Rustic Italian cuisine at Da Maria
Pasta, pizza and cheesy deliciousness, oh my! As a lover of all things carb-related, I’m in food heaven living in Europe. There is no shortage of good Italian food, especially in the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC). When a group of key spouses suggested Da Maria for a dinner meeting last week, I was eager to try it out.
Located in Landstuhl below Burg Nanstein, the building is set back from the road a bit. There is a small sign out front, but I’ll admit it … I drove right past it. The restaurant is small, so reservations are definitely recommended. What it lacks in space, it makes up in charm and décor. Rustic tables are lined with white linen tablecloths, and vintage black and white photos of Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn adorn the walls. The specials of the day are written (in German) on a blackboard near the bar at the end of the room.
As we sat down, Maria (the owner) brought over the daily specials listing and gave us her recommendations. She was funny, kind and also very no-nonsense. She didn’t bother going into the meat specials because most patrons weren’t there to order meat. We ordered bruschetta and caprese starters, and most of us decided on tagliatelle parmigiano — pasta scraped in a giant cheese wheel — for entrées.
The bruschetta bread slices were crisp, the tomatoes fresh. It was missing the hint of basil found in most bruschetta recipes, but it was still simple and delicious. My favorite was the caprese. With slices of juicy tomato and soft buffalo mozzarella, the light drizzle of olive oil and cracked pepper complemented the flavors perfectly. We had just finished our appetizers when the main course arrived.
Handmade pasta was divided and then placed into the huge Parmesan cheese wheel. Maria gently scraped and twirled the pasta along the bottom and sides of the wheel. When the pasta was lightly coated with cheese, she scooped it into our waiting bowls. A simple sauce of olive oil and crushed tomato lined the bottom of the bowl, and she topped the dish with more fresh cheese. One bite into the pasta and I knew I had made the right choice.
The portions at Da Maria are generous, but not overwhelming. The service was surprisingly fast and also very friendly. The pricing, however, seemed a little on the high side. My entrée and one large Cola-Light cost 16 euros. I didn’t leave enough room to try dessert, but I look forward to trying the Tiramisu on my next visit.
Da Maria is located at Kaiserstraße 72, 66849 Landstuhl. For hours and reservations, call 06371 612552.