Da Mario is the younger brother of Surry Hills' Pizza Mario, and has been open since October 2013 - and is also owned by pizza aficionados David and Marcelo Cowdrill. Located in Rosebery, and part of the old Rosella Cannery; the space lends itself to a trendy Italian fit out, complete with a stylish wood fired oven approved by the Associaziona Verace Pizza Napoletana; the Italian organization that oversees the rules of traditional pizza making. With such rules the dough must be made using 00 flour, comprising of a certain thickness in the middle and on the crust. The pizza must be cooked for 90 seconds, and the dough should be the consistency of ‘good bread’ when cooked. Toppings are non-negotiable.
The Cowdrills know what they are doing when it comes to great pizza using ingredients imported from Italy, and following the rules of the Associaziona to the letter. No substitutions or ‘make your own’ pizzas here. That’s ok though, because when you try the menu you won’t want to. You’ll only want more of the same.
The first things you are struck by when you walk in to Da Mario are the enormous red pizza oven and modern bar. Between the size of the oven and the coffee machine, it’s clear there are two things you must try while you’re here: the pizza and the coffee of course. And try we did. Our party of four was advised to arrive before 6:30 as it was a Saturday night and we should beat the crowd. That was spot on. We arrived at 20 past, were seated immediately, and watched the queue form around the bar and at the door from the minute the clock struck 6:30. Some even decided on take-away rather than waiting for a table, which is always an option too if it is busy.
Despite the strict pizza rules, there’s quite a substantial menu, and we easily found something for everyone. We also split an entrée of arancini balls which were light, golden and crunchy on the outside and delicious, cheesy and oozy in the centre.
These were made exactly how arancini balls should be, and I should know – I lived in Italy for 6 months, and have tried my fair share of them. We also shared a bottle of classic Italian red wine: San Giovese, which went down a treat.
I ordered the classic pizza this place is known for - the Margherita Extra, which includes a light, creamy buffalo mozzarella on top of the usual tomato, basil and standard mozzarella cheese. It was every bit as good as it looks.
Although we didn’t try one, the salads also looked delicious, with generous portions and fresh looking greens. If we were a party of two sharing a pizza and salad for the main just might have been enough, and you do have to save some room for coffee and dessert when you come here.
Not to mention the spaghetti alla’matriciana - a generous serving, made fresh with delicious tomato base and spicy flavour hit, just like it should be.
The desserts were perfect for sharing between two as well. We got the Hazelnut Semifreddo and Tiramisu (extremely large portion that one). Two of us also tried the dessert wine, which was sticky, sweet and delicious - the perfect accompaniment to finish the meal off. The macchiato coffees were so good. The sugar was not necessary.
All in all Da Mario comes highly recommended. It has a relaxed, casual feel, and was constantly buzzing with satisfied diners, plus the staff really seem to enjoy what they do, and all their attention goes to making sure the quality of the food is spot on, which it was. Thankfully I can walk here from my place, so I know I’ll be back often, and the prices are reasonable for what you get ☺
Where: The Cannery, 36 Morley Avenue Rosebery NSW
Why: The pizza. The atmosphere, the coffee and for the tiramisu.
Cost: $20-50 per head (roughly)
When: Lunch (12-3) 7days, Dinner (5-10pm) Tuesday - Sunday.