Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the wonderful Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano located in the Grand Avenue area of the park. This table service restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and welcomes Guests into a quirky and cozy environment that serves up classic Italian cuisine with a California twist.
When Guests first approach Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, they immediately get the sense that it is going to be a fun and delicious experience from the smells of oregano and tomato wafting out of the building and the exterior theming. The brick building features a vibrant red and yellow striped awning, festive flags zig-zagged above, and a painting of the Mona Lisa wearing sunglasses with the Hollywood sign in the background. The fun theme has an immersive backstory that adds a layer of depth to the restaurant that Guests love.
Once upon a time, Mama Melrose was a young Sicilian girl who moved to Hollywood to fulfill her dreams of being a star, but soon found herself beloved for her Italian cooking that she served up to all of her friends. Over time, she grew a following and opened up her restaurant in a backlot warehouse filled with Hollywood memorabilia and props leading to the décor that Guests see today. The interior of Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a cozy combination of exposed brick, wooden beams, simple wooden tables and chairs, classic Italian checkered fabrics, and industrial lighting. String lights, garlic, and grapes hang from the wooden beams above, and the walls are covered in a vast assortment of Hollywood memorabilia and backlot props including film posters, vinyl records, photographs, and even artwork made out of pizza. There is also a small bar area that features an open view into part of the kitchen as well as a classic wood-burning pizza oven.
When Guests are seated, they are given a complimentary bread basket with olive oil for dipping, and the bread is warm, fresh, and flavorful. Every good meal at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano begins with an appetizer and there are plenty of options to choose from that combine the flavors of Italy and California. The Vine-ripened Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella are always a hit with Guests as they are served with a balsamic drizzle, olive oil, and sweet basil leaves. The Crispy Calamari is served with sottaceto misto, spicy aioli, and charred lemon and the classic Mama’s Caesar Salad features fresh romaine lettuce, house-made Caesar dressing, herb croutons, and shaved parmesan. Guests looking to enjoy a wood-fire pizza can opt for the Margherita Flatbread which combines vine-ripened tomatoes, mozzarella, house-made marinara sauce, basil, and extra virgin olive oil or opt for the indulgent House-made Italian Meatballs with marinara, fresh ricotta, and basil. Guests who follow a plant-based diet also have an appetizer choice at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano with the Minestrone Soup that features Ditalini Pasta.
The menu at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano really shines with the entrée courses where Guests can enjoy everything from light options to indulgent comfort foods. Mama’s Italian Pasta features spaghetti tossed with roasted garlic, tomatoes, fresh basil, and accompanied with an Asiago-herb crostini and Guests can opt for a plain version or pair it with shrimp or chicken. The Charred Strip Steak is a hearty option that Guests can order to taste that comes served with four-cheese macaroni with pancetta, aged balsamic-shallot butter, and a chianti wine reduction making it the ultimate comfort food combination at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Italian classics such as Oven-baked Chicken alla Parmigiana served over spaghetti and smothered in melted mozzarella and marinara sauce and Spaghetti and Meatballs with house-made marinara, Pecorino Romano cheese, and parsley showcase how the restaurant nails the flavors of Mama Melrose’s home country. Some lighter options served up at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano include the Sustainable Fish of the day served with pappardelle pasta, puttanesca sauce, and grilled asparagus and the Shrimp Campanelle that features sautéed shrimp, campanelle pasta, and a four-cheese sauce tossed with cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and sweet onions. The one plant-based entrée option offered on the menu at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is the Polenta Cake, Mushroom, and Herb Cauliflower that features spinach, red peppers, and a cashew-cheese sauce.
With so many amazing appetizers and entrée options to choose from, Guests might find it difficult to save room for dessert at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, but the options are just too delicious to pass up. The Traditional Cannoli is always a hit and features a house-made filling with a touch of citrus and a cocoa powder dusting and Guests can also enjoy classic Italian Gelato in vanilla or chocolate flavors as well as Lemon Sorbet. Those looking to indulge in a heavier dessert can order the Tiramisu which combines layers of mascarpone and espresso-soaked Lady Fingers topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and a dollop of whipped cream. The Chocolate and Cherry Tort also features Italian classic flavor combinations with Ghiradelli Creamy Chocolate and Morello Cherries topped with a cherry coulis and whipped cream.
Kids are always part of the family at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and have their own menu with several items to choose from. Even the pickiest of eaters is sure to find something to love with options such as Cheese Pizza, Chicken Parmigiana over Spaghetti, Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and Grilled Chicken Breast. Each kid’s meal comes with a beverage as well as the choice of two sides including green beans and carrots, sautéed zucchini, cauliflower, whole-grain pilaf, and sliced apples. Dessert for kids at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is also really fun with the creative Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcake or classic Ice Cream Sundae.
In addition to basic soft drinks, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano also features coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and other coffee beverages to accompany any meal. Guests who are looking to indulge in a cocktail also have some great options to choose from with fun names and interesting flavors. The Italian Surfer combines Disaronno Originale, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice for a refreshing and tropical sip and the Tiramisu Martini is dessert in a glass with Stoli Vanil Vodka, Kamora Coffee Liqueur, and vanilla cream in a chocolate-drizzled glass. Guests can also order up Italian classics such as a Bellini, Paloma, or Sangria.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a truly unforgettable meal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios thanks to its unique combination of quirky atmosphere and comforting Italian classics. Guests who spend time in this Disney park should definitely plan on enjoying lunch or dinner at the restaurant and leave lots of room to enjoy as much of the menu as possible since everything is so delicious!