The 50th Anniversary Issue

Our 50th birthday issue is on sale now. We're celebrating five decades of great food and travel with our biggest issue yet.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 27th November, 2016 and receive a Villeroy & Boch platter!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Back in time at Marios



Thirty years ago Marios changed the way Melbourne and, by extension, Australia thought about cafés, and to celebrate the occasion, owners Mario De Pasquale and Mario Maccarone are going to party like it's 1986. Later this month the Fitzroy institution is dropping its menu prices (but not alcohol) to what they were when the doors opened on Brunswick Street three decades ago.

Translated, that means for one day only coffee will be a dollar, eggs on toast $3.50 and lasagne $4.50. There could be a stampede. What's best about returning to the past, though, is not about the cheap coffee and bargain pasta, it's about how these prices focus the attention on how little has changed at Marios since coffee was being sold for a buck.

 The café stands as testament to the value of having all the fundamentals in place. And those fundamentals were assembled by two professional waiters, working in fine-dining restaurants in Melbourne, who created a business entirely based on the idea of a place where they wanted to hang out that didn't yet exist.

And so there were (and still are) sharply dressed waitstaff, linen on the tables, terrazzo floors, a jazz soundtrack (Miles, Miles and more Miles), art by local artists for sale on the walls, an all-day breakfast, a kitchen that opens late every night and a dedication to solid, reliable coffee, like you get in a bar in Italy.

All these things seem unremarkable now, but they were mostly as unheard of in 1986 as some of Marios' alumni - Maurice Terzini, Pete Evans and Karen Batson. (Full disclosure: back in the mists of time I worked there too, as a waiter.)

Marios is a place that has been remarkably influential on the café scene, particularly in Melbourne, but also the rest of the country, showing Australians a compelling template for smart yet relaxed dining. "We wanted to be both classy and casual," says Maccarone. "We looked a bit like a restaurant, but you could still come in and get Vegemite on toast."

And that's what they did. Marios' 30th birthday this month is a good time to remember and to give thanks. And get yourself a cheap meal.

Prices will drop to 1986 levels on Thursday 28 April, from 7am to 10.30pm. Marios, 303 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9417 3343,


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Hot Plates: Rye Cafe & Bar, Canberra
Hot Plates: The Summertown Aristologist, Adelaide Hills
Hot Plates: Zaab Street Food, Canberra
Pinbone is opening a new Sydney restaurant
Melbourne’s Rosa’s Kitchen has closed
Hot Plates: Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie, Melbourne
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2013

There are a lot of food shots on Instagram: the good, the ba...

Where our chefs want to eat

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants t...

Hot 100 2015 - Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Grant Achatz interview

Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago’s Alinea ahead of hi...

Nahm named best restaurant in Asia

The 2014 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were unveiled this week...

Restaurants cooking with seaweed

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

On the pass

Tell us about Tomahawk’s menu, Ali...

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vin...

Dan Barber talks sustainable food

Farm-to-table is a neat catchcry but, argues Dan Barber, one...

Alessandro Pavoni, Ormeggio, Sydney

You’ve just released your first cookbook, a tribute to Lomba...

The 2016 GT Restaurant Guide Top 100

Here's the list of our 2016 Restaurant Guide Top 100. How ma...

First look: 108 at Noma, Copenhagen

Rene Redzepi may be headed to Sydney next month, but he's ba...

Party-starting playlists

Music is a key ingredient that can turn your party from good...

Edible seaweed guide

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.