Review: Lunch at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

So, it had been far too long since I’d been to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, and it was high time to head back.

Located in the Backlot area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mama’s is a hodgepodge, with all sorts of Hollywood memorabilia smooshed into an old fashioned Italian restaurant.

The food here can be inconsistent (surprise), so you never really know what you’re going to get. But my past two visits have been great, so I was excited to check it out again.

Let’s take a look at my most recent lunch here, and see where this meal falls on the Disney Restaurant Continuum. (Wait til you see the picture of the STEAK!!!)


Mama Melrose’s is, well, a little strange. At first, it appears to a typical old-fashioned family restaurant that might be found in any large city’s Little Italy section.

Dining Room View From Outside

But once you move beyond the brick facade and really start to look around at the curious surroundings, you might inquire about the backstory to clear up the confusion.

The story behind Mama Melrose’s is a little “We Made This Story to Fit the Space.” But here goes.

A young girl from Italy with stars in her eyes makes her way across the US, in hopes of finding fame and fortune in Hollywood. But during her starving artist days, she found that her cooking was more successful than her acting.

Dining Room Inside

And so, she opened a restaurant at the urging of her friends in a vacant warehouse that had previously been used to store film equipment. Nicknamed “Mama Melrose” by her patrons, she gained the fame she was looking for — but it came via her authentic Italian cooking.

Since Mama was a poor, struggling actress — and a recent immigrant to boot — the dining room is set up with what she could find to make it cozy and comfortable. Low lighting from strands of lights give it a soft glow. (And who doesn’t love those little white lights?)

And chandeliers are mismatched — sometimes, right down to the glass globes around the bulbs.

Mismatched Shades

Quirky Lighting

Wall hangings celebrate Los Angeles, Mama’s new home, and her roots in Italy.

Wall Hangings

Of course, it is an Italian restaurant, and so you’ll also see foods — dried and cured sausages, cheese, pasta, and fruits and veggies — hanging around as well.

Food Decor at Mama's

Walls also hold pictures of [Read more…]

Review: Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Today, it’s time to check back in on one of Disney’s more hidden eateries — Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

As I’ve observed before (and many of you have agreed), you just never know what you’re going to get when you dine at Mama Melrose’s. Sometimes it’s mundane, and sometimes it’s great — and it’s the “greats” that keep me going back for more! What will it be today? Here we go!


Not much has changed in the atmosphere department since my last trip to Mama’s. We were greeted with the same general decor that we found on previous visits: warm, cozy, inviting, and slightly bizarre.

Atmosphere in Waiting Area

…The story goes that Mama came west from Italy to make her name in Hollywood. While the actress fame didn’t pan out, she opened her “Ristorante Italiano” and gained a place in the heart of her new city that way! And so, the interior reflects the journey from Italy all the way to Hollywood. Though I feel like there’s a hearty helping of New York City’s Little Italy in there, too.

Show Kitchen

We arrived on time for our Spring Break reservation, but we had a bit of a wait before our table was ready. (Full disclosure — I asked for one of the rare window-side tables so that my photos would come out a bit better, so that might have been why the wait was longer).

While we waited, the kitchen staff were busily assembling [Read more…]