I am a bit hesitant to write about restaurants like these for a couple of reasons:
1) For those who like it, they will defend it tooth and nail
2) Homestyle > Restaurant Style for "soul" points
3) The prices are so low that people are bound to say, "well what were you expecting?"
But I'm going to do it anyways.
We came here for an event with Osgoode's new Italian Canadian student organization (OLICA) and took over the entire restaurant's 45 seats. It was great to see so many people to come out and support the club!
After some wine (which was fine), the bread comes out and it is...not worth mentioning. Same went for the salad.
Then, we had a choice between veal or shrimp with rigatoni, or the vegetarian option (the manicotti). While there were no alarming problems with the meal, some of us couldn't help but notice that the plates on which they were served were cold. Not like, "sorry we didn't preheat them in the oven cold", but like, "I think we might have left them in the snow for a bit before bringing them in cold".
I ordered the veal and thought it was...alright. But the rigatoni was definitely a little too overdone for my liking. And the tomato sauce lacked any evidence of depth. Others may disagree.
Then, the last thing they brought out were some banana chocolate chip loaf/cake/bread. We didn't have dessert in our prix-fixe price, but they realized after serving the mains that they had forgotten to provide us with an antipasti, so they brought out some dessert to make up for it. I'm not sure if this added or detracted from the experience.
|Some of the boys at dinner|
It's not that I didn't enjoy my experience (it was a great event!) but I just was really surprised on Urbanspoon to see that they had a whopping 94% "like", which is hard for any restaurant to come by these days. Perhaps their pizza is really good? I am not sure.
So, I feel that it is my duty as a Toronto food blogger to help you make your decision and avoid disappointment.
You will like Da Maria if: You want to pay a reasonably small amount of money for a hearty meal and maybe a litre of house wine (for $20), and feel nostalgic about the kind of meal your Italian-Canadian mother might have made for you in the 1990's.
You will not like Da Maria if: You came looking for a remotely gourmet experience.