When I booked a table at Da Marino on Opentable, I did not realize I passed many times in front of this place, where every time, there was somebody outside the restaurant haranguing the crowd to persuade them to come have a meal there, something that I always thought was unnecessary if a place is good. Well, too late: we already had a reservation and I was set on having spaghetti alle vongole, one of my favorite Italian dishes, as well as a tiramisu (yes, I most of the time know what I will be eating as we always scrutinize the menu before going).
The place is bigger than what I thought, packed with mostly tourists and a few regulars. Decor wise, I could not not miss the big chairs that make you think you are a king in the middle ages, as well as the fresco on the walls depicting an Italian city. Food wise, they serve classic Italian dishes but have more emphasis on pasta. No pizza. However, the prices are a bit outrageous for what they are and I understood why they did not publish prices on their website. Here is what we had:
They started by bringing us some delicious bread with lentils, that were really good.
We then went for the Antipasto Italiano, an assortment of Italian cold cuts, cheeses, and peppers. For $14.75, this was a nice start, especially considering the amount of charcuterie (cold cuts).
Then, Jodi ordered the Capellini Pomodoro ($19.75), that is angel hair pasta in a tomato basil sauce. Portion wise, it was fine, but I thought that the sauce was weird and did not taste homemade.
On my side, I got my spaghetti alle vongole that had the incredible price of $33.95! For that price, I was expecting lots of clams, but it was not the case, and the white wine sauce was just ok.
Last was their homemade tiramisu that was very good, creamy, but not worth the $16.95 price tag!
Overall, the dinner was ok and expensive for what it was, with the poor staff struggling to serve diners (we waited for some time for our dishes). For the same price, we can have a better meal few blocks away at Lattanzi or Becco, or downtown, at Morandi, where the vongole is much better and much cheaper ($21 at the time of this post). And I know that with Times Square, some restaurants care more about foot traffic than returning customers, but still, you can find decent places in the area. On my side, I would not go back to Da Marino!
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Da Marino - 220 W 49th Street, New York, NY 10019