend a lot. Anyway Really good service, good food, maybe they could have put some music for the Atmosphere but I will surely come back.
Growing up in Germany, ice cream parlors are quite a common sight and they used to be my favourite hang-out place during the summers. But ever since I left Germany, I hadn't been to a real Italian ice-cream parlor, where you can sit down and indulge in a huuuuuge bowl of different-flavoured ice-creams... I had the Coppa Celeste, which was a mixture of pistacchio, chocolate and rum-raisin ice cream, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream and doused in some sweet-bitter chocolate sauce (oh...and slices of banana). I can highly recommend this coppa, but also the Coppa Sorbeto, which my significant other had ordered: he praised the delicate fruity flavours and was also happy to eat less calories than I...but who's counting calories anyway when you go to have ice-cream? Our friend told us, that he had come to this place since he was 3 years old and had returned on a quite frequent schedule ever since: "This is the best ice-cream in London and it's well-worth the trip!" Granted, Marine Ices is not a pretty place, but I actually rather like it this way. It's functional and you should come here because you want delicious ice cream and not because you want to have an architectural climax.
Didn't have the greatest experience there and in the future will return only for the hot waffle dessert. Hot food is mediocre at best and seemingly slopped on plates and sent out. Calamari (labeled fresh on the menu) was obviously from the freezer, bland and chewy. When speaking to the manager about this, he insisted that they were fresh and told me in so many words that my complaint had no merit. Great attitude! With so many fantastic and reasonably-prices restaurants in London, don't waste your time at this one.
I have not eaten at the restaurant so this review is purely for the ice creams. I'm wondering where the one-star reviewer actually went to the same place I did because it doesn't sound like the Marine Ices I have known and loved for many years. I've been eating the ice cream from Marine Ices since I was a child and still go when there's one of those rare hot sunny days, because contrary to what the review says, the ice cream is the best in London, and even beats many of the ice creams I ate in Italy! They are NOT overpriced, compared to some places in central London that do one scoop for £3, or even the ice cream vans that do small 99s for £2.50, I think one decent sized scoop (no 'little more than a spoonful' as the review says!) of excellent quality gelato priced just a bit under £2 is pretty good value! I have not experienced the inattentive staff mentioned in the review either-they've always been friendly to me, even on very recent visits this summer. And the ice cream itself is delicious! The ice cream seems to be more of an Italian gelato type texture (milky and light) rather than the usual densely creamy ice creams, and sure they may not go for unusual flavours but the ones they do have are amazing, very flavoursome. If you like chunky bits in your ice cream the praline, toffee, maple and walnut, and white chocolate won't dissapoint, and the most unique flavour-and one of my favourites-is honey and ginger (with chunks of stem ginger). If you like sorbets you must try their raspberry one. I've tried many ice cream places in London but I always find myself going back to Marine again and again.
I don't quite understand the popularity of Marine Ice. The ice cream is overpriced, and one scoop is little more than a spoonful. Also, the summer staff this year are slow and inefficient, ignoring customers in favour of chatting amongst themselves. The ice cream itself is ok, but not nearly worth its price tag. Save yourselves the best part of £10 and buy two cones somewhere else.