“Da Mario” simply translated from Italian means “Mario’s” – Mario’s Italian Ristorante Pizzeria Hua Hin that is.
As the owner and Chef is Cristian Uleri, an obvious question may be; “Where is Mario?”
The simple answer that in years gone-by, Christian had a partner named Mario and together they operated Italian restaurants in both Phuket and Hua Hin. An amiable agreement lead to Cristian taking over Da Mario in Hua Hin with his partner retaining the Phuket operation. They remain the best of friends, but changing the familiar name of this well patronised Hua Hin restaurant was never a good business idea. Restaurant-goers be well advised – look for Cristian as your Maitre ‘D (pardon the French); not Mario! July 12th this year was a momentous day in the 9 year history of Da Mario. At the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bangkok, the Thai Italian Chamber of Commerce awarded Da Mario Italian Ristorante Hua Hin – Chef Cristian Uleri the 2016 Ospitalità Italiana Award. This project involves more than 40 Countries and 65 Chambers of Commerce, which certifies authentic Italian restaurants that follow the strict requirements set by the Italian Institute for Research in Tourism (IS.N.A.R.T.) in Italian quality.
Every year worldwide, including Thailand, the award is made to restaurants certifying the provision of fine Italian food and beverages. This year eleven awards were made in Thailand. Eight went to Bangkok restaurants, one to Chonburi and one to a Phuket restaurant. Da Mario was the only Hua Hin recipient. The clear requirement of the Ospitalità Italiana Award is that the Italian cuisine is authentic, true to the traditions of a country where dining is not just about enjoying a meal but celebrating a way of life. Italians are passionate about football (Cristian is a Juventus supporter) but even more so about Italian cuisine. This award will never be made to restaurants which present some sort of ‘hybrid’ Italian food, perhaps pandering to those looking for the influence of flavours from a different country of origin. It must be Italian through and through.
This one of the few awards made after judges visit the restaurants and conduct something akin to an audit of authenticity. It’s a process commencing in January and including recommendations being sent to Italy before the final results are known. Award winners are not those which have conducted a successful marketing exercise to entice favorable reviews or facebook ‘likes’. It’s about Italian connoisseurs (or is that conoscitori?) judging what Italian cuisine should really be.
Our congratulations to Cristian and Da Mario on this fine achievement. We suggested that the ‘real Mario’ may be a little jealous as his Phuket restaurant was not a recipient. Despite being assured this would not be a problem; some interesting conversations seem inevitable at Cristian and Mario’s next meeting. This Award is really something to brag about! Da Mario Ristorante Pizzeria : 20 Naresdamri Road Phone: 66 032 530170, www.da-mario-huahin.com