Tucked into the back of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, an Italian restaurant with a very special theme.
What is the theme, you ask? “Where Italy meets California in the heart of the Backlot,” of course. What does that mean? Well… most of us don’t really know or understand what it means… but here’s the general backstory: Mama Melrose moved from Italy to Hollywood to pursue acting, but was persuaded by friends to open a restaurant instead. (At least, this is one of the stories I’ve heard.)
So the kitschy “Italian home-cooking” restaurant — which would be at home in New York City’s Little Italy with its checked tablecloths, mis-matched furniture, and pizza oven — is (strangely) augmented by scads of Hollywood memorabilia from Mama’s collection.
The pros of my experiences at Mama’s include the atmosphere (I like trying to figure out exactly what’s going on with the decor each time I visit), the food (occasionally), and the option of the Fantasmic Dinner Package, which includes dinner and reserved seating at Fantasmic, Disney Hollywood Studio’s nighttime show. The service at Mama’s is usually its downfall — more for slowness rather than skill.
I’ve had good meals here and bad meals here — it can be inconsistent, but it’s usually a decent bet and worth a try.
As I mentioned, Mama’s food can be hit or miss. When it’s good, it’s great; but when you’ve made a poor menu choice, you’ll know it. In my opinion, flatbreads and appetizers are good, Chicken alla Parmigiano is great, and everything else is “fine.” I do enjoy the cheesecake dessert, however… I highly recommend it.
But you didn’t think I’d let you get past a restaurant post without food photos did you? The following tantalizing tidbits come courtesy of James Chapman, who runs DisneyFotoBlog.com. James visited Mama’s with his little princess, Chloe, who you get to see very patiently showing off her kids’ pizza!
For a good starter, here’s the vegetarian Vine-ripened Tomato Flatbread with Sweet Basil Pesto and Caprino Cheese (sounds semi-healthy, doesn’t it?):
And for the salad-lovers, the Mixed Greens Salad with Dried Cherry Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts, fresh Pear, and imported Gorgonzola Cheese:
Now on to the entree — for steak and potato folks like myself, here’s the Charred Sirloin Steak and Italian Roasted Potatoes with Caramelized Sweet Onions, Aged Balsamic Shallot Butter, and Chianti Wine Reduction:
Finally, once dessert rolled around the waiter caught to James’ food photo snapping, and he brought out several to take their turn in front of the camera! Here’s the honey-hazelnut and ricotta cheesecake, the Crema Limone (no sugar added lemon custard), and the Celebrate Today! Mama’s Tiramisu topped with whipped Mascarpone cheese.
I wonder if he got to try them all…
If those photos caught your eye, be sure to check out the dinner menu to see what other options you have!
And if you have a review of Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, we’d love to hear it! Either post your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post, or send them along via our contact form at the top of the page.