I had eaten here on a previous trip and enjoyed it, so I thought I would stop in again on a more recent visit. Mario's feels as if it's been part of the neighborhood forever, somehow old-school and hip at the same time. It's cozy and has big windows looking out on the lively North Beach scene -- perfect for enjoying lunch and soaking up atmosphere at the same time. Both times I've eaten here (with several years in between), I had friendly service and felt perfectly comfortable as a solo diner (though this would be a great place to bring a friend as well). I like the meatball sandwich, which I ordered this time with a small Caprese salad. It was just right for lunch and delicious, too. I wish I had had time for dessert, as the menu looked intriguing.
Besides food, Mario's has coffees, tea, Italian sodas, beer, wine, and aperitifs, so no matter what you're in the mood for, you're covered. I would have to say this place is one of a kind, and that's a compliment.
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