A glorious, bloody, Florentine steak

Exterior of Trattoria Mario

We’ve spent the last ten days or so on holiday in Tuesday and Umbria. I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Italy prior to this but I love Italian food so was excited about the culinary delights that awaited us.

I have not been disappointed. We have eaten wonderful food (and lots of it) every day – more to come on that – and today we had a stupendous Florentine steak.

The Rough Guide warns that as so many restaurants in Florence are aimed at tourists, “standards are often patchy”. With this in mind, and with just one day in the city, we were determined to visit one of the restaurants the guide book recommended highly. Perusing the reviews, my eye was drawn to a line in the listing for Trattoria Mario on via Rosini: “… for earthy Florentine cooking at very low prices, there’s nowhere better”. Sold.

It’s easy to miss Trattoria Mario, and that’s exactly what we did initially. However, we soon realised our mistake, did a 180 and found the place. Unlike many of the restaurants flooding the historic centre of Florence, there are no tables outside and no pushy salesman thrusting a menu at you as you go past. They don’t need to do that. This place is rammed at 12:15 on a Monday. After a 15 minute wait for a table, they managed to squeeze us in by the window. It’s a tight, busy place and not one that seems exactly ideal for a family with two young children, but they were very accommodating; whisking the pram off next door and spiriting a high chair out of nowhere.

Interior of Trattoria Mario

You’re not brought a menu, you just have to consult the handwritten list of maybe ten dishes by the entrance. It didn’t take us long to opt for a 1kg Florentine steak (ribeye) to share. They did a half portion of pasta with tomato sauce for Maya (our soon to be three year old) for a paltry three euros and she hoovered it down. Then the steak arrived, and wow, what a steak!

Florentine steak

Asher (our eight month old) had already eaten and was tired and grumpy so Samana stood up with him while I cut up the steak and fed it to her, and myself, along with a bowl of chips (although Maya had taken control of them). Such is life trying to eat out with young kids.

Mario’s reminded me of the steak places I loved in Buenos Aires and the steak here was equal to the best of them. We resolved to come back without the kids sometime and sit in peace with a steak, chips, salad and a bottle of red.

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