Sun and Tue-Thu, noon-9:30pm; Fri-Sat, noon-10:30pm; Mon, closed
B, D at Fordham Rd.; 4 at Fordham Rd.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Opened in 1919 as a pizzeria before growing into a favorite of campaigning politicos and Italian-American celebs on tour, Mario's is one of the longtime anchors of Arthur Avenue. Its décor is proudly excessive, with arches and columns cutting through the main dining room, and newspaper clippings about the restaurant’s history on the walls. The waiters are funny and friendly, and some dishes perfectly match the throw-back atmosphere: a hot appetizer plate for four brings mozzarella, prosciutto and asparagus, stuffed mushrooms, and zesty eggplant Siciliana, which is lightly fried and tossed with red peppers and tomatoes. Confident veal preparations dominate the menu, and a side of sautéed broccoli rabe and endive, flecked with lightly browned slices of garlic, has the right bite. Stuffed clams and fresh gnocchi are uninspired and fish dishes underwhelming, but the calamari cassuola, an enormous plate of yielding squid simmered in a rich marinara sauce, begs to be sopped up with bread. If you go on a Saturday night, you may be treated to Dean Martin's version of “Happy Birthday“ six or seven times, as customers return to Mario's to celebrate regularly.Extra
Mario Puzo set a gangster’s dinner at Mario’s in The Godfather, but the owners wouldn’t allow scenes from the movie to be shot there.Recommended Dishes
Calamari cassuola, $18.75; broccoli rabe, $8.50; eggplant Sicilana, $6.25