With Mariosarti, I understand from my friend that this was a really popular italian restaurant in Toowong. So surely a reputable restaurant can do no wrong, can they?
We originally called up on Saturday morning with the hope for a reservation but got a voice recording saying that they were fully booked. So instead, we decided to make an impromptu visit on a weekday night and was pleasantly surprised with the sight of empty tables since it was after all only 6pm.
It is easy to see why it can be fully booked because it is rather small without being claustrophobic. The ambience is dim and bordering romantic, not the kind of place to bring noisy kids to. However it being dim, even my DSLR had problems, without having to blind everyone in the process with an external flash.
Back to the deal. For AUD45; it came with two glasses of house wine, two pieces of bruschetta and two mains of your choice.
For house wine, I had no complaints about them. The white was slightly chilled, sweet and easy to drink, while the red wasn't overpowering in alcohol like some cheap wines.
The bruschetta came with some soften onions and capsicum topped with cheese. Hard to believe that the two pieces would cost you AUD10 if you ordered off the ala-carte menu but a pleasant start to the meal.
I have a very soft spot for everything fried, more so when you work among colleagues who will order fries to share during meals. So when I saw Fritto Misto meaning fried squid and prawns, I couldn't help to order it. If it was one complaint I had about this, it was the measly portion for AUD20. Surely AUD20 can buy you more than a few prawns and squid rings?
I would admit that being the stereotypical Asian I am, we ordered mains that were the most expensive. It did not make sense to order a cheaper pasta (AUD30) vs. a steak (AUD40)(eventhough on hindsight it was an Italian restaurant and surely the pasta would have been the safer choice). The Rib on the Bone was sadly overcooked and bordering Well Done even by the Wife's standard as she eats her meat, done medium. Thankfully the meat wasn't dried out with the help of the salsa verde.
We just couldn't complain, get it sent back and imagined it thrown in the bin while the dish was still by all means very tasty.
The other meat dish we ordered was the Veal Scaloppini. Flattened juicy pieces of veal sitting on a big juicy mushroom and mash that was melt in your mouth. The serving did looked a bit on the tiny side though.
While the food was good but not great, I don't think I would be rushing to come back, having seen the pricing on some of the dishes and the quality and portions dished out. For close to AUD35-40 a main, I would be expecting close to food that I had in E'cco because that is what I paid there although it is hard to compare hearty Italian food and complex fine dining dishes.
While one might say, you might be getting a better meal if you paid the full price, what is the point of buying a voucher that serves me a poor representation of the menu? Or was it a case of being too greedy and not ordering I guess, something more Italian? Who knows.
Address and contact details:
Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. I stay clear if I wanted huge portions but the upside of the place is the dim and romantic ambience, making it another option for a romantic date. If someone was to tell me now that the pasta is to die for, I might make it back on a weekday when it is not overly crowded.