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Da Mario is not the absolute best restaurant in Kensington - but it is our favourite. This is a proper old-school Italian joint in a Venetian-Gothic building that fans of interesting old buildings would get fizzy knickers over. The first thing you notice is that Da Mario’s interior is authentically and charmingly a bit rubbish. And there are a lot of pictures of the late, great Princess Diana on the wall. The food here is homestyle Italian, with big portions of pasta and great pizzas at semi-reasonable prices. This is a place for everybody and worth the short walk to avoid the chain bait restaurants around Gloucester Road station.
There’s no mistaking that you’re in west London when you eat at Da Mario. This spot sits at the end of a row of expensive white mansion houses, in a very cool Venetian-Gothic decorated building. The interior is less grandiose and a lot more chintzy than you might expect from the street - there’s even a bunch of Princess Diana memorabilia that the distant American relative you’ve probably been babysitting all day will love. The simple Italian menu has a big selection of pizzas and pastas, and while they may not be the best in west London, the whole experience of eating here is so homey and comforting that you’re bound to leave with a much fonder feeling about the neighbourhood as a whole.
Another that’s part of the old school, so to speak, Da Mario is the kind of place that will play Frank Sinatra on loop and make you smile. The pasta here is of the pomodoro-that-I-probably-don’t-need-to-finish-but-do variety and we love it. This is definitely not one of your artisanal pasta places that flies in San Marzano tomatoes that have come straight from the base of Mount Vesuvius and were once looked at by Antonio Carluccio. But that doesn’t matter because it’s nice and will make you happy.
Halal status: Ask for the halal menu
This old school Italian spot in Kensington has been around for decades, and not only does it have some pretty decent vegetarian options, but it also has a separate halal menu which you can get by asking a server. Come here for big portions of feel-good pasta, and great pizzas at a decent price.
Da Mario is one of those old school Italian restaurants where the welcome is loud, and the portions are hearty. It works whether you’re in a big or a small group, and there’s enough pizza and pasta on the menu for everyone to be happy. It’s a ten minute walk from the Royal Albert Hall, so you might avoid the crowds, but best to be safe and book.