Da Mario Restaurant
- 020 7584 9078
- 020 7823 9026
- 15 Gloucester Road (map of this place)
- SW7 4PP
- 12pm - 1am, 7 days per week
Probably one of London's more famous Italian restaurants. Diana, Princess of Wales used to eat here sometimes, as evidenced by little touches like the four foot high oil painting specially commissioned by the proprietor, showing an artist's impression of him presenting the Princess with a pizza named after her.
The ego of the restaurateur aside, this is a good but not extraordinary pizza/pasta place in the middle of Kensington. Unsurprisingly therefore, the good-but-not-extraordinary food is priced somewhat high - pizzas are between £7 and £11; pasta from £8 to £15. The pizza I had was good but tiny. Most of the specialities are seafood related, but there were many meat and "vegetarian" options too (I say "vegetarian" due to not having asked the standard question about the rennet used in various cheeses..). The dessert list is mostly standard Italian fare; Tiramisu was well-made if slightly bland, and cost £4. The liqueurs are good if the excellent Limoncello (£3) I sampled was representative. Prices are accurate as of September 2003.
There is a good but pricey wine list - the house red is a drinkable but uncharacteristically rough Montepulciano at £10 a bottle.
Service was reasonable but slow considering how empty the place was. Food took a while to arrive.
The restaurant does not have a non-smoking section. A dancefloor sees use every Friday night. The restaurant has a large underground seating area, so booking ahead should not be required.
NB: the restaurant's website seems to be down at the time of writing - http://web.archive.org/web/20010429192324/http://www.damario.co.uk should work though.
Oh yes, your bill comes inside a fascinating pamphlet on the history of pizza, from its rise to fame in the late 19th century with the Pizza Margherita to its ascension to the highest realms of artistic achievement in the late 20th century with the creation of the Pizza Diana. If you believe it.