What was I doing in a vegetarian Italian restaurant? That too in a brand new one without any reviews to boast of? There was a time when Chennai Food Guide used to wonder if there are not enough restaurants in Chennai for us to review. The tables have turned and how!!!!! There have been more new restaurants in Chennai than ever before and so as part of the tasting group, here we were!!!!!!

The ambiance is amazing. Nice semi outdoor setting, is a great cafe and it is a place perfect to take your book and read with a coffee or write your next big story types!!! And as we found out later, the food was just as good too!

The salads and starters came together for some photo clicking. After all the photo clicking and letting food get reasonably cold, we devoured them.  The FUNGI DARIOS, a roast mushroom with nice Italian flavours was a good start to the meal, the one with a long Italian name, which I cannot retype, but it is a Spinach Greens Cheese balls - tasted just perfect! The Sicilian Platter and the Bruchetta platter were all nice and smooth - I loved the cream cheese used on one of the breads! The salads were too salady for my liking and I did not like the way it was presented and all of them had way too many leaves. If my previous post suggest anything, it is that salads can be made tasty, but here, it was not.

And then came the pizzas - CARDINI and STROMBOLI, both of them tasted pretty nice, the sauce and the pizza base were both perfect and set the stage of the toppings. This was followed up with a battery of risotto and pasta. While risotto is an Italian Bisi bela bath, I am not a big fan of risotto so my opinion is biased here, so I will not give an opinion. As for the pasta, there was one really really nice pasta - also with a long name - TORTELLINI FORMAGGII AND FUNGHI, basically a stuffed pasta served with cheese sauce, the white stuff you see on the photos. It was really nice.

Desserts were just as nice as the rest of the meal. The Tiramisu is almost as good as the one at Tuscana, so full points, the melting chocolate cake was truly sinful. The panacotta was good, but I have had better ones in Chennai. There was this lemon cheese cake that was outstanding and deserves a special mention.

All in all, we had a great time as a group, but the food for me was, barring the salads, very good. With an ambiance and service to match, this is yet another beautiful addition to Chennai's eating scene and one that will make pure vegetarians very happy. But is there a market for the cafe part that is pure veg, I am not sure, but as a restaurant, this place should click. As a cafe, have to wait and watch.

I would give this place a 4/5. It is pretty expensive for a veg place - a meal for two will cost about 1200.

Darios is located at Kasthuri Rangan Road, next to Ashwini Soundarya Hospital. Take the road next to Chola Sheraton and take the first right - you will see it there!