I’ve always wanted to try Mario’s Restaurant. I remember during my high school years, there was a Mario’s in St. Francis Square and their bright orange facade always drew my attention. I kept on asking mom to take the family there but she always said that the restaurant is expensive so we never did. Well, years after and that branch is gone now, I was finally able to try Mario’s and learned that the price isn’t that bad at all. I thank Spanky for taking me and a couple of other bloggers to Mario’s Tomas Morato branch last night.
Located in the heart of bustling Tomas Morato, Quezon City, Mario’s offers a peaceful dining experience quite apart from the other restaurants in the area. With it’s simple yet cozy design and large main dining area and function rooms, it’s a good place for a date, corporate pow-wow, and even weekend family get-togethers.
I’m not sure how long the Tomas Morato branch has been around the restaurant is very well-maintained and clean. In fact, it kind of looks new inside. There is a Baguio flavor to its decor, most probably due to the restaurant’s origins.
Since it’s a bloggers’ event, I don’t know how the service is during ordinary dining so I will base this on my experience last night. Us bloggers got to meet the very amiable Mr. Fil Benitez and his mother and Mario’s matriarch Tita Nenuca. They are truly delightful and made us feel welcome. We talked about the restaurant, of course, but also about technology, cameras, family, etc.
The wait staff were always alert and ready to meet our needs and answer our questions.
Food and Price
During last night’s event, we were served their famous bread rolls, baked mussels, a main entre of our choice, and their famous dessert which I will rave about later.
The bread rolls are nice and soft just as I expected. They are served warm in a basket and comes with butter. Best of all, it is free. You can also ask for rolls as much as you want. I forgot to take a photo. Oops!
Our appetizer was Baked New Zealand Mussels with garlic herb butter and cheese (P360 VAT inclusive + 10% service charge). I’ve had so many bad experience with oysters so I was hesitant to try it at first. Ajay seemed to loved it and she’s pregnant so I figured the mussels will be alright so I dug in. No regrets there. The mussels are fresh and scrumptious. I know they’re fresh because nothing happened to my weak stomach. I highly recommend this dish.
For the main entre, I chose Wild Mushroom-Smothered Steak with peppered sauce, potato au gratin, and buttered veggies (P525 VAT inclusive + 10% service charge). I asked that it be cooked medium rare and it came out perfect. It was succulent and goes well with red wine. The potato au gratin lacked saltiness for me so I had to ask for salt for it. Other than that, the steak is great.
Even though I didn’t order it, Fil gave me a portion of his Santol Chutney Glazed Pork Chops (P340 VAT inclusive + 10% service charge). Oh my goodness! I should have ordered the chops instead of the steak because it was soooooo good. The santol was very light and gave the pork chops a slightly fruity flavor. The pork chops was cooked perfectly. Crisp, juicy, and the flavors exploded in my mouth. The next time I go to Mario’s I’m going to order this!
And now for my other favorite – the Mango Jubilee (P365 VAT inclusive + 10% service charge) which is good for 2 people but it’s so yummy that I would eat it all for myself. This dessert is flambéed with cognac, sugar and butter. Then they serve it with a generous amount of ice cream. Writing about it is making me crave for it right now. It’s THAT good.
What I like most about Mario’s is that they always try to come up with new twists to their classic dishes. The owners don’t just rely on the old tried and tested dishes they are famous for. A sign of a true restaurateur is the quest for constant innovations and Fil Benitez is a restaurateur indeed.
I already told my mother that eating at Mario’s isn’t really expensive. The portions are generous and the food is worth the prize. I will definitely come back soon for the Santol Chutney Glazed Pork Chops and Mango Flambé.