Ristorante Boca Mario
Piazza degli Ottaviani, 16 50123 Firenze
With a local food agenda in hand, I asked my hotel for a restaurant recommendation (which happens on the rare occasion) since the restaurants I researched were too far away. So I took a leap of faith and crossed my fingers for Buca Mario
even though I almost bailed halfway through the five minute walk from the hotel to the restaurant . Hold up. Why do you avoid hotel recommendations? Well it depends on where you’re staying and the hotel we stayed at was touristy… so I was hoping to avoid recommendations with overpriced menus, places they think “everyone” will enjoy (no thanks, Hard Rock) and restaurants they push in order to make commission.
Restaurant: In the direction of Piazza Indipendenza, Ristorante Buca Mario doesn’t look like much from the neon lights on the outside, however the interior is chic and modern.
Food: Tasted every local dish I wanted (Pappardelle Fresche al Sugo di Cinghiale (Wild Boar Ragu), Florentine Steak, Porcini Mushrooms & Cappellacci (ravioli) with Butter and Thyme) with an added bonus: homemade pasta. I honestly thought that the food was great, however, it was just a tad too small in portion.
- Front Desk Host: Extremely Rude. He’ll put up his hand to signal you to wait, will grunt at the person on the phone, and then highlights your name while pointing in the direction of a friendlier hostess
to make up for his horrible behavior. BTW, I was speaking in Italian so I’m not sure what it’ll be like for non-speakers.
- Seating Hostess: Super friendly and checks back to make sure everything is okay at your table mid-meal.
- Waiters: Incredibly helpful and smiley. If you do not speak Italian, no problem- they’re bilingual.
Environment: Risotorante Buca Mario is popular with visitors as well as locals. Definitely the type of place hotels recommend to everyone… so if you’re willing to pay a little more than you should, make sure to book a reservation… otherwise I’d recommend Osteria Pepo.
Pros: Homemade pasta, sauces, wine collection, restaurant decor & service.
Neutral: Fiorentina Steak (I prefer Il Latini)
Cons: Host at the front desk- I’m just guessing that his Dad won’t fire him, 4 euro cover charge per person (however you will get a free apron souvenir if that makes you feel better), and Portion Sizes.