When I got an invite to celebrate Mario’s 40th anniversary with fellow bloggers in their Tomas Morato branch, I was ecstatic!
Mario’s is a household name. I’ve been wanting to try out Mario’s restaurant for the longest time but I always had this impression that I couldn’t afford it. After the enjoyable dinner that night, I can conclude that it’s not expensive at all. I have to blame myself for assuming too much before. The Mario’s brand is just too divine that I thought they would have a very expensive tag in each of its menu items. My bad 😛
We were greeted by the Chef Anton Benitez. He was game in answering all our questions. As I listened, I found out that Mario’s Restaurant has undergone renovation. Mario’s has been in Tomas Morato for decades. In order to keep up with customers’ needs, Mario’s needed to step it up.
The renovation is more of blending the old look of Mario’s Restaurant with a new one. Mario’s has now more open windows to give interiors more light and views of their garden (I really like what they did as I noticed most steak restaurant has dark ambiance).
In addition, lamp shades were added to the dining area to provide a more light yet keeping the elegant ambiance of Mario’s.
I was super excited to try out the food. I knew we had to wait for the rest of the guests to come but my eyes were so fixed on the paella and oysters on display. I wanted to dive in!
Good thing there was bread served in our table which is Mario’s own creation. The bread was freshly baked, soft and most importantly, warm! I couldn’t get enough of it. The bread is free by the way. 🙂
At around 7:30pm, we started to eat. Oh boy, I knew I needed to diet but it was times like those that I need to forget all about it. Setting my diet aside, I enjoyed our dinner. It was a blast!
- Gambas con Chorizo (Php 345)
I know shrimps and chorizo is a deadly combination. However deadly they are, face it, they are most delicious! I’ve never eaten a dish with those 2 food items cooked together. I never thought that they actually work. Ang sarap (delicious)!
- Oysters Rockefeller (Php 265)
Oysters baked with spinach and hollandaise sauce. As I said earlier, I was looking at this dish for the longest time. When we were given the cue to go ahead and get some oysters for ourselves, I immediately got some for myself. Boy, it was heavenly! Do not forget to squeeze calamansi to the oysters as it provided much more flavor and made the taste perfect!
- Mario’s Caesar
This is probably the most popular part of any Mario’s experience. I find it amazing that we actually saw how the sauce was prepared live! I had to write a separate entry (watch it out, it’ll be my next post) for it. Now, we know why caesar salad is always everyone’s favorite to order.
We were asked to choose one entree from the menu. We all wanted to taste the other entrees too as we wanted to share more Mario’s food in our blog entries. We talked among ourselves and decided to order differently. I’ve chosen to get the bacalao, Yedy ordered salpicao and Arpee got himself the corned beef dish.
- Salpicon de Mar Y Tierra (Php 425)
Shrimps, tenderloin cubes and chills served on top of the garlic rice. The tenderloin was so soft and tender. I do wish they cut the cubes smaller as I like it that way better. Still, a great dish!
- Bacalao a la Vizcaina (Php 625)
Among the entrees, Bacalao was highly recommended by the server. As I’m a bit on a diet and would have preferred fish over anything else, I decided to listen. Unfortunately, as much as my blogger friends liked this dish, I somewhat didn’t like it. I ended up eating just a bit of it and tried the other dishes. I guess cod fish stew is not my thing. Next time, I’ll remember to stick with steamed fish or fried fish.
This is a matter of personal preference, the Bacalao was a big winner in our table still 🙂
- Corned Beef and Cabbage (Php 395)
I always have this impression that corned beef are shredded meat. However, I was really shocked when I saw Arpee’s order. Mario’s Corned Beef and Cabbage were actually two strips of beef served with boiled cabbage, potatoes and carrots, 2 sauces for the beef: mustard & horseradish and a bowl of soup.
I love, love, love the soup! It was actually the cabbage broth. Yummy!
- Santol-Glazed Pork Chop (Php 380)
I was sad that none of us ordered the pork chop. My face really lit up as I saw the waiter putting a plate of it in the middle of our table. They had us try it! Whee! I was so regretting my order of the bacalao as I liked this pork chop way better. I especially love the santol sauce. What a nice twist to our old-time favorite pork dish!
- Paella Valenciana
Paella is one of Mario’s specialties. It’s saffron rice cooked with seafood, chicken, pork, sausage, vegetables and herbs. It’s already a complete meal by itself!
I was too full that time that I couldn’t get myself to try out the different cakes served at our table. I only got myself the Mango Jubilee which is a big hit in Mario’s. What a way to end a wonderful, full-loaded meal. Thanks Mario’s! 🙂
- Sugar-free Jello (Php 95)
- Apple Pie (Php 175)
- Canonigo (Php 90)
- Leche Flan (Php 95)
- Toffee Sansrival (Php 120)
- Mango Jubilee (Php 310)
Mangoes cooked in style! I wonder how I can describe it better when I was able to take video of it. So I’m not going to describe it any further. I’ll let you enjoy the video and see for yourself (if ever you’re not fond of mangoes, you can order for a strawberry jubilee or a banana jubilee. Take your pick).
While we were having our delicious dinner, we were told about the history of Mario’s.
Mario’s was conceptualized by Mario and Nenuca Benitez in the hopes of having their own business. They opened Mario’s in 1971 at Session road, Baguio City. The restaurant gained popularity due to the delicious food especially Nenuca’s spanish dishes and steak dishes. Mario’s cheerfulness and passion in welcoming customers was a great deal to its success too.
Mario’s decided to bring in the restaurant to Metro Manila when several customers requested for them to bring it in. Good thing that the Benitez family did or else, we won’t be able to try out the wonderful food that Mario’s is serving. It’s one of a kind!
191 Tomas Morato Ave. cor. Scout Gandia, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines