I’ve been thinking I should post our Mama Melrose’s review for a while now, but given the fact that the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is creeping ever closer and all eyes are on Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I thought now is the time.
On our most recent trip to the Studios, we wanted to try a “new-to-us restaurant”: insert Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, a 1-credit table service restaurant in the area of Grand Avenue.
Often when I write up our experiences, I wonder if my expectations are too high or if my experiences are different than other people, but if I were to sum up our lunch at Mama’s in one word it would be “meh.”
I’d like to start by saying nothing was bad. It really wasn’t- everything was edible and the service was fine. It just didn’t leave us with a lasting impression or any real desire to return. It was comparable to any decent chain Italian restaurant wherever you call home, which in my mind is kind of disappointing for Disney. There is a certain expectation that hangs in the air for every table service restaurant on property. One that adds an X-factor beyond the kind of dining experience you can get elsewhere, and sadly Mama Melrose’s was just “fine.”
If you’re looking solely at food quality, the standout was definitely the appetizer. We ordered the Crispy Calamari which had a good flavor and wasn’t rubbery. It came out with an Aioli dipping sauce which was delicious. My husband also ordered a mule which was very good; however we should have stopped there. Our entree’s were both passable, but nothing to write home about. Justin ordered the steak and I ordered something similar to chicken Alfredo, that sounded much better than it tasted. Again, not terrible, but I would not order it again.
The atmosphere was pleasant enough, but without a draw. The interior is folksy Italian-meets twinkle lights, which is charming, but forgettable. The last time we were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we ate at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater Restaurant, and in my opinion, I would return there before heading back to Mama Melrose’s. While I remember the service being very slow at Sci-Fi, the food was better and the atmosphere is definitely NOT forgettable. With the price of admission to the parks at a premium and highly themed restaurants like 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Sci Fi, I think Mama Melrose’s needs to up its game. Whether that comes in the form of integrating this restaurant into some of Disney’s IP, changing the menu or adding some strolling mandolin players, the potential is there for improvement. I just hope that in light of the swam of people that are about to descend on this park, Disney doesn’t forget about little restaurants like Mama Melrose’s and the guests that are dining there.