Mario Fazio’s is probably the friendliest Italian restaurant in the Cleveland area. Don’t get us wrong, we like the food here, but every time we visit, we are treated like an old family friend that just stopped over while Mama was finishing preparation on a big bowl of Sunday spaghetti sauce, “So sit, eat, unbuckle your belt a notch, enjoy!”
Beyond the smiling faces of the gang, there are a lot of things that bring us back to Mario Fazio’s. Shortly after sitting down, a bowl of garlic bread and salsa is served. The chunky tomato-based sauce is a great complement to the fresh bread. The wine pours are generous and inexpensive and each meal is capped with a small slice (the perfect size!) of cassata cake. For us this is also an odd dining experience. Michele, the usual lover of a pre-dinner salad has the complementary Italian Wedding soup. Jeff, not a huge fan of traditional salads eagerly orders their version. It is packed with the things he likes and she hates, julienne beets, garbanzo beans, shaved carrots and fresh peas over lettuce. A snappy house made balsamic vinaigrette makes this one of his favorite salads and we haven’t even ordered dinner yet!
Michele flies all over this menu. She like’s Bert’s Ravioli, the traditional lasagna and the eggplant, but probably most asks them to prepare her favorite dish, one that appears only on the lunch menu, Chicken Alioto, a chicken parmesan with ricotta, roasted peppers and pasta. Jeff has honed in on a favorite, Beef Braciole and usually orders it, primarily because it is not on any other menu in town. A thin flip steak is lined with pepperoni, breadcrumbs and hard boiled egg, them rolled and topped with provolone cheese and served on a bed of cavatelli. This is one of the few places Jeff needs a takeout box.
Looking for a place that serves food just like your Italian grandmother used to cook, even if you don’t have any Italian blood in you? Stop by Mario Fazio’s. They’ll make you feel like you’re home…and don’t wear a belt.
List Status: Existing
34400 Chardon Road Willoughby Hills. OH 44094 440-585-3883