Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano
Review by Kevin Klose - 2/3/08
It was one of those glorious late January days here in central Florida.
The weather was perfect for going to the parks with the temperature in the low 70’s, sunny, no humidity. And to really torture the folks that visit when the parks are hot and crowded….they were deserted.
The four of us decided to venture into MGM…er..Hollywood Studios…..ok…I’m not sure I’m ever going to get the hang of that. It’s the same with the WEDway People Mover. I know…it’s the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority, but it will always be the WEDway People Mover to me.
Back to the topic at hand…
Our goal was to compare a couple of counter service locations in Hollywood Studios as we had recently done with the Magic Kingdom. Within a very short time frame…it became apparent that Hollywood Studios (HS) seems to be lacking in variety at their counter service locations.
Part of the problem was that certain locations were closed. When one enjoys the perks of lower crowd levels, you must also accept that certain things will be closing earlier or being closed for refurbishment.
As our plan was not working out the way we intended, we decided to not waste our trip.
We have recently reviewed 50’s Prime Time Café and we have talked about loving the Hollywood Brown Derby on several occasions so our options were Sci-Fi Drive In, Mama Melrose’s or the Hollywood and Vine Buffet. As we were closest to Mama Melrose’s…we decided to see about a table.
It was late afternoon (4:00pm ish) when we arrived and were immediately taken to a table in a nearly empty restaurant. We weren’t sure if this was a good sign or bad or if it was due to the park being not crowded. Whatever the reason, we were ready to give it a shot.
I have only been to Mama Melrose’s twice in my life. I had lunch there once as part of the Backstage Magic Tour (see my review here: http://www.wdwinfo.com/reviews/backstage-magic-tour.htm) and while it was fairly decent, our experience was different than that of a regular guest. Lunch was served family style and we were not offered choices. There were several things to choose from, but it was pre-arranged as part of the tour. Not bad…not great…and a atypical experience, it wasn’t really enough to form an opinion.
The only other time I had dined in this restaurant, it was a full fledged disaster. I don’t really remember all of the details as it was many, many years ago, but it involved a refund of all monies paid and a trip to Guest Services. I had never been back. I had also heard enough negative reviews of the place that I was under the assumption that nothing had changed.
With this in mind, we settled in to look at the menus. As were pretty much the sole patrons, our server was at our sides in a flash. We explained that we were going to take a minute and look things over. She took our drink orders and went on her way.
As we were looking at the dinner menu, there was a choice of 9 appetizers. We decided on the Vegetarian Minestrone ($5.49), the soup of the day (Tuscan Bean something or other at $5.48) and something called Artisan Breads and Spreads ($6.99).
The good news…..the Vegetarian Minestrone was wonderful. It was nicely spiced with a hearty mix of vegetables and pasta in a rich tomato broth. It was truly tasty and needed no embellishment.
The bad news…..the soup of the day looked and tasted like the stuff you rinse out of the sink strainer after having done the dishes. It tasted and smelled awful and after the first bite was left untouched. Our server noticed rather quickly and without any urging from us offered to change it for another bowl of the minestrone. I get the feeling we were not the first to be dissatisfied with the soup of that particular day.
I was a bit annoyed with our last appetizer. The Artisan Bread and Spreads for $6.99 seems to be a way of charging patrons for something most decent restaurants serve free of charge. What Italian restaurant doesn’t offer a complimentary basket of bread or rolls as you look over the menu? The plate consisted of a small variety of breads served with a tablespoon of arugula and chive pesto, sun-dried tomato spread, a roasted vegetable tapenade and a bulb or roasted garlic.
Now I can understand if there was a charge for any of the toppings, but charging patrons for bread seems like gouging to me and $6.99 is outrageous for what is being served. As for it being Artisan bread? Apparently, our local Publix employs Artisans as well because the same bread is available there.
With my grousing aside, the toppings were ok with the sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic being the clear winners. Keep in mind that they are not worth $6.99.
On to better news…..
The four of us decided to order 3 entrees. One of us had the Charred Butcher Tender Steak which was topped with gorgonzola butter on roasted red pepper polenta with grilled asparagus and a red wine reduction ($20.99), We also had a Grilled Chicken Flatbread with sun-dried tomato pesto, pancetta, asiago cheese and fresh chives ($12.99)
And the Wood Grilled Chicken tossed with Pipette pasta, artichokes, peas and roasted red peppers in a basil four cheese cream sauce ($17.99).
The Charred Butcher Steak was a nice piece of steak, sliced and served medium rare as requested. It was topped with a delicious bit of gorgonzola cheese. The polenta was not as flavorful and a bit dry. This dish would have been better with a bit more cheese sauce and a bit more red wine reduction to moisten the polenta. Were we to order it again, we would ask for these things in advance. The grilled asparagus was just that…grilled asparagus.
The Chicken Flatbread was a nice individual sized serving. The crust was crispy and flavorful and the toppins were plentiful. We all agreed that this was quite tasty. A four cheese version is available for a dollar less and would be a great meal for kids. I should note…one of the four cheeses is gorgonzola, but I am sure that could be remedied for a picky eater.
The best entrée was the Wood Grilled Chicken. The name is a bit misleading as chicken is not the main ingredient by far. This is a very tasty pasta dish with a small portion of sliced grilled chicken included. You receive a large portion and this dish could easily be split as it is rich and filling. The artichokes and roasted red peppers offered a nice counter to the rich and creamy cheese sauce. We all agreed that this would be ordered again on a subsequent visit. Shrimp can be substituted for chicken and that would bring the price up to $19.99
I need to tell you that a third bowl of minestrone was ordered by the person that did not order an entree. It was considered to be that good.
We finished our meal by ordering one desert for the 4 of us to share. There are 5 desert choices and we chose the Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake ($5.99). It’s listed as being filled with Chocolate Ganache over raspberry sauce with a Pistachio Florentine.
Our cake was roughly the size of a small cupcake and the cake portion was bit dry. The truffle center was warm and melted. I would describe this as being ok….but it had the possibility of being great. I think ours hade been over baked and it dried out. The highlight of this desert was the Pistachio Florentine. It’s a wafer thin cookie made with crushed pistachios. The desert is served with one and we asked to buy more. Our server brought us two more and I gotta tell you….they are mighty fine. They should offer them as a desert choice all by themselves.
Our bill (with no drinks…only water) was approximately $81.00. After our Disney Dining Experience discount, our total was $78.00 but that now included an 18% gratuity.
This restaurant offers a lunch menu as well. Many of the choices and the same at lunch and dinner but surprisingly, the prices are identical. There are 10 entrée choices at lunch and 13 at dinner. A limited children’s menu is also available
I would say that after this experience, we will definitely visit Mama Melrose’s again when we go to MG….er Hollywood Studios. They have changed my mind.
- Full list of celebrities attending Star Wars Weekends 2014 - New on the list this year are Mark Hamill and John Ratzenberger.
- Race dates for Disney's Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon - List of all the individual race dates for both weekends.
- Happy 50th anniversary to it's a small world! - it's a small world opened at the New York World's Fair on April 22, 1964.
- Blog - Review: Epcot After Hours Wind Down
- Registration opens for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon - Registration spots for the races fill up quickly. If you know for sure you want to participate in one of the events, we recommend you register as soon as possible.
- Happy 16th anniversary to Disney's Animal Kingdom - Disney's Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998 - Earth Day.
- Thinking about booking your trip with a travel agent? - Why it's important to book with a travel agent that specializes in Disney vacations.
- Anna and Elsa meet and greet moves to Magic Kingdom today - These popular princesses will no longer be seen in Epcot's Norway pavilion.
- Planning to be at Disney World on Easter? - List of church services, dinners and special activities taking place at Walt Disney World on Easter.
- Blog - Ranking our 5 Senses in Disney's Theme Parks
- Spots still available at Tables in Wonderland event on April 19 - This buffet will bring Tables in Wonderland members together during the Festival for dinner and drinks, then you will head to the Flower Power Concert series to hear the sounds of The Grass Roots.
- Menu items for Epcot After Hours Wind Down - Tickets, which can be reserved in advance, include one beverage and a selection of light snacks.
- Rehabs planned for two of Disney's golf courses - Disney's Magnolia Golf Course and Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course will be closed 5/21 - 6/4/2014.
- Guests at the Swan and Dolphin can now book their FastPass+ 60 days in advance - Onsite resort guests and guests at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance. Annual Passholders and offsite guests can make their reservations up to 30 days in advance.
- Blog - Actors Fund Gala Tickets Honoring Disney Theatricals on Sale Now
- Changes to Earl of Sandwich menu - Prices have increased by about 50 cents per sandwich. New sandwiches have been added and others have been removed.
- Epcot After Hours Wind Down lounges to be available - Stick around after IllumiNations for an evening at one of 4 exclusive lounges featuring food and beverages from award-winning Epcot chefs and sommeliers.
- Annual passholders can save up to 35% on WDW hotels, plus get free Memory Maker photos! - Guests will save up to 35% on their room, plus get free Memory Maker digital photos. Discount is valid for travel between 6/16/14 - 8/2/14.
- Blog - VIDEO: Disney reveals first look at animatronics and scenes inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Meet the Easter Bunny at the Magic Kingdom April 13-20 - The Easter Bunny will also have a special pre-parade appearance on 4/19 and 4/20/14. He will be joined by other springtime characters, dancers and the Azalea Trail Maids.
- Carbon-Freeze Me experience at Star Wars Weekends to offer X-Wing Pilots and more - In addition to the carbonite figure, last year's Stormtrooper will be available, as well as two new figurines - an Alderaan Princess and X-Wing Pilot.
- Blog - Third Annual Easter Egg Display at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Easter activities and special dining menus at Walt Disney World resorts - List of events planned at Walt Disney World resorts.
- Blog - Disney Infinity Teases Marvel & Confirms Version 2.0
- October 2014 Walt Disney World park hours released - List of times for parades, fireworks, and park hours.
- Blog - What To Expect When You're...Cruising with Disney and a Baby: Part 2
- Big Thunder Mountain closed for 2 days for rehab - The attraction will be closed 4/7-4/9/14.
- Surprising your family with a trip to Disney? Check out our tips! - Surprising the kids with a Disney vacation is part of the thrill for some parents. Others would love to do it, but aren’t sure how to pull it off. Here are some different approaches to creating that special surprise for your family!
- Blog - New Lawsuit Attacks Disney’s New Disability Access Service
- VIDEO: Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot - Enjoy a special fireworks viewing area and desserts from around World Showcase paired with sparkling wines.
- Tables in Wonderland event at Golden Oak's Markham's restaurant - For this special evening, guests will dine at the exclusive Markham's restaurant at Disney's Golden Oak Club, Walt Disney World's private residential community.
- Blog - Review: Epcot's new IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party
- Blog - Review: Epcot Gardens of the World Tour
- Dates announced for Sounds Like Summer Concert series - The Sounds Like Summer Concert Series features some of the greatest tribute bands rockin' to U2, The Bee Gees, the Eagles and many more during select nights from June to July.
- Night of Joy tickets now on sale - Disney's Night of Joy features contemporary Christian performers. The star-studded lineup is always outstanding and features a host of Dove Award and Grammy Award winning artists.
- Blog - DVC Owner To File Class Action Demanding More FastPass+ Experiences
- Blog - Walt Disney World is now selling MagicBands to Offsite Day Guests
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - World Showcase - The American Adventure - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at World Showcase - The American Adventure, February 12, 2014 - Afternoon.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - World Showcase - Italy - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at World Showcase - Italy, February 12, 2014 - Afternoon
- Parking prices increase at Walt Disney World - Prices have increased $2 for each category.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Echo Lake - Academy Hall of Fame - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Echo Lake - Academy Hall of Fame, February 12, 2014 - Morning
- Cirque du Soleil discount offered for Tables in Wonderland members - Discounted tickets are available for performances April 1-May 10 and May 27-June 28, 2014.
- Tables in Wonderland Flower and Garden Festival Special Dining Event - This buffet will bring Tables in Wonderland members together during the Festival for dinner and drinks, then you will head to the Flower Power Concert series to hear the sounds of The Grass Roots.
- Fittipaldi Cup racing event planned for Walt Disney World Speedway - The Exotic Driving Experience and 2014 Rolex 24 winner Christian Fittipaldi are putting on a half-day racing event at the Walt Disney World Speedway.
- Grand Floridian hosts Edible Easter Egg Display - This is the third year the resort has hosted the display of hand-painted edible Easter eggs; the eggs are 16 to 20 inches tall.
- Star Wars-themed character meals at Hollywood Studios! - For a limited time, guests will have the opportunity to dine with Star Wars characters or Disney characters dressed up in their Star Wars costumes.
- New 2015 Disney Crusie Line Destinations - Disney Cruise Line has added new destinations for 2015! For the first time, the Disney Magic will set sail for Northern Europe, visiting the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Seven- and nine-night sailings will depart from Copenhagen, Denmark and will immerse guests in the Viking history of this mystical land, which served as the backdrop for Disney's blockbuster film Frozen. Sail past mountains, glaciers, geysers and fjords and stop in port cities reminiscent of storybook villages.
- Kouzzina by Cat Cora to close September 30 - A new restaurant will open in its place this fall.
- Blog - Saying Farewell to Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom
- Blog - The Dream of Retiring to Central Florida
- Egg-stravaganza Easter egg hunt planned for Epcot - Search for special hidden Disney character "eggs" at Epcot.
- Blog - Review: “Muppets Most Wanted” Now Touring Worldwide and in Theaters!
- Blog - Five Reasons You Should Go See 'Muppets Most Wanted' This Weekend
- Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker - will be attending Star Wars Weekends! - This will be the actor's first appearance at Star Wars Weekends.
- PEEPS-themed Easter events planned for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin - The resort will be celebrating a PEEPtastic week 4/16 - 4/20/14.
- Brunch planned to debut new Disney Collection by Vera Bradley design - "Mickey's Perfect Petals" will be showcased at the brunch and will be available for purchase.
- Blog - New Frozen Merchandise at Disney Parks
- Extended preview of Maleficent film at Disney's Hollywood Studios - The upcoming Maleficent film, starring Angelina Jolie, opens in theaters May 30. Theme park guests can see an extended preview of the film beginning April 18 and running through mid-June.
- Food Truck Park to open at Downtown Disney - The Food Truck Park is currently under construction and should open this summer between Bongos and Starbucks.
- Blog - Review: Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks' Now Available On Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital Download
- Blog - Review: "Frozen" Blu-ray Hits Shelves
- Blog - Top 10 Reasons Why March 18th Is The Best Day Ever For Disney Fans
- Today Show to film at Universal Orlando on Friday
- James Cameron pleased with Disney's Avatar Land design
- Disney one of the world's most disappointing destinations?
- Universal Orlando painters sent to hospital
- Kickstarter campaign hopes to raise money for "Dark Side of Disney" film
- Disney plans four Star Wars children's books
- SeaWorld Orlando offers summer camps for kids
- Walt Disney World offers new contract to unions
- Disneyland restaurants honored by food critics
- SeaWorld to host Viva la Musica Festival