Words by Caterina Dassie
Da Mara is an Italian restaurant pizzeria situated in Penylan, just at the end of Albany Road in 2 Pen-Y-Lan Road. It has a capacity of 70-seating but also offers a takeaway menu.
The business is run by a husband and wife team, Mark and Rita, who have always been passionate about the culinary field. Indeed, Mark is a professional of fine wine and food with 30 years of experience as Front of House Manager of hospitality places in Cardiff. Da Mara’s team offers high-quality products and a great balance between serving authentic Italian goods and satisfying the taste of locals and costumers from different nationalities.
Last Thursday I had the pleasure to try Da Mara with some friends of mine for the first time. From the moment I called them to book a table to when we stepped out of the restaurant, the service has been really good. The waitress who served us was extremely nice and kept asking if we needed anything.
The ambience was welcoming as well. Not as rustic as most Italian restaurants, but the vibe in the air, the Italian music on the background and the bake stone oven, did make me feel at home. The only problem we issued was being able to easily get into the restaurant with our friend who has disabilities. I mean, I am not sure how many restaurants in Cardiff with stairs inside or just outside the main entrance have a ramp, but it’s something that more should always be taken into consideration when opening a restaurant.
Let’s talk about food now. Most of us had pizza, myself included as I had been craving it ever since I got back to Cardiff for uni. I ordered a Rustica (tomato sauce, mozzarella, aubergines and scamorza cheese) and added fresh buffalo mozzarella on top. The balance between the quantity of veggies and cheese on the top was perfect, the tomato sauce had a good combo of sweet and sour and the quality of the toppings had a satisfying taste of home. The dough was prepared in Neapolitan style, yet slightly crunchier, which I prefer. My pizza was a little bit too cooked, or at least, too dark in some parts. However, my friends’ pizzas were cooked to perfection.
Other than pizzas, they also have a wide variety of starters and mains, including fish, meat and vegetarian options. Plus, all meat choices were exclusively made with Welsh products. Well, what can I say? I need to go there another time and try not to be tempted by the pizza, to experiment their other delicacies!
The prices are on the average ranging from £7.50 to £12.95 for pizza and £11.50 to £23.50 for mains. The same pizza options can be found in the takeaway menu, but cheaper.
The Sunday Times and WalesOnline considered Da Mara one of the Top 25 Pizzerias in the UK and Waitrose Food August issue featured it as one of the best places where to have pizza in Wales, proving Da Mara to be a real establishment of Italian Culture in Wales.
What are you waiting then? Just a step out of the most popular area for student housing, Da Mara might become one of your favourite restaurants or takeaways!
@DaMaraCardiff on Twitter.