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Mario’s Ristorante- Gold Coast

On Monday night, Jon & I met for a late-night dinner at Mario’s Ristorante three blocks from my apartment. I was working out later in the evening and Jon had a conference call until 8:30pm. We arrived and were happy to find that the restaurant was NOT empty. In fact, the bar had a crew of people watching Monday Night Football.

AMBIANCE: The ambiance is an interesting mix where cozy restaurant meets football team banners & TVs. Near our table, there was a tv with a slideshow of European paintings scrolling across. Needless to say, I was lucky enough to be greeted by Mario, the owner, and Tony, the manager. Both were great hosts and Jon & I enjoyed ourselves.

WHAT THE OWNER LIKES: Because of my interest in getting the ultimate experience, I asked Mario what dishes were his favorite. His reply: “If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you anything from this menu, because these are my dishes.” Instantly, I became a fan of this nice gentleman and his restaurant. He suggested the Tortellini Jumbalaya (spicy sausage, chicken, and shrimp over tortellini), so Jon ordered that for his main course.

PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA: I asked Mario which pizza to try because there were so many, and he spoke of how the chicken pesto was a popular and his personal creation. I ended up making a safe choice and went with the plain margherita so I could have an authentic taste before delving into the other pizzas.

Margherita Pizza

PIZZA REFLECTIONS: The Margherita pizza was great! The thinnest crust, tomato sauce, basil, and chopped tomatoes on top made for a satisfying appetizer! Tomato overload, but loved the combo of sauce & tomatoes. I liked the thin crust because it felt authentic, fresh, and not filling, compared to many deep dish Chicago restaurants

THE END: At the end of the meal, Tony brought over the chicken & pesto pizza for us to bring home. How generous! Jon was very pleased with the pesto pizza and took a few bites before we stored it in the fridge. The pesto was the sauce and sundried tomatoes and chicken made for a flavor blast… all in a small thin pizza. I will definitely try Mario’s again. Their authentic italian menu is appealing and it is hard to resist ordering a pizza for an appetizer! Next time I will try the Pizza Florentina or the Quattro Formaggio :)

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pizza

Isn’t it the best when restaurant owners & workers are kind to their patrons?! It makes for the best meal!

Looking forward: Today, Homemade Pizza Company is handing out free pizza & salads from 4-7pm today at their new Gold Coast location. I work until 5pm, so hopefully there will be some left for me at 5:15! :)

Mario's Gold Coast Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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