Sunday, July 03, 2005

Marios, Fitzroy

If there's one place that deserves special status as a breakfast institution, it's Marios, 303 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Tel +61 3 9417 3343. The first to serve breakfast all day. The benchmark for high quality, smart alec service. The go to place for a Melbourne cafe experience. It's nice to know that despite all that's changed in the last 20-odd years, Marios hasn't. Good eggs and bacon. Good coffee. Excellent service.

Ask me what makes this place so special and the best I can do is quote Dennis Denuto, legendary constitutional lawyer and star of The Castle... "it's just the vibe". Mismatched, multi-coloured lights. A couple of antique black and white tellys stuck to the poster-filled walls. Waist-coated waiters. White linen tables. It's just a great place to be.

The menu covers all the breakfast classics, with eggs, omelettes, beans, bacon, sausages, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, hash browns, avocado and salmon. They also do a respectable eggs benedict or florentine, which comes with bernaise rather than hollandaise. About the only thing missing is pancakes, but you can always make do with french toast.

17/20 "best vibe"

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Anonymous Tullster said...

Just returned from a great breakfast. Hasn't stopped raining all morning! The scrambled eggs were fantastic(best I've had from any establishment in a long, long time). Sour dough toast was great, as well as the spinach. Hash browns were fine, sausage was rubbish. My partner had poached eggs which were done to perfection.

Great, friendly service. The waiter seemed to know many of the regulars/locals by first name(& vice versa) and this really set the "vibe." The place had a fantastic buzz. Coffee was excellent, morish(my partner had to have another latte after consuming her first, my espresso was excellent).

Normally breakfast at the Green Grocer, but decided to try something a little different, very happy we did. Highly recommended. We'll be back.



P.S - Fantastic blog, looking forward to trying a few other places in the near future.

6/9/06 14:17  
Blogger TLA said...

Firstly, thanks for doing this blog - as an expat Melburnian, I love reading it and imagining my beautiful home city.

We returned to Melbourne briefly the other day for a funeral, and stopped to have breakfast at Mario's on your recommendation. Fabulous bacon, they were happy to add cheese, the coffee was lovely, the waitress was competent if a little distracted/distant.

Everything was great until I got to about the fourth-last mouthful and found a whacking great big piece of plastic. Couldn't bring myself to finish those last few mouthfuls after that.

We told the waitress and she immediately took off the cost of our coffees. Whoopee. I think in situations like this, restaurants too often miss the point that I could have ingested plastic in their establishment !!! Don't try to hush me up with $5.80 worth of coffee! I won't have it, and I will comment publicly about it!

11/9/06 12:56  
Blogger angie said...

After reading your applauding review just this morning it was decided that for a friend's birthday breakfast Mario's was the place to go.

The first bad sign appeared when after sitting down inside for a minute it was decided that we'd be better off outdoors, where we could smoke up an apatite in anticipation of what was sure to be some of the best eggs we'd had in a while.
The waiter, while snappily dressed, seemed almost personally offended by our request to move. Regardless of the burden, like a true professional he picked up the menus he had laid out moments before and followed us out the front door.

a few milligrams of nicotine later, the last of the group had joined us. We'd already been through a ham and cheese croissant, a bagel and some ice chocolate (so far so good). Next came the main course. My appetite was strangely absent this morning so I opted for a simple serve of scrambled eggs on sourdough with a side of hash browns. But when the snappy vested waiter arrived with our food something wasn't quite right... Looking down at my plate I noticed my eggs lay naked and alone, accompanied only by a tiny relish on top and my side serve of hash browns. Where is my toast? I said... I asked for sourdough, didn't I? (my friends reassured me I ordered it quite clearly)
Okay, so he forgot my toast, or more likely took or passed on my order incorrectly, i thought to myself. Just direct them to the problem and they'll gladly fix it for you, after all, the service here was reportedly excellent.
Two half-hearted nods and an "it's on the way" later, my friend's plates were being licked clean while the yellow blob on mine began to freeze over. After finally getting the attention of another smartly dressed waiter (with only a little less attitude) I told them to take it back, my appetite was lost along with my patience. After a small back and forth about what I had "apparently" ordered, the snappy vest quietly carried my yellow blob away.

But here's the kicker:
When the bill came we noticed we were charged for "Scrambled eggs + hash browns" with "[no toast]" scribbled clumsily underneath it in slightly but suspiciously different handwriting. Needless to say I immediately whipped out my Sharpie, crossed off $9.50 and replaced it with $2.00 (for the hash browns). No tip was left.

Although the rest of the table seemed quite satisfied and what I did eat was pretty good, I'll never forget those rude vested waiters and that big yellow blob.

5/11/07 17:24  
Blogger Catbrain said...

Had breakfast at Marios (there's no apostrophe, btw - the co-owners are Mario De Pasquale & Mario Maccerone) on Saturday and found the service quite good. They were v.busy (no surprise there) and we were a group of 4 adults and 1 3 yr-old; we had to wait about 15 mins for a table inside, but spent that time taking up a table outside. No yellow blobs for our scrambled; vege options good; pretty quick service considering they were packed out. The only minus was no soy - 3yo has lactose intolerance and had to have juice (which is not mum's usual first choice).

25/2/08 12:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Marios. My kids have eaten in Marios since they were babies. They learnt very quickly how to behave ( at the big table) and how long to wait patiently while mummy and her friends had 5 coffees. (kids cant learn those skills in Macca's) My daughter's fave when she went with her dad on Daddy's weekend was French toast, bacon and maple syrup. She still loves that but now she is 20. Breakfast all day is what sold us on Marios way back in '87. I hardly ever go to Marios for dinner. Its always been a breakfast place for me.

8/3/08 22:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went to Mario's to see what all the fuss was about. Breakfast you say??? I'm sorry but it was one of the smallest breakfast menus around and after finally getting my scrambled eggs...well...pretty ordinary I must say. I think they were cooked sometime in the last century! Hard, dry and cold!! Mmm...just how I like them...NOT! I can totally understand that this is an institution in Fitzroy although that doesn't mean we are are all fooled into believing its great when its not! Not sure about the vests either, by the way.

8/4/08 16:08  
Anonymous Anna said...

I've been here a few times but it never quite matches up to my first experience purely because on that occasion I had an attack of the greeds and ordered every extra on the menu except the smoked salmon!! And do you know what, it was so good that I finished it all, eggs, beans, bacon, sausages, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, hash browns and avocado included!! Sure it cost me about 30 bucks and I was reduced to rolling rather than walking for the rest of the day but it was well worth it!!

30/4/08 18:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a little surprised about all the hype!!! Went this morning with great anticipation but wow very average. I can't quite work out why the staff have such attitude and the food, well let's just say motel ordinary.

7/1/10 15:43  
Anonymous Damla said...

I am still in shock!

My friend and I just went to same place Marios on Brunswick, today. I have never experienced bad service and rudeness from a waiter who is actually the owner. I had a hair on my plate. When I informed our waiter ( the owner) he told me 3 times where it was. After I pointed to him many times, he poked my food and told me I was being obsessional. It was only a hair. All I wanted was the hair being removed from the food and maybe being asked if I would want to have something else. No, instead I was told off. I am working at a cafe. I served at restaurants before so I know how the customers should be handled if something is wrong with food especially if it is restaurant's fault. I left the place as he was extremely rude to me. I would never go back.

16/1/10 22:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We went to Marios on your reccomendation, as we've been to RP (it was orgasmic! - again, your rec), which is why I was so disapointed in this morning's breakfast. To begin with, I was red-faced for dare asking for a'skinny latte'. "WE ONLY SERVE FULL CREAM MILK!". Breakfast was nice (although one of the smallest breakfast menu's I have ever seen), expensive (two mains and 3 coffes was $49), and the staff were snooty. I barely got a second glace, but my husband was googled and conversed by the male waiters to no end (although, he took it was a complement, even though he was having breakfast with his wife!). First and last time for me.

12/3/10 15:38  
Anonymous Deb said...

Just back from brekky there and thought the staff were wonderful - I read here and elsewhere that they were snooty, but I totally disagree. No skim milk, that's true, and no eftpost or credit card facilities. It's seriously old school. Food was great, though, and service. I didn't think it was expensive: $35 bought three hot breakfasts, one coffee and a juice. Yum. I'll be back.

15/3/10 13:30  
Anonymous Dizeee said...

I will start my comments by saying I'm seriously Marios biased. I've been frequenting Marios for over 20 years. It's good for breakfast, lunch OR dinner, and later evening Sunday night drinks are always fabulous.

Marios is home away from home, staff are friends and greet you like a friend. Food is consistently good and the prices remain reasonable, where others all around them have gone completely mad.

Not ONLY is Marios a Melbourne institution, it's the perfect place to meet friends, share life, change the world, joke and laugh or cry and be sad. If you want to read a book or stare at the posters on the wall, all is accommodated.

So, I have had a thousand breakfasts, a million coffees, many delicious pastas and 'specials', and a trillion glasses of red. I cannot think of a bad experience or bad time. Marios is my 'blanket', my comfort food, my 'place'.

May it live on for a lot longer than me!


16/5/10 09:51  
Blogger Valda said...

Went to Marios for a coffee last Sunday after 3 years in the Middle East. Mario was all "how are you" and it was so great to see him too. Marios is my shining light in the bleak landscape of cruddy Melbourne (yes, i am having re-adjustment issues). I have grown up with Marios since its birth, since my children's birth and it is still my first choice in Brunswick St even though there may be places now with stronger coffee, soy milk, all day breakfast, a bigger breakfast menu and credit card services. Frankly, I could care less. Call me a snob but I would prefer it if all the people who don't appreciate Marios- for living by its own rules- go somewhere else so that i dont have to put up with them in MY Marios. I would rather you do that than have Marios change a thing. I am sure the waiters can be brusque, make mistakes, but at least they can never be accused of being obsequious. I hate that more. And of course the waiters know people. Marios stalwarts have been going there for 25 years. So if Marios is not all about the food, coffee or service. What is it about?

10/1/11 14:03  
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2/6/16 19:36  

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