Tucked away in a corner behind Muppet Vision 3D in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a little Italian restaurant that is in my opinion, one of the best-kept Disney dining secrets. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a casual table-service option serving beloved favorites like fried calamari, chicken parmesan, and spaghetti & meatballs. I’ve dined here with my family and friends, and each time it has been thoroughly enjoyable.
I love that Disney creates a backstory for the restaurant, which explains the location and headshots on the walls in the entryway.
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.
Walking in, the checked curtains, food drying from the rafters, ubiquitous vines foreshadow the bold, Italian flavors headed your way.
Portion sizes are excellent. I feasted on the Charred Strip Steak, while Bestie M enjoyed the Oven-baked Chicken alla Parmigiana.
The restaurant was particularly busy during our visit. Our waiter was very friendly, but the wait was long. I wouldn’t say this detracted from the overall visit, but just like everywhere else, pack your patience.
Prior to COVID, Mama Melrose offered a dining package for Fantasmic! which offered VIP Seating. I certainly hope this returns when Fantasmic! does later this year.
Last-minute reservations are typically available. I encourage you to give Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano a try.
This concludes the recap of my latest visit. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, you can find them linked below.
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