Mario’s Restaurant is considered to be one of Baguio’s pioneer. It has been around since 1971, even before I was born. As far as I can remember, the restaurant was located at the top of Session road. Unfortunately, their place caught fire and since then they had transferred to Camp John Hay until they found their home at Upper Session Road where the present Mario’s Restaurant is now located.
My Mario’s Restaurant First Myths
Mario’s is one of the establishments that residents and tourists associate with Baguio. If you hear of Mario’s restaurant you immediately think, “Ah! it’s a restaurant in Baguio City!”. For me, I have always known that Mario’s is a Baguio Icon well-known to Baguio residents. From experiences shared by friends and relatives, I have created an impression or rather myths about Mario’s and here are some of my first impressions. (Note that I haven’t been to Mario’s when I formed these impressions/myths):
- Mario’s Restaurant only have one restaurant location and that is in Baguio
- It is a restaurant mostly for the elite of Baguio
- You have to wear formal clothing to enter the restaurant.
- Prices are astronomical
- Food is very delicious
After my dining experience at Mario’s, I was able to dispel 4 myths and confirm 1 of them.
Technically My First Time At Mario’s Restaurant
When my food blogger friend The Kitchen Goddess went up to Baguio and invited me to have dinner at Mario’s I immediately grabbed the opportunity. To be honest in all of my 30 years in Baguio this might just be my first formal dinner at Mario’s. The other times I was at Mario’s was when I was invited to a meetup, no food was involved, and the other time it was an event so I only eat what was served. This time, however, it was different, it is a dining experience only for me, my daughter, my blogger friend and her family.
Dining Experience The Mario’s Way
When it’s your first time to dine at any restaurant, of course, you only order their best sellers. So the dinner is Mario’s Paella Valenciana and their signature Ceasars Salad. The Paella Valenciana is laced with a hefty serving of seafood like crabs, fish fillets, mussels and squid rings. Not to mention the slices of boiled egg, chorizo and of course the rice.
The Mario’s signature Ceasars salad is one of the best Ceasar Salad I’ve tasted. The salad dressing is really yummy. I found out that the Mario’s way is to prepare the dressing fresh and if you request for it, they can even prepare table side.
Demystifying Mario’s Restaurant
My dining experience at Mario’s restaurant made me realize that those that I have formulated impressions of this fine restaurant are mostly myths. Mostly because one thing was actually true, that is, the food is delicious! Not only that, I have learned that although Mario’s started in Baguio they have a branch in Manila. I learned further that their food in both restaurants has that degree of consistency.
It meant, therefore, that when you dine in the Manila branch you get that same taste as when you dine in their Baguio branch or vice versa.
As for the price? It may be bordering on the high side, but if you factor in the ambiance, the service and of course the quality of the food you will realize that what you spent is worth it.
As a resident of Baguio, dining at one of the City’s iconic restaurant is more than just an exploration of the taste buds. It is also an exploration of history and culture experienced through food and the restaurant’s ambiance.
My first dining experience at Mario’s is definitely not my last, I look forward to visiting again hungry for more of that delicious food.