Darios, a pure Vegetarian Italian restaurant opened about 3 years ago, just days before I moved to Hyderabad for my marketing stint there. I watched them build a solid reputation from afar and finally had the pleasure of dining there, as soon as I moved back to Chennai. It definitely is one of the best restaurants serving pure Vegetarian Italian fair in the own. So when I got the call from Foodeebudddee for a tasting session at Darios, I jumped at the chance .
Located in the posh locality of Poes Garden, one can easily locate it near the Russian Embassy. It has a decent parking space for two wheelers and valet parking. Besides a conventional indoor seating, it also has perfect Alfresco dining with dim lights, and with the weather in your favor, is just the icing on the cake. As you walk in, you are greeted by the different versions of Monalisa paintings and to your right on the wall are comical celebrity caricatures depicted in place of Mona Lisa.
As we seated ourselves around a huge table in one of the private dining rooms under the watchful eyes of more Mona Lisa’s, and were transfixed by the quirky interiors , which none can afford to label as run of the mill, the drinks arrived setting the momentum for an amazing dinner ahead.
Having to choose one of the two choices in the drinks , Orange Fantasy and Kiwi Cooler, I chose to sip on the Orange Fantasy which was concoction of orange juice, strawberry crush and vanilla ice cream. Absolutely creamy and delicious way to start dinner.
Having been done with the drinks, we moved to the Starters which were all served in a platter. Polpette Di Spinaci e formaggio , was cheese balls stuffed with spinach. This also is apparently their most popular starter. Funghi Dario’s is roasted mushroom which on first bite exploded flavors in the mouth. With my recent obsession over mushroom adding to it, I helped myself to quite a few of them. Classic Bruschetta was spot on with diced tomatoes and a good helping of olive oil. Pita Bread was thick and was very well accompanied by Hummus and other dips.
Last of the starters was the Mexican style Nachos. With an abundance of molten cheese being served on the top just made this finger licking good. Only wished the cheese was hotter which would have enhanced the dish even better.
Broccoli Soup was up next and it was garnished with thin slices of roasted almonds. Rawness of the broccoli was evident in the soup but we have been told that, that is how it is usually done. Just passed muster.
With that done too, we were taken for a quick tour of the place including the kitchen by Mr. Suresh who is the COO of Darios During a small dialogue with Suresh, we learnt that , at Dario’s they make their own pastas in house along with the sauces on a daily basis. << During the conversation with him about wood fired pizzas which is something he wanted to do here as well but unable to due to a few issues. He has apparently set a couple up during his time with Tuscana which is another Italian Fine Dining restaurant.
By the time our small intermission 😀 came to an end, our next course was ready to be devoured. Verdure Grigliate , Aranciazola and Zappala were the three salads to be tucked in. My favorite was the Zappala with the vinegar dressing giving it a nice kick.
Next in this marathon session were the pizzas. We started with Pesto Pizza which was green all round. Had an abundance of bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes and cheese among other things. Rustica was a tomato sauce based pizza which was decent. They saved the best for the last in this session and I loved spicy tomato sauce based Etnea where the jalapeno pepper were covered with mozzarella cheese and small cubes of ricotta cheese.
Loved that the pizzas were very similar to how wood fired pizzas are made which is thin pizza with crispy crust and very light on the tummy.
By now usually one would be bursting but thankfully most of their food had been so light that I was looking forward to the Pastas. First to arrive was the Tortellini Shicchighi which had pasta pockets filled with peas and lots of chickpeas. TBH wasn’t very impressed so moved to the second pasta which turned out to be my favorite from the whole meal.
Fettuccine Nocerini is a flat thick spinach pasta with cream of walnut and melted parmesan cheese that made the sauce even more delicious and small bits of walnuts that was used to garnish the pasta. It looked very inviting and tasted even better.
Desserts were the last stop on this Italian dinner. We started off with delicious layered chocolate cake. Tiramisu, the classic combination of the coffee, liquor and the cream was something I enjoyed quite a lot. The first bite in and you know the absolute delight is in your mouth. Last to arrive was the Panna Cotta, a traditional Italian dessert. It was so beautifully done that it quivered with the slightest touch. Panna Cotta was served with berry coulis which made it quite striking.
Service was very prompt and they were very courteous but that’s kinda expected when you have been invited.
I have to say this meal comfortably had more hits than misses. They have a vast menu and the choices are aplenty. Love their unique ambiance, good service and outstanding food. This experience reinforced my opinion that Dario’s serve the best Italian fair in town.