This three-floor restaurant with blue and white decor reminds of an old, weather-beaten boat house. The menu was revamped in 2013 to attract more customers on a budget, the portions have gotten smaller, but the friendly service, casual atmosphere and quality of good Italian fare has remained unchanged. It is an especially good choice for group dining as they have a great deal of seating space, offer drink deals and will decorate a fantastic specialty cake and deliver it to your table in style if you’re celebrating.
Ordering from the menu, most dishes for lunch or dinner are between 800~1,000 yen and special orders (no meat, cheese, garlic) are very easy to do. The lunch sets are especially good value: salad, pizza or pasta, dessert and drink for around ¥1000.
The food is standard Italian pizza, pasta, salads, soups, grilled meats and fish as well as great desserts. Espresso has a good range of wines by the bottle, draught beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic choices too.
It’s advisable to book ahead if you have a large group, but smaller groups can usually have a drink on the 1st floor or at the bar while waiting for a table. Last orders are at 10pm but they don’t have a problem serving you drinks and desserts until close to midnight. They have a great bilingual menu (English and Japanese) and there are some staff who speak a bit of English too.
Cafe time is also a good option here as the whole Mario chain is quite famous for their desserts. Mostly of the spongecake, cream variety but they do also offer wonderful Tiramisu, Gateau chocolat, fruit and custard tarts as well as other seasonal offerings.
If you are celebrating a special occasion, be sure to mention it at the cashier or to your wait staff and they can whip you up a personalized greeting for the dessert top and deliver it to your table. It’s quite fun to surprise a friend on their birthday there as they shut off the floor lights and deliver the cake with a candle to the special guest, then everyone waits till the candle is blown out to clap and get back to their own meal.
Open: 11am to 10pm everyday of the year
Address: Hiroshima city, Naka-ku 7-9 Naka-machi (on the edge of Fukuromachi park) tel: 0120-40-4956 (082-241-4956) URL: sanmario.com