My wife and I found Mario’s on Valentine’s Day (2010) as we drove through Homestead on our way back to Marco Island from the lower areas of the Florida Everglades; and were we ever so glad that we did! Cuban food has always been a treat for us when in Florida, and Mario’s epitomizes the genre. We have now been back to Mario’s two additional times (driving 50 miles out of our way to do it) and have found the food and service consistently excellent.
We have a weakness for Cuban steaks, so our menu choices on each visit have been somewhat limited (steak, steak, steak). But we have observed the food that the locals order (most people visiting Mario’s are Cuban, which says a lot about the food quality and authenticity). All dishes are beautifully prepared, servings are large, and the satisfied look on the patrons underscores the high quality.
We sampled ham and cheese empanadas, fluffy and filled with thinly sliced ham wrapped around mild cheese; terrific. The churrasco (Cuban charbroiled flank steak) is tender, done exactly as ordered (medium, in our case), juicy, flavorful, and simply delicious. It comes with crisp and sweet fried plantains, a generous portion of steamed white rice, and a large bowl of flavorful black beans. We took home food after every visit since the portions were large and more than we could possibly eat in one sitting.
The sangria that we ordered on each visit (ratcheting up from a half-carafe on our first visit to a full carafe on our last) was a wonderful accompaniment. The fruit in the wine provided the sweetness and the red wine base had just the correct flavor to meld well with the tangy tastes of the Cuban steak.
Overall, a wonderful dining experience at a reasonable price. We will be back.