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We had one of the most amazing meals of our lives in Florence. Buca Mario was recommended hands down by our concierge at Hotel Orologie for their steak Florentine so we knew we had to try it.

I opted against bringing my chunky DSLR so iPhone pictures will have to do (sorry!). 

Ristorante Buca Mario is a small family run restaurant hidden away near the Santa Maria Novella. The moment you walk in, you are treated like long lost family. The smell of fresh pasta, the quaint dining room and friendly smiling faces made us feel completely at home.

Everything on the menu looked great but we knew the steak Florentine was a must. In addition to the steak, we ordered a Caprese salad, homemade potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese, and a side of rosemary potatoes which came highly recommended by the staff.

The mozzarella on the caprese salad was soft and melted into the tomatoes. Our waiter said they have been using the same local farmer for years to source their cheeses. After our caprese salad experience at Buca Mario, we were hooked on fresh mozzarella and ordered it during every meal for the remainder of our trip in Italy.

The potato gnocchi was the perfect dish to accompany the steak Florentine. The creaminess of the gorgonzola cheese and denseness of the gnocchi added some balance with the heavy meat. I used some of the cheese sauce to dip my steak into- so good!

Of course the show stealer was the steak. After seeing dinosaur-sized steaks around the dining room, we decided to order a one person portion to share. It was still the biggest steak I have ever eaten. Seared medium rare and aged in house, the steak was topped with extra virgin olive oil table side.

No meal in Florence is complete without a red wine from the Chianti Classico region. The waiter recommended the perfect bottle to pair with our dinner choices.