I got a chance to visit Mario’s Restaurant, way up north in Baguio where it all started in 1971 last March. This was my 2nd trip to Baguio in less than 6 months, after being absent for a good 30 years, the long travel time was not particularly endearing for me.The two recent trips have changed my mind, with improved roads getting better, the travel time is being cut down and the cool weather there is definitely something I regret missing out on. I stayed at Hotel Elizabeth Baguio both times and had a wonderful time.
In typical Baguio fashion, the restaurant was not air conditioned since they want patrons to enjoy the cool and fresh weather. The interior makes you feel like its in someone’s nice country home complete with fireplace. Wicker and wood furniture in dark green hues together with small design touches serves to tie it all together.
Over the weekend, we had 3 meals here from a light lunch to a heavy set dinner then finished off with their popular Sunday brunch buffet before leaving Baguio.
Here’s a hodgepodge of the food I had.
Sopa de Mariscos (P210). A tangy Spanish seafood soup teeming with tomatoes and spices. Perfect for the cool Baguio weather.
French Onion Soup (P190). A thick layer of gooey cheese on top of the flavorful soup.
Chicken Oriental Salad. Perfectly grilled chicken on a bed of crisp greens and crispy Asian noodles.
Calamares Fritos (P285). Served with some calamansi and tartar sauce on the side.
Salpicon de Mar Y Tierra (P425). Tenderloin and shrimps cooked in garlic, olive oil and chili. The garlic rice served to increase the toasted garlic taste of the whole dish and by the time I noticed it, I’d almost finished all of it, woe be to my diet.
Churros con Tsokolate and Fruit Gelatin. The churros were not as good as I hoped, a bit on the doughy side. I love gelatin and can’t really resist it any time I get a glimpse of it.
Banofee Pie, one of Mario’s best selling desserts. Crust, chocolate, toffee, bananas and generous amount of cream combine to make a heavenly dessert.
What would a meal in Baguio during strawberry season be without their appearance. Strawberries Jubilee (P310) and Strawberry shake. The strawberry jubilee is only available in Baguio, cooked masterfully in front of us. I had to finish it quickly since it made the ice cream melt very quickly. I think I asked for another serving of this, how could I resist strawberries and ice cream.
Mario’s Restaurant has stood the test of time both in Baguio, where it is a culinary institution and in Quezon City. Many restaurant have gone up and shuttered but they still remain keeping their commitment to serve food with no shortcuts since this is the Mario’s way. Lots of occasions have been celebrated in Mario’s and I for one have many fond memories at their Tomas Morato branch.
Upper Session Road,
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