Da Mario Pizzeria

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10 reviews
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105 The Headrow,

(0113) 2460 390

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Review bySarah Richardson22/10/2009
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Da Mario Pizzeria might look a little shabby but who cares when the food is so tasty?

The Venue
On first entering this restaurant you may think it all looks a bit no-frills. It has round marble-topped tables and a spacious, sparsely decorated interior. And you’d be right, but that’s not a bad thing.

Da Mario Pizzeria doesn’t need to drape itself with vine leaves, paint the walls red, and waft out Italian folk music to convince diners of its authenticity - it simply doesn’t need to because this Italian family-run restaurant is the real deal.

The open kitchen to the right can be seen from around the restaurant as well as to those passing by outside, which adds to the open, warm, and friendly atmosphere.

Situated on The Headrow near to the Town Hall, this lovely little restaurant is in a great location, a short walk from almost anywhere you could want to be in town.

The People
You'll receive a warm welcome and service is efficient and friendly from the moment you're seated until you settle the bill.

Staff don’t generally stop to make small talk but will chat and be friendly. Although with some customers the teasing, banter, or even harmless flirtation is almost theatrical, it is usually well judged to not overstep the mark.

The general atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxed with happy chatter resonating around the room from the diners. Like the decor, there’s no need to make much of an effort here, the clientele are all fairly casual.

The Food
The food here is simple, unpretentious but very tasty. The menu is pretty simple, but when you’re getting good food it would be churlish to complain.

There are a range of pizzas (average £8), a good selection of pastas (average £8) with a lovely rich arrabiatta delivering a powerful spicy kick, and the carbonara is beautifully thick and creamy.

The average spend for a starter is £5 with the bruschetta a particular highlight. It's nothing showy, just packed with tomato and basil flavour and presented well on the plate.

The warm goats cheese salad is also very good, with a light dressing and the cheese only very slightly melting over the salad. A word of warning - the starters are bigger than you’d expect while the main course portions may be slightly smaller. Two courses here wouldn’t be particularly greedy.

Main meals come in at around £12 on average and range from seafood to steak. Desserts are around £4 and there is also a selection of coffees and gooey and delicious-looking cakes on a display near the till to entice you.

The food isn’t necessarily the cheapest around when you consider the portion sizes but it remains reasonable considering the quality. There are also good offers available and pizzas and pastas are £5.95 Sunday to Friday, and a free bottle of wine comes with any two of the main meals with starters.

The Drink
Most people in Da Mario Pizzeria seem to be knocking back wine as if there’s no tomorrow and there’s a pretty good list to choose from but, again, this isn’t at bargain prices.

A glass of house wine is around £4 and a bottle will come in at around £14. The house wines are reasonable enough - the white is dry and crisp and the house red is perfectly fine if nothing special.

There are also several lagers on tap for around £3 a pint although, as you might expect from a small Italian restaurant, they have lager only no ale.

There is also a selection of bottled lagers and spirits and mixers are also on offer. Soft drinks and juices are around £2 for a fairly small glass or to finish off why not go for a strong hit of coffee with biscotti?

The Last Word
It might not be much to look at but, aesthetics aside, this family business offers good food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. If Italian is your thing then Da Mario Pizzeria is well worth a visit as it's more about substance than style.
Da Mario Pizzeria has been reviewed by 10 users

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