Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Review at Disney

by josh on March 12, 2010

Food Type: Italian

Location: Streets of America across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D and near the Muppet merchandise store.

Dining Plan: 1 Table Service

Cost:  Appetizers: $6-$11; Entrées: $13-$30; Kids: $9.

Discounts: 20% Tables in Wonderland.

Menu:

Lunch and Dinner share a menu (12pm – Park Close): https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/mama-melrose-ristorante-italiano/menus/

Bar: None. Head to High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co. and near Backlot Tour for a mixed drink, wine, or draft/craft beer.

Setting: Like everything Disney, this one has a story:

Once upon a time, a young girl from a small Sicilian village moved to Hollywood to become a star. However, she soon found that cooking was her true calling as she re-created her papa’s secret recipes for her starving actor friends.

At their urging, she opened a restaurant in a vacant backlot warehouse once used to store film equipment. Mama’s culinary talents soon attracted the patronage of film industry insiders, who dubbed her Mama Melrose, after the lively Los Angeles thoroughfare. Her establishment became known as the place “where Italy meets California in the heart of the Backlot,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

This was not always the story, but it fits the restaurant well. What you’ll find is a dark restaurant with a heavy helping of kitsch. It’s very casual.

Advantages:

  • Mama Melrose participates in the Fantasmic Dining Package, which includes the appetizer, entree, and a plated dessert for one table service credit on the Dinning Plan or about $35 per adult and $15 per child out of pocket. Each person on the reservation will receive a ticket to the guaranteed seating section for the first Fantasmic show with some of the best seats in the house. On the Dining Plan, it’s an excellent deal because it includes choice of appetizer for the same price. Out of pocket, it’s a good value as long as people order the more expensive entrees – particularly the steak.
  • Flatbread pizzas are $13 – $16 and much better quality than quick service at Pizza Planet.  Chicken Parmigiana is also a favorite.
  • Atmosphere is relaxed and fun.
  • Large portions. Consider sharing an appetizer or two and an entree.

Disadvantages:

  • Service and food are inconsistent, particularly on the higher end items like the steak and osso bucco. Out of pocket, stick with the less expensive pizza and pasta options.
  • Only a good value on the Dining Plan if you use the Fantasmic Dining Package and order the $25+ entrees, which there are few of. A poor use of a credit on the inexpensive pastas and pizzas.

Tips: Request a window table if someone in your group has trouble seeing.

Value: Average to Above Average.  Food is mostly inexpensive and portions are large. Stick to the pizza and you should enjoy a relaxing, air-conditioned meal for only a few more dollars than Pizza Planet and their mass produced frozen pizzas.

Reputation: Mama Melrose’s gets mixed reviews.  It is certainly not a great Italian restaurant, but it’s casual and fun which can be better than a stuffy fine dining affair.  The flatbread pizzas are a safe bet, but the other entrées are a mixed bag.  Service is hit or miss as well.  It’s certainly better than Hollywood & Vine, but 50’s Prime Time Café is probably a better option if you haven’t tried any of the sit-down restaurants at Hollywood Studios.  If you’re in the mood for an Olive Garden quality Italian meal then this should be an enjoyable experience.  Just keep expectations low.

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