Newest Review: ... to take them. The larger writing with the name of the dishes is in bold Italian writing and the English description is fairly small and h... more
Top-quality Italian nosh!
Da Mario (London)
Member Name: sassypat456
Da Mario (London)
Advantages: Well-priced, charming, excellent food
I actually don't want to tell anyone about this amazing little restaurant as it's my fiercely guarded little secret, but something is compelling me to share it with everyone and I hope it won't get hijacked as a result!
People who know Covent Garden will be aware of how trendy and expensive the area can be, especially when it comes to eating out. The majority of restaurants here profit hugely from the theatre trade and many of them are ridiculously overpriced and shamelessly lacking in any soul as a result. But not this place.
I stumbled upon Da Mario when I first started seeing my husband and had arranged a day out in London for his birthday. I was desperately searching for a decent Italian, but was frustrated by the run of the mill, chain restaurants presented to me as options online.
Eventually I came up trumps and found some information on what has now become one of my favourite places to eat. The immediate appeal was the size of the establishment as it is tiny, cosy and intimate. Added to that was a sample menu which described mouthwatering, but simple and authentic Italian cuisine.
When we first arrived at the restaurant we were treated like old friends and the Italian staff immediately began to put us at ease with their warmth and humour.
We were led to our table which was decorated with a crisp white tablecloth and a single bloom in a tall, clear vase. We pondered the menu at ease and were pleased to see that there was plenty of choice, but not so much that it became intimidating or difficult to choose.
The menu was divided into sections for antipasti, meat, pizza, pasta and dessert. There was a seperate drinks menu which was primarily wine, beer and soft drink based.
On our very first visit I chose the spinach and ricotta ravioli with a butter and sage sauce and my husband opted for the mussels. The portions were adequate, neither large nor small but certainly enough. My dish was delicious with the zingy sauce tantalising every tastebud, and my husband said his mussels were the most succulent he has ever had.
For dessert my husband decided on the chocolate torte which I obviously had to taste, and I can confirm that it was very strong, and the perfect mix of bitterness and sweetness. My lemon sorbet was very refreshing and again was a tempting treat for my very willing tastebuds.
The service was exceptional. The waiting staff are very efficient and seem to take great pride in the food they are serving up. They are typically Italian in their demeanor and approach, in that they seem to take everything very seriously, but exhibit great flair, never hassling you and simply leaving the fantastic food speak for itself.
The restaurant itself is slightly away from the main tourist bustle of Covent Garden, but is within five minutes walking distance from the tube station. It is located on a quiet little street which sees few visitors compared to the main thoroughfare. Nevertheless people flock to this restaurant and it seems to have many loyal regulars, who like me until now, keep this place firmly to themselves.
I have been back here with my husband and also with selected friends, and nobody has ever failed to be impressed, even my sophisticated city friends who have eaten in the most high-class places in London.
Da Mario has a winning combination and that is superb food, competitive prices, charisma and a mix of old fashioned charm and contemporary touches.
A three course meal for two with wine came in at around £50, which is extremely good for Covent Garden, particularly as most places around here are churning out sub-standard and bland meals and charging a lot more for it!
I can't fault this restaurant and am actually craving a visit right now, but sadly my daughter is in bed and my London days long behind me. But a girl can always dream!
Summary: One of the best kept secrets in town...