Trattoria Mario, Florence, Italy

Trattoria Mario, Florence, Italy

Eating In: Firenze, Italia

I fell for Trattoria Mario when I lived in Florence several years ago. I ate there many times, often with my brother, who loves Mario’s even more than I do (which is a lot).

Mario’s is a family-run trattoria just off the San Lorenzo Market. From the outside looking in, it’s a quiet restaurant in an area filled with noisy shoppers, both local and foreign. (For a restaurant that’s in every Florence guidebook I’ve ever owned, it’s remarkably full of locals.)

Once you step inside Trattoria Mario, it’s anything but quiet. The restaurant is long, narrow, and packed with tables. The menu, in Italian only, is posted up on the wall outside the kitchen. If you can’t read it from your table, you can get up to give it a read or one of the waitstaff will fill you in on the details.

 

I enjoyed the ribollita, a hearty Tuscan soup of simple ingredients: leftover bread, white beans, and vegetables, in this case, kale. The name means “reboiled” and it was originally a soup of all leftovers, dinner from the night before would reappear in this thick soup. Here’s it’s warm and heavy, the kale is al dente, and it’s graced with a swirl of olive oil on top. By itself, it’s enough for a light lunch that will leave you enough room to stop for gelato in an hour or two, but it’s not so heavy that you couldn’t enjoy a secondo, osso buco perhaps? Trattoria Mario’s osso buco is perfect.

 

Kevin ordered the simple and delicious pollo arrosto (roast chicken). He devoured the entire half chicken on his plate with joy and few words other than an initial “oh, wow, that’s good.” If you’d like a side dish, you’ll have to order it separately. I recommend fagioli all’olio (beans with olive oil) or any variety of patate (potato).

Beth enjoyed her first plate of pasta in Italy and will forever find most other pasta inferior. The pasta that ruined all pasta not eaten in Italy? Tortelloni al pomodoro – large cheese filled noodles with tomato sauce.

We shared our table (as you often do at Mario’s) with an Italian family who spoke very little English, but their daughter was delighted to meet some Americans. No one needed to say much anyway, the food spoke volumes.

Trattoria Mario:

Via Rosina 2r (near Mercato Centrale)
50123, Firenze, Italia

Hours: Monday-Saturday: noon-3:30 pm; closed Sundays and holidays

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