*This dining experience took place in June 2015.
Oh Mama Mia! Mama Melrose located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios reminds me of the classic New York Italian restaurants. With great atmosphere and delicious smells coming from the wood fire, it’s a wonder that it’s been five years since I’ve eaten at Mama Melrose! After reading reviews from Alexis at Gluten Free in Orlando, I knew I needed to make a reservation to try Mama Melrose again.
I love that Mama Melrose has a backstory (who knew, right?). You can read all about it on the Disney Food Blog along with non-special diets dining reviews (great for looking at photos of the restaurant). When we arrived, it was just after lunch opening (11:30 a.m.) so the restaurant was fairly quite early on. You can see from my photo, the charming lighting and rustic cozy tables.
After being seated, I was given the restaurant’s allergy-friendly menu. It’s amazing to see how many restaurants have already released these throughout the parks and resorts. You can see the different ones I have listed on the blog on the menus page.
One thing that I’ve learned very quickly with the new menus is that you can and should still consult with a Disney chef. In fact, our server suggested it (she also had celiac disease so totally understood the process). They also recommend that anyone with multiple special dietary needs, like me, always check with a guest. When I dined at ABC Commissary recently, they wouldn’t even take my order unless I talked to the manager.
One thing to note about the menu – the Flatbreads are not listed as gluten free. They can make gluten free pizzas/flatbreads using Udi’s Gluten Free crusts. I did not ask if they had dairy free cheese, but I believe that they used to.
Dairy free is always a challenge, and with the new menus they tend to be very dairy heavy. However, when I talked to Chef Will, he was great at coming up with dairy free options. The mixed green salad for example, could be made without cheese and was another great appetizer option (I actually ordered it, but they forgot to bring it out until I was halfway done through my meal so I didn’t actually eat it).
Most of the entrees could be modified for dairy free. The pasta with vodka sauce for instance could be made with just a marinara sauce. After some discussion, I opted for the Satlimbocca which was very dairy heavy but became modified with the removal of cheese and subbing the mashed potatoes for a gluten free pasta and a melange of sautéed vegetables. So, if you’re feeling uncertain, definitely check with a chef and see what options you can come up with.
The restaurant also carries the GNI brand rolls, which they served with extra virgin olive oil and herbs. These rolls are great when they are well heated, but this time they were sadly very dry and crumbly. Of course, the olive oil and herbs helped make them palatable.
As I mentioned, I didn’t get my salad, but I was thrilled when I got my entree. The grilled pork was really delicious (great grill flavor) and the salty prosciutto ended up getting cut up and tossed with my pasta. The pasta was actually quite good and well cooked (not gummy or mushy at all). And I loved the vegetables sautéed in olive oil with salt, pepper, and some garlic. Chef Will used a combination of broccoflower (super delish!), broccolini, sundried tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and onions. The dish wasn’t too heavy, and I felt very satisfied after eating it.
Overall, I really enjoyed my meal at Mama Melrose. I wouldn’t say it’s the best Italian I’ve ever had, but it was good. Chef Will was also super nice and very accommodating with the dairy free options. My family also all loved the food they got, and everyone felt pretty satisfied with the meal overall. We’d definitely go back, and I won’t wait another 5 years between visits!
Have you been to Mama Melrose? What did you order when you dined there?