Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Weekend Brunch at Mario's

A tradition of fine Spanish cuisine from heirloom family recipes, excellent steaks and perhaps still the best Caesar's Salad in the metro. For over forty years, Mario's continues to serve its classic dishes with the same consistent quality and passion, and a flair that can only be described as Mario's way. Old school is still definitely way cooler at Mario's. 

From its very first restaurant in Baguio along Session Road, the story of Mario's is an amazing one, and quite inspiring. Mario and Nenuca Benitez always dreamed of having a restaurant of their own, and in 1971, opened the very first Mario's in the summer capital. Mario's quickly gained a loyal following, serving traditional Spanish cuisine from Nenuca's cherished family recipes passed down from generations. Today, the second generation continues the tradition of fine Spanish cuisine, as well as incorporating new dishes with the cool Mario's touch.

More like a home than a restaurant, Mario's brings back those special times with friends and family, when dining out truly meant something. And Mario's retains that same nostalgic feel, and there is a subtle elegance that still lingers. Despite all the changes in the increasingly commercial neighborhood of Tomas Morato, it's comforting to know that there are still a few establishments that preserve the richness of their past. I was looking forward to go back to Mario's to rediscover their classics and to sample new dishes for a leisurely weekend brunch, and it was definitely a cool and delicious way to spend a weekend.

Then and now, every milestone celebrated at Mario's won't be complete without the classic Mario's Caesar's Salad, prepared by your table side. Olive oil, garlic and egg yolks are combined and whipped until it reaches  a creamy consistency before the fresh lettuce are added and tossed. Grated parmesan, croutons, and bacon then complete the dish. And after all these years, the table side performance is still pretty amazing, a cool throwback to grander times.

Mario's signature Caesar's Salad (P 255), the original classic that remains one of Mario's bestsellers to this day. One bite of the fresh, crisp lettuce coated with Mario's made from scratch dressing, and the crunchy bacon bits and cheese, bring a smile, grateful for the way some things have remained the same after all these years.

Pair your classic salad starter with Mario's new Cucumber Mint Slush, cool and refreshing, and not too sweet.

And our brunch goes into high gear with the signature Gambas con Chorizo (P 345), plumb shrimps sauteed in garlicky olive oil with bits of rich chorizo. A real classic, and still a winner.

Mario's also offers an extensive breakfast menu, including the Millenium Platter (P 245), a combination of Danggit and Vigan Longanisa served with two eggs and garlic rice. Choose from other combos such as Daing na Bangus and Chicken Pork Adobo for your very own Millenium Platter.

Mario's also offers their classic Steak and Eggs (P 290), served with garlic rice and a tender cut of steak topped with garlic...

...and the Batangas Beef Tapa (P 220), also served with garlic rice and vinegar dip, classic Filipino fare prepared the Mario's way.

Then, the first of Mario's seasonal dishes arrived, the Soft Shell Crabs in Coco Cream Sauce...

...followed by the Three Mushroom Pasta in Black Truffle Oil with Bacon, with shiitake, button and oyster mushrooms topped with thick-cut bacon, seriously thick-cut bacon, and seriously good.

Then, Mario's all-time classics were served, starting with the Barbecue Spare Ribs (P 400), glazed with Mario's very own barbecue sauce...

...the Chicken Parmesan (P 310), breaded chicken breast topped with a creamy cheese sauce and tomatoes and served with fettuccine al burro...

...and Mario's classic steak dishes, including the Filet Mignon (P 640), bacon-wrapped tenderloin filet with mushroom gravy...

...the Steak Bearnaise (P 625), premium tenderloin with fettucine al burro...

...and Mario's classic Rack of Lamb (P 850), served with port mint sauce. Perfectly cooked and tender, just what you'd expect from Mario's.

Save room for dessert, you just can't miss Mario's legendary flambes...

Mario's Jubilee (P 350 for two), sweet mangoes bathed in fine liqueurs and flamed over ice cream. Other fresh fruit choices include banana or strawberry (when in season).

Capping the brunch with the classic Jubilee is definitely the Mario's way, and it just can't get better than that. Traditional favorites, and cool new dishes, and after all these years, Mario's is still in a class of its own.

Want to see more on Mario's? Check out my previous post on Mario's cool Sunday Buffet here at

Mario's is located at 191 Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City or call 373-0360 0r 415-3887 for inquiries. You can also visit their website at

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  1. I'm totally there... wish I really could be. :) Looks like a fabulous place. Love the flambe. :)


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