Il Barile da Mario

Mario’s kitchen looks very unassuming from the outside, but serves the kind of homemade goodness remote farms in the Italian countryside are famous for. If you’re on a perpetual diet like us, this is definitely the place you’ll want to cheat.

Choose anything from the exhaustive menu –granted it can seem daunting, but the old-fashioned chalk and board helps- or order off the menu. If you’re dying tomorrow and this is the last place you’ll eat, we recommend the chicken cutlet as the main course. The chicken breast is skilfully reduced to a thin fillet, coated with just the right amount of crispy batter. If you’re going to be living a little while longer, try the fried calamari or the seafood platter. Order some cantucci dipped in marsala if you only have time for dessert.

Myrthe and her friendly staff make you feel right at home. The décor is a collection of bric-a-brac (presumably) from the Old Country. If the décor hasn’t convinced you that the place is authentic, Myrthe chatting away with her fellow countrymen in their mother tongue will. The place has a nice terrace on the sidewalk; however, try to grab a seat inside if you want to escape the heat. Also plan your lunch strategically, because it can get busy and they are not open late.

Beware though-ordering every dish on the menu can get a bit pricey. However, Myrthe tallying up your bill on a vintage cash register feels like your mom’s kiss on a boo-boo.

Rating:

Food: 9– the chicken cutlet is simply divine

Service: 7– can get a little busy with slow service

Ambiance: 8.5– Italian chitchat and bric-a-brac

Location: 8.5– great after shopping in Punda