Zany Ave Mario – a lively Italian eatery located in London’s re-energised Covent Garden – is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch and guarantees fun at every meal.
From the team behind fun-loving restaurants Gloria and Circolo Popolare, this energetic addition is Big Mamma Group’s largest trattoria to date. Inspired by ‘an idyllic day in Florence’, the 295-cover restaurant is spread over three spaces. While it’s no Duomo (scale wise), the Florentine cathedral has certainly influenced Ave Mario’s interiors – note the zebra-striped walls and catholic iconography dotted about the place. The décor is loud – banquettes are cardinal-red, and neon lighting is abundant. In short, it’s Insta-tastico.
What To Order
Spoilt for choice, Ave Mario’s menu is mighty long. Spanning antipasti, pizzas, pastas, and specialities, sharing amongst the table is perhaps the simplest way to ensure you can get a taste of all that you fancy.
A rundown of some of our favourite dishes includes: pillowy pizza topped with fior di latte mozzarella, super smoky aubergine caviar, spicy nduja, and spianata picante; a sublime homemade mafaldine pasta, served with truffle mascarpone sauce and topped with fresh black truffle; and the monstrous ‘sideways lasagna’. Prices start from a very affordable £6 – for antipasti – and run up to £36 for the hearty ‘filetto alla rossini’. Food is presented on the kitschest of delft, with an assortment of vegetable-shaped crockery sprawled across your table from starters through to secondi.
Word of warning: don’t get too full before ‘dolci’ because pudding is the pinnacle of your meal at Ave Mario. There’s a staggering 60cm-tall stracciatella ice-cream cake marbled with chocolate to tuck in to, as well as a moreish tiramisu, and a gooey chocolate fondant to further tempt you. Our perma-choice: Big Mamma Group’s signature lemon meringue pie – zesty goodness that rises up to the high heavens.
Who To Bring
Ave Mario is the perfect spot for lunch with your buddies, a date night with your beaux, or a fun family brunch. Your choice.
The Dress Code
Something major! Think maximalist, not monastic, dress. Definitely a punchy shoe; maybe some ruffles. Your style reference du jour: Jude Law in The Young Pope.