11 February, 2011

Mamma Mia!! Dinner at Mama Melrose

As Christina's Pre-Half Marathon dinner and my 2-Days Before the Marathon dinner, we decided on heading to Mama Melrose at Hollywood Studios to carb up just a bit.

I was definitely a little skeptical coming here.  When I came with my mom a few years back, there was only ONE dish that we actually liked...the pipette pasta with the cream sauce.  Not something I really wanted to eat before a huge race though, ya know?  Everything else we had back then was sub-par 'fake' Italian food that you can find better at Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, etc.  Before you go yelling at me that you like those places, I do too!  It's just not what I grew up with as real Italian food! :)


We checked in a little earlier than our reservation and were seated within 10 minutes or so.  While waiting we were watching the cooks make the flatbreads and I realized I was STARVING!

Our waiter was pretty friendly and kept joking about the marathon (who would do such a thing?!).  He kept our water filled throughout the whole night, which I'm sure was a challenge!  We were trying to hydrate and I was ridiculously thirsty on top of that so I easily drank a whole pitcher of water myself.  :)

Bread was brought to the table and when asked if we wanted butter, I asked for olive oil instead.  Our waiter came back with a delicious dish of spices & seasonings and proceeded to add olive oil on top of the concoction to mix together.  Pretty tasty! 

We started off with the Mozzarella and Tomatoes as an appetizer.  The tomatoes were fresh and the mozzarella was perfectly creamy.  The caramelized onions (behind the tomatoes, hard to see them in the pic) were fabulous and not 'oniony' at all.  Kinda glad that Christina thought they were just ok, it meant more for me!

Tomato & Mozzarella

Mozzarella and Tomatoes - with marinated sweet onions, balsamic drizzle, extra virgin olive oil and fresh sweet basil $7.99
For entrees, Christina and I both tweaked items on the menu a little bit.  Both requests were easily granted and we didn't have a problem ordering at all.

Christina wanted the Penne alla Vodka but asked to throw a little extra protein in there by adding some grilled chicken.  We both enjoyed this!  It was definitely heavier than my dish but had a nice flavor.  Didn't have a strong tomato flavor but wasn't overly creamy.  The vodka was the right hint and was cooked through enough.  I think the chicken gave it a nice touch.  I'd order it this same way from now on!

Penne Vodka w/Grilled Chicken
Penne alla Vodka (w/grilled chicken) - with pancetta and sweet onion finished with tomato-basil sauce, cream, vodka, and pecorino romano $21.99 ($16.99 + $5 for chicken)

For my meal I ordered the chicken parmigiana but asked them to use grilled chicken instead of the breaded and baked/fried version.  Even with my overly critical taste buds?  I enjoyed it!  Wasn't the best I've had but acceptable.  The chicken was slightly over-charred but I didn't mind it.  The sauce wasn't my favorite either but it's definitely improved since the last trip.  It was the perfect amount of food and I wasn't overly stuffed when I finished.  Even was able to swipe a few bites of the penne alla vodka.  :)

Grilled Chicken Parm
Oven Baked Grilled Chicken alla Parmigiana - over spaghetti $16.99

At one point while waiting for our entrees to come, our server came by and apologized.  Apparently the cook didn't see the request for the grilled chicken on my order so they had to make it over again.  We were offered another appetizer on the house while we waited but declined and just asked for a little more bread and olive oil.  :)

We bypassed dessert since we were trying to eat pretty well before the races.  There's always next time!

So Mama Melrose was a success.  Definitely much better than last time I was here so I'm happy.  I definitely enjoyed the penne better than the chicken parm.  The caramelized onions might have been the winner though, even if they were just a condiment with the app.  Is it my favorite restaurant?  Nope, but I won't hesitate to come here again.  The service was good and our server did everything to make sure we were happy.  As for my messed up order?  Things happen and it didn't bother me at all.  Next time I'll definitely try something else on the menu!


  1. I am so glad the restaurant turned out so well! There is nothing better than italian food the night before a big race. Maybe only greek food, but it's so difficult to find good greek food here (at least in LA) so I'll stick to italian for the time being. :-)

  2. Loving reading about the days leading up to the race! Keep 'em coming!! :)

  3. I've never heard of Mama Mia's - the mozzarella looks awesome. I'm trying not to eat my monitor right now!

  4. It does look tasty! A few weeks ago my mom and I were browsing menus when we decided to have our pre-race lunch here. I had actually picked out the penne, so I'm glad that it got a good review from you!

    I got my reservations in yesterday - good thing, too! When I tried there was only one time open, hence why it is now our late lunch/early dinner instead of just dinner!

  5. I love that you asked for grilled chicken. I don't think that thought would have ever occured to me. But healthy! :) Also that caprese loooks so delish!!!

  6. @melie...I would think there'd be a ton of good Greek places in a big city like LA. Although I guess there aren't a TON in NYC either unless you head over to Astoria. There's a few hidden gems by me in NJ that I absolutely love and are Greek owned. Never thought to have it before a race but you're right, perfect meal. I'll have to remember that for next time!

    @Niffercoo...Thank you! Trying to get the posts out as quick as possible!

    @Victoria...definitely try Mama Melrose when you're over there. I do like Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Epcot much better but I'd eat there again!

    @Ronda...Yay on getting a reservation! It's crazy how all the restaurants get booked SO early in advance. My non-Disney friends can't figure out why I need to plan my meals 180 days out.

    @destination262...Great idea, right? I was trying to think of what I could eat on the menu and was wishing they had some sort of grilled chicken on the menu. Then it hit me, ask for it! :)

  7. It's good to know you liked it better this time. We went in 2007 and my response was....YUCK never again! lol We may have to give this one a 2nd try! :0) Looks yummy!

  8. @Karen...haha I've learned that if I hated a Disney restaurant one year, they'll probably change it around and it'll be decent again in the near future.