This was our second visit to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, but a first for my parents. This restaurant is tucked behind Muppet Vision 4-D and next to the Frozen stage show so if you are not looking for it you may just walk right on by. The waiting area inside the restaurant is tiny and there are only a few benches nearby to sit on while waiting for your reservations. I mention this because my father can only walk about 20-30 feet at a time and uses a scooter to get around the rest of the park. Normally this is not a problem but this restaurant is deceptively large inside. We were seated in the last room at a table almost to the back corner. We got my father inside but were a little hesitant about getting him back out. We figured we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
We were seated within 10 minutes of our reservation time. The waiter was friendly and attentive. Our drink orders arrived and the Disney Dining Plan was explained to us, several times. We are pros at the Disney Dining Plan and if the waiter said one more time that tip was not included I was ready to not tip him. Yes, it was really that bad. His service was great, and we are actually very generous tippers, but to repeat it no less than 5 times during the meal was annoying. In fact if he said it one more time I said to the table that I was asking for a manager.
The chef came out to talk to our 11 year-old son who is gluten-free. Most of the chefs try to talk to us, the parents, but we always refer them back to our son as he is most knowledgable about what he can and cannot eat and what he would prefer. The chef let my son know that he could make most of the pasta dishes such as the spaghetti with gluten-free pasta. My son asked for the Seafood Arribbata (pictured above). The chef was a bit taken aback but then said he could do that. Then my son asked for gluten-free rolls and the chef said he would have some sent out.
This was where things got bogged down a bit because our rolls came out first and the gluten-free rolls did not arrive for almost 20 minutes. We understand that they are specially brought out by the chef and the wait staff cannot touch them but when you have a hungry autistic child waiting who is watching everyone else at the table eat it is not a good situation. We knew our food would take longer as the gluten-free meal is specially cooked when ordered. We had no problem with that. It was bringing our rolls and having our son sit there waiting for what should have been just a warming up of the rolls.
My daughter wanted something different so she ordered the Saltimbocca. Pork Tenderloin topped with Prosciutto, Sage, Fontina Cheese, Tuscan Mashed Potatoes, Broccolini, and Lemon Caper Sauce was beautifully presented. My daughter said it was well cooked, not dry, but a bit bland. Not something she would order again but she was glad she tried it.
My mother had already started to cut into her Chicken Parmesan before I remembered to snap a picture of it. It was a large chicken breast and a healthy serving of pasta. Everyone looked at their plates and thought that it would never be enough food because we were starving but there was plenty.
This is the charred strip steak with five-cheese baked macaroni with pancetta, aged balsamic-shallot butter and chianti wine reduction with micro greens. I have to say this is the best and probably one of the cheaper steaks I have had in Walt Disney World. This is the second time I have had it and it still was my favorite. The he steak was perfectly cooked to medium-rare and extremely tender and flavorful. The sides were almost an after thought on the plate. They worked but I would have preferred a potato or a bit more flavorful side.
The funniest thing was my father when ordering the steak, “I never thought I’d see the day I would pay $32 for a steak dinner.” Little did he know we were going to Narcooses for dinner a few nights later where Surf and Turf is $75. But, that is for another day.
My son’s Seafood Arrabbiata – shrimp, mussels, calamari, fish of the day, and gluten-free spaghetti tossed with spicy seafood sauce, pictured above, was delicious. My son loved all the seafood in the dish and there was plenty! He thought it was well spiced but not too spicy.
Once we were done with dinner we had all of the entrees, except for two, tasted. It was kind of fun trying some of the dishes. Onto the desserts, our family favorite. The Panna Cotta was chocolate with a raspberry drizzle around the base. The cup was a graham cracker base with a rich chocolatey filling. The dessert was good but the base tasted almost manufactured. Like the restaurant bought the bases premade and then just filled them. The taste was “okay” but we thought a better cup would have taken this dessert from a rather ordinary dessert to a standout.
The cannoli trio was a traditional cannoli presented with chocolate chips on the ends and a hint of orange in the filling. The cannolis had a good flavor. The only issue we had with them were that they were only filled on the ends. The centers of each cannoli were empty. It was kind of amusing to us. They needed to either get a smaller tip to fill the mini cannolis or they were trying to save money. We decided on the latter.
The last dessert chosen was the Spumoni. Both of my kids love this gelato and it was their favorite again.
Now, for getting my dad out of the restaurant. It was tough. We were so far in the back and his scooter had been moved by the time we left the restaurant so it was no longer near the door. Next time we will insist on waiting for a table in the front room. If you have mobility issues and can’t walk more than 20-30 yards being way in the back is too far.
Overall we were pleased with our meal and service. There were a few glitches as there will always be but we worked through them. We were on the dining plan and were pleased with the meal and will be returning to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.