If you are in the right mood with a relaxed attitude, this place can be both fun and delicious. The food is as good as it is reputed to have. It is also as crowded and frenetic as advertised. We enjoyed it thoroughly.
Expect a crowd in front of the small store front. Go in and give them your name and size of your group. They will give you an honest estimate of the wait time. They told us 30 minutes; we were in within 25. You will be ushered to you seats and space will be tight. You will share a table with other diners. I ended up at the end of one table, essentially in the middle of the narrow isle servers and guest use to move get around the restaurant. This means I was bumped now and then, but in the upbeat spirit of the place (the servers, and even the cooks were in jovial moods), it didn't bother me.
There are no menus, only one list of offerings posted on the kitchen-side wall in the middle of the very small dining room. That wall menu is in Italian, but in very small print there are English translations. You will have to go up to read them.
The menu offerings are broad. You won't find it difficult to find something appealing. Our group tried a simple pomodoro pasta plate, a veal chop and a pork chop. Others in our table had their vegetable-bread soup, a porcini pasta dish and their Florentine steak. Everyone was more than pleased with their selection. A house wine is available, but we choose to get a glass of their featured wine. For 6 Euros, we had a truly excellent Brunello that just capped off a delightful dining experience.
Service was friendly, helpful and efficient. But do bring Euros. Credit cards are not accepted. But with the reasonable prices, you won't need that many to have a great (if a bit different) dining experience.
Trattoria Mario is famous, and for good reason. It is swamped with tourists but retains a non-touristy vibe, complete with menu scratched on the wall in Italian, cash only payment, servers shouting in Italian and scrambling all over each other, jugs of wine on the table, the works. It's just off the Mercato Centrale and apparently ther'es normally quite a wait but hey, go on a Wednesday in February and walk right in! You'll likely be at a communal table, if you're in a small party. They're only open for like 3 hours a day, so lunch is your only chance to come!
The menu changes somewhat daily with the seasons (thus the handwritten). But some staples are always there. We started with a small portion of pasta with meat sauce, which was simple but very good. Meat sauces in Italy always have this amazing, rich, homemade taste that I've never been able to mimic. Something to strive for! Then we split the bistecca alla fiorentina which is what they are famous for me. It was humongous (2 lb) and 35 euros but is meant to be shared. We got a small green salad to cut through all that richness. My boyfriend hilariously raved about the salad, which was super simple. He even asked the waitress what was in the dressing, and she just said "lemon and olive oil." The thing is that it's all such good quality ingredients that it tastes like much more than the sum of its parts. It's worth getting, only like 2 euros or something, and way better than your average American side salad. The steak itself was wonderful of course, served rare as always and was juicy, meaty, and wonderful. No sauce, which I prefer, so the natural taste of the beef really came through.
It's a lot of food for lunch, but such a fun experience. Don't be afraid of the rare beef! Relax, people, it's not going to kill you! It's going to be delicious! Maybe it will convince you to stop ordering steaks well-done back in America....
This was a great spot for lunch and there was a constant line outside the restaurant. There were tourists and locals alike, and the menu seemed to change daily. We decided to go for the Florence style T-bone steak for two people, which was about 1 kg (2.2 lb) which was 35 euros. We got the papitas frites and house wine to accompany the meal, which was a great balance to all the meat we were eating at 1pm!
The steak was cooked according to the restaurants desires, and I'll admit it was a lot more rare than I'm used to. I'm not even kidding, I think that some parts of the meat were colder than room temperature.... But maybe that's how it's cooked in Florence? Anyways, it was still good and tasty.
The bread was pretty different and not sweet or salty. It's okay but definitely not the best. The place was packed and tiny, and the service was kinda not the best, hence the 4 stars. I'd recommend it but I'd suggest getting there early to avoid the cramped tables!
Steak is delicious! Order the steak with a glass of chianti.
Room is very packed so that you'll have chance to communicate with others. I didn't see many locals, mostly are tourists including international tourists and tourists from other parts of Italy.
One of my favorite restaurants in Firenze, if not my favorite for the super casual ambiance, the always packed room, the lines of hungry and eager tourists waiting outside. No-nonsense high quality, delectable Tuscan food! Try everything. You must. Among my favorites are the roast chicken, roast potatoes, beans, ragu pasta, roast rabbit, arista (pork), lentil soup. And that's just off the top of my head.
It's too touristy now and the food quality went down so not worthy of me rubbing elbows and other body parts with dirty and stinking Europeans and annoying, loud and completely uneducated historically American tourists to eat their grub and put up with the typical Italian lack of costumer service in that tiny place...
Our hotel recommended this place to us and said to go there if you want something casual and non touristy. Non touristy is right. We could not even read the menu since it was in Italian. This place is very small. Our waitress told us the two pasta selections they offered and said that we could share a steak. The people we shared the table with shared a steak and it looked totally raw. We both opted for the tortellini with meat sauce. The bread they gave us was super bland with no butter to go with it. Besides the tortellini we ordered a mixed green salad, soda and sparkling water. The pasta was pretty delicious but if they had something with seafood that would've been my first choice. Our salad was just lettuce and tomatoes with vinagerette. Our bill only came out to 20 euros which was great.
If I had to describe this place with one word it would be AUTHENTIC. THIS IS Italian cooking. I am of Italian descent and can really vouch for Mario's. We wanted to try them our first night in Florence, but discovered they are only open for lunch :(
So, we came back the next day around 2 PM. We pout our name in and waited, and waited some more. All in all, about an hour! Everything here is fresh and the menu is hand written daily. The downside to getting there late is that they will run out of the popular items. The steak is ridiculous. It is 1 kilo..what? 2.2lbs...
We did not get that, but instead got the beef stew and the ravioli...Oh my Jesus..so good. the wine is also pretty inexpensive. You will be charged for bread. I believe .50 Euro a slice. It is very good, and definitely worth trying a piece.
TIP: GET HERE EARLY and bring cash.
the best food i've ever had in italy and for an amazing price. totally worth it. the lamb chops were so juicy i went to heaven. i wish i was here for longer so that i could go there multiple times. i could eat every meal here (except for the breakfast of one pastry and 2-3 cups of espresso throughout the day that everyone is expected to down while in italy)!!!
This restaurant is recommended in the Rick's Steve's Italy guide.
Came here for lunch and was incredibly crowded and had to share a round table with few other groups of people. I think all of the tourists must have read the same guide book.
The order takers and food servers moved very quickly but still the wait was long to get seated and took awhile for the orders to be taken and for the food to arrive. Also the waiters kept bumping into my chair. It's just so busy!
* Lentil soup with olive oil - Good
* Side salad - Meah okay. Had better salads.
* Roasted chicken - Very good
* Roasted rabbit - Good
Very high-energy and casual atmosphere. Overall the experience was mixed. Food was decent but way too crowded.
Great service and great food. This place was recommended by a local we met in Rome and it didn't disappoint. The steak is seasoned and cooked medium rare, a must order.
Stopped here for lunch right before they closed. Had the bistek a la florentina, which was amazing. It was massive! The sear was perfect. It came with tomatoes with olive oil and fries. Service was great. Highly recommend!
THIS IS IT!!!! TRULY FLORENTINE!!! TRULY ITALIAN!!!!
This is one of my favorite places IN THE WORLD. Mario's is the type of place I wished I lived closed to. Yes, is true, you have to wait for a table. And in most days the wait is long. I had to wait 1hr and half but once you step through that door you forget how long you have waited. So you have to sit next to strangers. The way I see it, they are friends you haven't met yet. And this is coming from a not very social person. But Mario's have that power to change your mood, make you better and the food is nearly life changing.
My meal was simple. A bowl of bean soup, pasta in meat sauce and a bistecca alla Florentina and finish with cantuccini and vino santo. Next Stop, HEAVEN!!! The bean soup was superb, and with a nice drizzle of olive oil sort of a finishing touch to a masterpiece. The pasta was simple yet sublime. The true example that Italian cooking is simple and amazing when done right. And the steak...where do I start? A 3-4 lb monstrosity of beef cooked rare to the bone yet, amazingly enough, not bloody at all. Perfectly seasoned, perfectly grilled. To finished, cantuccini and vino santo. A way to finish the meal not with a period but with an exclamation point.
Last, but not least, the service. The service here is incredible. From Mr Romeo manning the kitchen to Fabio, one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet and true Fiorentina fan, everyone here is friendly and always making sure you are enjoying your time.
Can't wait to be back. Until then Forza Viola!!!
For the past six years I make space in my Europeans vacation for stop at Florence to take lunch at Trattoria Mario. The food is unbelievable good and service (the trattoria is a family business) is awesome. I recommended to all my friends that told that being visiting the town or the surrounding.
A small, busy trattoria serving simple Tuscan fare guided by the local market. No reservations (30-45 minute wait if you don't go early). Communal seating. Unpretentious. A great experience (if you let it be).
Yes, it's secret has been outed by guidebooks and blogs. The 60 year old family trattoria even has a website. Oh well, if this is food for tourist, give me more!
Delicious bistecca (Florentine T-bone beef steak). Huge (about 1.2Kg). Simply seasoned with salt, then cooked very rare (you have no choice it is only served the way it should be) then doused in fresh, peppery olive oil. Very deep beef flavor thanks to the grass fed Chianina cow; the largest breed of cow that produces dense, very flavorful beef but with limited marbling.
The zuppa di fagioli (white bean soup) and the ribollita (bread soup) are excellent. Great extraction of flavors. Thick, dense soups that pour like porridge. A generous dousing of fresh olive oil adds earthy, peppery richness. The simplicity and freshness is incredible. Trying either will alter your perception of what Italian soup is in America.
Finally the house made, fresh pastas. Artichokes were in season and the tagliatelle di carciofo was excellent. Beautiful crunch on the sliced artichokes, sublime toothsome texture of the pasta.
Reasonable prices. Lunch only. Cash only. Some English. No printed menu (there is board in Italian only). Go early, they do run out of dishes the later it gets.
Experience food. Experience life.
Best gnocchi I had in all of Florence. I love this place.
Trattoria Mario was highly recommended by one of the locals, so we came here for lunch after visiting the Accademia. This diner is open only during limited hours, between 12 and 3.30pm, so make sure you plan your visit because it is totally worth your time and money.
It is a tad hard to find the restaurant especially because the door was closed when we arrived at 2.30ish. Opened the door and with my broken Italian, asked the guy to reserve un tavolo per due. The restaurant is super-crowded and you'll most likely share your table with strangers. Don't expect this to be a fancy place.
We ordered Manichi el ragu, Raviolo agli asparagi and rosso casa della vino. Fast service, within a few minutes, the food was at our table. Looked enticing and both the dishes turned out to be absolutely mouth-watering. Relished every bit of the dish and realized how unauthentic the Italian restaurants in the US are. They serve two slices of pane (bread) at a cost of 0.5 Euro each.
I highly recommend stopping by Trattorio Mario for lunch when you are near the Duomo. Service is great, which is unusual in Italy.
Things to know for sure about Trattoria Mario:
- It will be crowded
- You will have to wait for a table
- You will sit veeeery close to strangers
- You will eat an incredibly delicious meal
- You will need to have cash to pay for said delicious meal
Their menu changes daily and you will stand and watch as the item you were eyeballing gets marked off the list -- once it's gone for the day, it's gone. For starters, we shared a bowl of a white bean soup that was FANTASTIC. We then went with our second choice and had a pasta with meat sauce. When they brought it out, it didn't look like anything special... but one bite later, we were convinced of otherwise.
This place is a gem and definitely worth checking out.
Mario's one tough motherfucker, but that's because he can be.
Anxious to see what Mario is all about, I came by a couple of times while in Florence to find only meaty entrees. If you don't eat fish, "you can have soup" was the mantra, and I respect a dude cooking with principles; but I didn't endure a BO-laden train ride from Rome to slurp broth. Sling me some carbs!
I decided to take one last shot on my final day in the city and was overjoyed to see rigatoni pomodoro scrawled on the day's menu. I shuffled into the packed space, took my assigned place at a table of other curious tourists and bonded in our pursuit of deliciousness (aided by an inexpensive yet tasty quartino).
This made for one of my favorite meals in Italy. Go get Mario's goods and be happy you did.
The steak is really quite massive, fairly certain it's meant for 2. Very flavorful, cooked medium and doused with olive oil. The pastas are very nice as well.
Holy cow - the steak here was great! Nice deal for the food you get - wine, steak, anything your heart desires. We came around closing (1:30-2pm?) and put our names down on the list. We left and came back in 30-45 minutes, which was perfect timing as we were seated shortly afterwards.
The place was so crowded that we had to share a 4-person table with 2 other guys, but it wasn't bad. They gave us good tips on what to order and we had a great experience.
We went here for lunch our first day in florence and walked into an institution. Its super crowded, you share tiny little tables with strangers but that doesn't matter even a little once the food comes. In fact it becomes a bonus!
Their specialty is the steak Florentine. We opted not to order this since it was 130 in the afternoon and a kilo of meat in the Florentine heat just seemed like it might not be a good idea. But then we had food envy. But not for long.
We ordered their beef stew and the ravioli with ragu. Just delicious. A lot of meat but oh so good! It is really good, but somehow whatever deliciousness they put into their food made my inner California girl turn her head away. After chatting with the couple we were seated with we offered some of what we ordered so they would try something else. Turned out the ordered the steak. So when their steak came we got to try that. Although it was really good I was glad we didn't order it but got to try it.
If you're with a group of 4 - order the steak!
Stopped in to try the famous bistec florentina since we heard this place has the best one.
They were slam packed and we sat at a really small table with another girl on her own getting lunch so just a heads up this might not be the best for large parties unless you settle with them ahead of time.
The steak was awesome along with the spaghetti dish my wife ordered. Service was awesome and although the steak is a bit on the pricey side, its a must try!
Hands down the best food experiences of my life happened in this crowded little trattoria. I lived in Firenze long enough to experience 3 seasons and each were delicious at Mario's. The menu is limited and based on what is fresh in the market across the way. This means you get to eat a one of a kind meal every time you go. Some staples will always be available like the steak. If you haven't felt the joy of biting into a Florentine steak then you, my friend, are spending your life in the dark. Be adventurous- don't ask them to cook it well done- try it as it is intended.
The fresh olive oil is key. It is perfection. We were lucky enough to purchase some off them to use in our flat- but nothing could compare to their meals.
I can't rave enough about Trattoria Mario. I think many American tourists that we saw were intimidated or disgruntled even by the community tables and small space. It is a shame really- because a negative attitude makes many things taste bitter. Just push your cares away and enjoy the life. It isn't south central LA- there isn't going to be a gang shooting and no one is going to pick-pocket you. The water is safe. Calm down and enjoy la dolce vita!
What can I say about Mario? This place is simply AMAZING. I came here close to the end of my europe trip and I didn't expect much because we stopped for a quick lunch.....oh man..... was I wrong!
I came here with 2 friends and we waited for 30-40 mins, which is not bad because we came right at lunch time. We were seated by a very nice waitress but had to share a table with others. I didn't mind to share a table with others because I used to do that in Hong Kong, this might bother some of you though. Anyways, the menu was very simple. I had my eyes on the fried rabbit but wanted something more. I asked the waitress for recommendations.... she gave me a look (in a good way) and said "pasta with meat sauce".
We waited for about 10 mins for our food. The pasta with meat sauce looked very simple, seems like something I could made at home. I took my first bite and I couldn't believe the texture of the pasta and the flavorful meat sauce. How can something so simple be so delicious???? One of my friends wasn't hungry... I think he ordered the raviolis, but I told him he MUST TRY this dish. He took a bite of my dish and immediately waved our waitress over and ordered one for himself!
The pasta with meat sauce is THE DISH that defined Florence for me. It cost less than $10 euros, but I would pay $50 dollars to have it again in the U.S.
Sharing a table is part of the experience
Riboloto soup, tortellini with meat sauce, 1/2 liter of wine, desert for only 15euros. Best bargain in town-food was great.
Found this place based on reviews and I must agree with the others. This place is a must try. The food was amazing. We order the steak (a must have!) and the chicken breast. You dont get to choose how the steak is made (we got it med) but it was fabulous. We got there a little after 1pm and didnt have to wait for a table but by 1:30pm the place was packed.
We didn't spend much time in Florence, but this was hands-down my favorite meal in Florence, if not in Italy. The place is tiny, so be prepared to sit with strangers, but that makes the experience all the more unique.
I ordered the pasta with grouper while my wife got the spaghetti and clam. Both were incredible. The pasta is hand-made, which I couldn't get enough of in Italy. My dish sounded like the combination (pasta + grouper) would be stranger, but the grouper held up really well and the sauce was packed with flavor. The clam and spaghetti was good, but I liked the grouper pasta better.
We saw lots of people order steaks and pork chops, which also looked pretty amazing. Too bad we couldn't grow bigger stomachs to order them.
If you're in Florence, definitely check this place out.
Yum! Authentic Florentine food. Menu changes daily. Tiny place where you share your table with other diners. Good prices.
When someone tells me they're going to Florence, I can't help but immediately blurt out...GO TO TRATTORIA MARIO! Such a wonderful food memory in a truly amazing city. While visiting Florence for a short weekend away from Rome, my friends and I were starving for a great Florentine meal. I had a pretty darn guidebook with me that says this place is the best, and after asking locals, they all agreed that this place is the spot. Thank you Italian men, you never let me down in the food department!
We rolled up here at the beginning of Italian lunch hour and the workers were gracious enough to cram us into this tiny eatery. I think I was literally sitting on top of the people next to me; a small sacrifice for great food! You know you're in a serious Italian eatery when the menu is hand-written on a board, and they change the menu everyday. A far cry away from awful "menu turistico" that pops up all over major cities like Rome or Florence. Always avoid the "menu turistico!"
The waitress said they had a chickpea soup that day, and we all agreed to that one. The chickpea soup was no doubt, the best soup I've had in my entire life. I know, I know, you're thinking...what the heck could be so amazing about soup!? Well, it was the smoothiest, creamiest damn thing I've ever tasted. It was perfectly seasoned. I dream pretty much dream about this soup everyday. Oh Trattoria Mario, why do you have to be on another continent? I want you right around the corner from me! I also had a delicious chicken dish here. If you're looking for some seriously classic Italian red meat fare, then this is your spot.
This was one of those meals where everyone's eyes lit up, and we didn't even have to say anything...everyone knew what everyone else was thinking....delicious! This place fell in typical Italian tradition in that it was a bit difficult to focus on the food because you can see into the kitchen, and they can definitely see you too! And trust me, they're definitely staring!
Wonderful spot that captures the true essence of Italian cooking, as well as what it's like to dine like an Italian. Highly recommended!
Great food and inexpensive. DO NOT miss on their beef stew.
I ordered roasted rabbit and it was excellent. Simple dishes cooked perfectly.
If you're looking for a traditional Fiorentine experience, come to Trattoria Mario's, where you will sit next to someone you don't know at lunch at a communal table and walk away with friends for dinner. The restaurant itself is small, but cozy enough as when you walk in, you are immediately hit with Italian comfort.
The last time I was here, I had the Fiorentine Bisteca, because if you're in Florence, you have to eat the Bisteca... and the waiter and the cooks all yelled at me to pick up the bone of the bisteca and basically eat it caveman style. Who am I to say no? The clapping commenced, the shots poured and shoved in my hand and did I mention it was only lunch time?
Really, you will not be disappointed. The menu changes due to the seasons and everything you order from the zuppa (soup) to the main courses will blow you away. It's worth the wait.
My favorite restaurant in Florence. The T-bone steak and ribollita are a must have! I still day dream about that soup. Ribollita is an italian bread soup and the best I ever had was from here. Split a steak with your friend.
This place is always packed because it's awesome. cafeteria style seating, be prepared to make friends with your neighbors, but don't worry everyone is super friendly and happy because they are eating delicious well priced food.
Try something new every time if you have the chance to go often! Specials are always good.
If you could only eat at one restaurant in Florence, it should be this one.
Great place! Yummy food and an authentic Italian atmosphere :-)
This is a very cool traditional Italian place. From what I recall, it is only open for lunch for a few hours. Tiny place...you share communal tables with other guests and the servers are literally climbing over people.
When I went several years ago, the wife/owner was an older lady, who would shout back the orders to her husband in the kitchen...very unique experience, friendly service, authentic food.
Trattoria Mario was one of the more memorable meals I had in Florence. Situated off a street that leads to Florence's Central Market, Piazza San Lorenzo and the many restaurants for al fresco dining, Trattoria Mario's unassuming storefront with stickers and literature completely covering its door can easily be dismissed. However once inside, you find a merge of locals, foodies and tourists seeking a great yet simple Florentine meal in a small, bustling, cafeteria-style space.
The restaurant opens only during lunch hours and serves up some delicious pastas and meats, which many come for the Fiorentina Bisteca. My party tried some of their daily specials such as the cheese ravioli, roasted pork, and pappardella al ragu. The ravioli and pappardella looked beautiful and tasted delicious. The roast pork was served simply by itself and like the unassuming facade of Trattoria Mario, it is really what's inside that counts! It was a perfect lunch for our last meal in Florence. I highly recommend this place and will return when I'm in Florence!
Food: classic Florentine, home style
Ambiance: energetic, casual, busy
We sought this place out based on the Yelp reviews. Its very charming, and uncommon for an Italian restaurant in that they turn over the tables quickly. Very efficient. I'm not even sure if they serve dessert or coffee! We weren't offered any. The service was outstanding though - very friendly. There was a line when we got there on a rainy Tuesday but we didn't wait very long, they managed the list well.
There were 4 of us (2 kids) and we ordered 3 primi and 3 secondi. The food was great - with the exception of the bistecca fiorentina. You will find better elsewhere, do not order it here. They use the end of the "T-bone" so the filet is non existent and the meat is on the tough side, they don't season it with herbs in the traditional manner, and it isn't allowed to rest before they carve it. The roast pork and beef stew were awesome, the pastas and ribolita were superb.
One of the most typical and famous "Trattoria" of the city. It is cited in many city guides and gastronomic guides.
It is close to S. Lorenzo market, in a very suggestive location. The interior is not so big and there is the possibility to share the table with other people and then starting a conversation after the first glass of wine!
The speciality is the steak "alla fiorentina" and other Tuscany's specialties. The food is served and cooked in a perfect Tuscany's style, the waitress are gentle and very kind.
Prices are within the average of the city and the quality is high.
In the summer you can eat outside in a small court. It's opened only for launch (not dinner) and, if you want to have a seat, go in, write your name in the list and wait for your turn just outside, the waitress will call you.
Credit cards are not accepted.
If you are going to have a trip in Florence you have to go there!
We are from the US and staying in Florence for 2 nights. We found this place on Yelp today when we were walking around looking for a place for lunch after hiking up and down the stairs to view the scenery on top of the Piaza Dumo.
We had a fantastic meal and it was inexpensive to boot!. Bread, bottled water ,red wine, salad, pasta and pork loin for 2 people was 28 euros. As others have indicated it isn't fancy in the least but the staff, patrons and food are wonderful. If you like great food in a fun and casual atmosphere then don't miss it.
It is only open for lunch and they close at 3:30.
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