Nestled in a quiet street towards the end of Mar Mikhael lies Mario e Mario. An old Lebanese house transformed into a cozy Italian eatery with a yellow wall exterior, purple shutters, and homestyle plants.
We walked into the restaurant shortly after 9 pm. We were greeted by one of the happiest and most helpful waiters I’ve ever seen! He led us up a narrow staircase to the restaurant’s rooftop. Understated and romantic, soft music plays in the background as guests dine on Italian delicacies and sip their cocktails in a laid back environment. The place is absolutely perfect for a lazy Sunday lunch or early drinks with friends.
Unfortunately, the terrace was packed so we made our way back down inside and chose a small table for 2. A new waiter emerged with a cold bottle of stillwater as we admired our table setting: 2 tomatoes and one lemon placed on a plate with a tiny plant of basil nearby (I thought this added such a homey feel to the place!)
As we waited for our menus, a lady stopped at our table to say hello. Mrs. Cynthia Sednaoui from Mario e Mario told us the story of how the place came to be: the restaurant is owned by Mario Haddad, who also owns Falamanki (that by the way makes the best Fattouch in the country). Mario presented his father (also named Mario) with this new Italian eatery on his birthday. The most interesting fact about the restaurant is that the entire menu changes everyday, based on what organic products the Napoli chef finds and the fish catch of the day. So, you are always promised a surprise!
We kicked off our dinner by ordering the Melanzane Alla Parmiggiana, which basically consists of baked eggplants with tomatoes and Mozzarella and Panzanella Classica, a mixed vegetable salad with creamy Burrata cheese. The salad was yummy and the dressing with the Burrata cheese was just amazing.
For our main course, I went for the Gnocchi di Patate Alla Sorrentina- potato gnocchi with basil, tomato sauce, and Mozarella. The tomato sauce was simply divine. Made from scratch, it added the perfect flavor to the gnocchi.
Ralph went for the Totelloni Di Ricotta E Spinaci- which is basically handmade Ricotta and spinach tortelloni with butter and Parmesan sauce. At first, I thought the portion was too small, but every bite is as heavy as the one before. The dish is actually too much for my taste, but Ralph enjoyed the flavored mix of spinach and cheese.
Shortly after our meal, the waiter presented us with a serving of homemade Tiramisu and a slice of lemon pie (also homemade). Both desserts were delicious, but the pie won me over with its light filling and crispy crust!
Mario e Mario is one of those restaurants you just have to visit: It’s not an easy task for a restaurant to pull off a new menu everyday, but the place does it with such class and professionalism. The servers are knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly.
Head out to Mario e Mario for a Sunday lunch with the family, an early drink with friends on the terrace, or a date with someone you’re trying to impress- you will not be let down, I promise!
Mario e Mario is located on Rue Patriarche Arida, Mar Michael. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12:30 pm until 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm until 11:30 pm. For reservations, call 01 444 036 .
Meal for two without wine: USD $ 110.
Special thanks to Mrs. Cynthia Sednaoui for being so hospitable and to the entire team for their generosity.