Brace yourselves Covent Garden! Big Mamma (the group behind hits Gloria and Circolo Popolare) open this huge – 7,000 square feet and 295 covers – newcomer in July 2021. Set over two floors, with two outside terraces, it’s aiming for a ‘cheeky interpretation of the Church’. Apparently that means a bar decorated with 3,500 bottles, and a mirrored basement for events. The cooking – how did we nearly forget?! Expect more Italian dishes (lots of pasta and pizza) featuring loads of cream, with the must-Instagram dishes in this case being a mega stracciatella and chocolate ice cream cake.
Harden's survey result
“Totally bonkers” and “Insta heaven” – the latest maximalist, Central Casting interpretation of Italian restaurant culture from the French group Big Mamma (who hit paydirt with Gloria and Circolo Populare) opened in Covent Garden in summer 2021. Despite being massive (with 295 covers over two floors and two terraces), and its cheesily cheeky menu (‘Lettuce Pray’ salad, ‘Chocolate al Porno’) it’s not inspired a huge number of reports. Perhaps this was due to the pasting it received from the press (“Nonna’s gone to Iceland”, said The Evening Standard’s Jimi Famurewa) but our (quite limited) feedback includes no major complaints.
Undaunted by the pandemic, Big Mamma (the French group behind smash hits Gloria and Circolo Popolare) opened this huge – 7,000 square feet and 295 covers – newcomer in June 2021. Set over two floors, with two outside terraces, it’s in the same over-the-top vein as its siblings, this time aiming for a ‘cheeky interpretation of the Church’! Apparently that means a bar decorated with 3,500 bottles, and a mirrored basement for events. As with its siblings, the cooking (how did we nearly forget?!) majors on Italian dishes (lots of pasta and pizza) featuring loads of cream, the must-Instagram dishes in this case being a mega stracciatella and chocolate ice cream cake. It opened too late for any survey feedback, but Jimi Famurewa of The Standard diagnosed “sequel bloat and a brand getting slightly lost in the sauce of its own success”. “All the subtlety of a Swarovski-encrusted fist” and food that’s “a touch Nonna’s Gone to Iceland”.
For 32 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).
Have you eaten at Ave Mario?
Ave Mario Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Dear oh dear, talk about a fall from grace. We came first in May and we all loved it - especially the kids. Funky interior, fun staff, great pizzas, real positive vibe about the place. So my youngest chose it for her birthday but they completely blew it. Indifferent service at best, quiet, food was disappointing across the board. What went wrong? They had something but blew it!"
"I’d been really looking forward to coming here and the menu looked fantastic. The reality was that the food was decent. But not amazing. Maybe I’d been expecting too much. But it’s frustrating when you know you can cook a better osso bucco yourself. Although they do have nicer looking loos than me!"
"Second visit. Not as good as the first time around. When you have had a pizza at Franco Manco why go anywhere else to try one. That was my mistake. Only good memory was a great bottle of red."
|Wine per bottle||£25.00|
15 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8QG
|Monday||12 pm‑2:45 pm, 5 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:45 pm, 5 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:45 pm, 5 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3:30 pm, 5 pm‑10:45 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑3:30 pm, 5 pm‑10:45 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑3:30 pm, 5 pm‑10:45 pm|
|Sunday||11 am‑3:30 pm, 5 pm‑10:30 pm|