We went to restaurant Mario Uva (https://restaurantmario.nl) in Neck on a Saturday evening in February 2020. In 2019 the restaurant won the award for best Italian restaurant in The Netherlands again. In the past this restaurant had a Michelin star and won several times the award for best Italian restaurant in The Netherlands. Winning the award in 2019 again means that they are back on track. Mario won 3 times in total the award for best Italian restaurant in The Netherlands.
Alessandro Uva took over the restaurant, in 2013, from his deceased father Mario Uva. He is running the restaurant together with his wife Esther.
The kitchen works only with set menus. On a Friday or Saturday evening you can choose between a 7 course menu or an 8 course menu. Although we decided to take the 8 course menu (menu Festa), we noticed at the end of the evening that we got the 7 course menu (menu Mondiale). The menu is a surprise menu, so during the evening we could not notice if we had the right menu or not. When noticing the waitress offered us cheese, but we did not take this as it was after the dessert. We were also satisfied after 7 courses, so we did not mind that ‘only’ 7 courses were served instead of 8. We asked what the difference is between the 7 and 8 course and with the 8 course you get an extra pasta dish. Therefor this extra dish was not offered to us anymore.
With the menu you can decide to take the wine pairing, we did not do this, we ordered a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red wine, which was excellent with the dishes.
When entering the restaurant everyone gets Prosecco from the house. I really like this touch.
The interior is like an upscale Italian restaurant in Italy. Tables set with linen, colourful plates on the table and lot of wine glasses. Next to the wall is a closet with all kinds of plates. When you enter the restaurant you see an open bar. Close to the door is a fireplace with a long table where families can dine in a relaxed ambiance. There is also a private dining-room for families or meetings.
The main restaurant has plenty of tables. It is always busy and the ambiance is great. We always love to dine here. It has a relaxed atmosphere, it is a cosy restaurant and the quality of the food is always good.
We started with some bites. A cracker with parma ham and and a cake made of olives. The cake was a bit sweet, I liked it. Did not make pictures of the bites.
It took almost one hour before the first dish arrived. We asked the waiter to check on the food as the waiting time was too long in our opinion. The first dish was cod colored by beetroot with Sicilian rice, vanilla mayonnaise, gamba baked in garlic and a baby squid.
The cod was fresh and raw. Because of the beetroot it had a beautiful pink color. The rice was cooked al dente. Deep-fried squid. The dish was so beautiful with it’s colors and flavors that is was difficult to start. Variation in flavors made the dish complex. What a great start.
As second dish we had terrine of veal with duck liver served with bagnet vert sauce from Piedmont and some roasted nuts. Bagnet vert is the Italian salsa verde. A sauce made of parsley, anchovies and capers.
The terrine was heavy like I expected because of the veal and the duck liver. It was beautiful prepared. Perfect layers, the outside of the terrine was ham in my opinion. The bagnet vert really tasted to parsley and was a great combination with the more dense tastes of the terrine.
The terrine was followed by the first hot dish, sea bass with carrots and a butter sauce. The fish was backed on the skin and the skin was extremely crispy. A mousse made of carrots was served with it. Butter was added to the mousse as well. Little salicronia was topped on the carrots. Nice salty. The sauce was rich and heavy. Overall a great dish.
With the first 3 courses we had a white wine from Scarbolo “My Time” 2013. Made of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Aged in oak barrels and later in stainless steel. A perfect wine for these dishes.
The second part of the menu (last 3 courses before the dessert arrived) started with Pasta. A traditional pasta Bolognese was served in a new style. The pasta was pappardelle a thick pasta.
Tomato sauce with meat in the inside of the draped pasta. I do not have a clue how the kitchen could do this as all 4 plates looked exactly like each other. The pasta was topped with a cracker for the crispy bite. Pappardelle was perfectly cooked.
Another pasta dish was porcini risotto with Parmesan cheese. Without saying what this dish was I smelled the intense porcini. Wow! And yes Alessandro Uva mentioned the porcini, I could not wait to taste it. Risotto cooked perfectly, on top of the risotto some shaved dried porcini was added. The Parmesan cheese was a foam of cheese. A nice touch on this flavoring dish.
Number 6 arrived: The main course. Quail filled with foie gras and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The quail was slowly cooked and very juicy, the liver gave the quail a different taste, better, richer and more flavored. What a perfect combination. One of the vegetables was sour celery colored red. This celery was preserved in vinegar. What an immense dish.
With these 3 courses (pasta and quail) we had a bottle of Docg Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Paronza 2015. A full bodied wine. Perfect with the three dishes.
Our dessert arrived: polenta with vanilla ice cream and mousse of blue berries. Polenta is a dish from Northern Italy. The polenta was brown and tasted very good. Ice cream and mousse were home made. A good dish. Beautiful presentation.
We were not sure if we would receive 2 desserts as this was our seventh course, but when the waitress asked if we wanted to have coffee and we mentioned that we had 7 courses instead of 8 the lady checked it and returned that they made a mistake. We did not mind as we were satisfied. Afterwards one of the waiters gave us a perfect present, a discount voucher for next time. I appreciated this very much, was not necessary, but what a great gesture.
We had a very good evening. The menus are priced very reasonable. We paid EUR 70 for the 7 course dinner. Every time we visit the restaurant we get Prosecco as aperitif and limoncello as digestive from the house. The staff is doing a great job. We had to wait too long in the beginning, but after receiving our first meal the tempo was great.
Waiters and waitresses are very polite and attend. They keep an eye on you, when your glass is almost empty they refill it. They explain the dishes in great details and our waiter explained the wines with lots of details.
My most favorite dish was cod with beetroot because of the presentation, the colours and the complexity of flavours. All dishes were good / very good in my opinion. We will return soon.