Solo Dining Review: Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

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There’s something funny about taking your very first solo trip to Disney World. You begin to learn things about yourself. You learn how your environment changes you. You learn that if you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you can reap the benefits greatly. At least, that’s what happened to me.

Before my beloved solo trip, I’d made a deal with myself that I’d only dine at table service restaurants if there was a bar/kitchen counter that I could sit at. My thinking was that if I sat at a big table all by myself I was just going to be reminded that I was dining alone and of course, all eyes would be on loser me.

Some strange force came over me during the third day of my trip. Actually, two forces came over me. The force of extreme hunger being the first and an unknown level of bravery being the second. As I made my way through Disney’s Hollywood Studios after a very fun morning of touring, my stomach growled and I was plagued with the decision of where to eat. The more I thought about the counter service choices that I had, the more I desired for something substantially more satisfying.

I honestly muddled over the idea of a table service restaurant for almost an hour before deciding to take the plunge. Since I hadn’t been to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in almost 4 years, it was a clear winner for me. After asking some of my Twitter friends about their thoughts on dining there solo, I was informed that I could sit up at the kitchen counter. Score!

Upon entering Mama Melrose’s at quarter after twelve, I asked the hostess for a seat up at the kitchen area. She looked at me like I had bugs crawling out of my ears and then stated, “We know longer seat guests there. I can get you a table.” I had only a slight moment of worry at the thought of sitting at a table all alone and then my fears subsided due to my newfound determination to be Miss Independent.

After only a five minute wait, I was seated at a small table just inside the dining area. The Bobby Vinton record sleeve next to me on the wall looked incredibly familiar. I realized that I’d sat at this very table on my last trip to Mama Melrose. What a coincidence! My waiter, Edgar, was very attentive and charming right from the start. I decided to treat myself to an alcoholic beverage… a Tennessee Honey. The drink consisted of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, lemon, agave nectar, and Sprite. Usually I love anything involving whiskey but the drink really didn’t do anything for me. I paid for it and that’s really the only reason why I continued to drink it down. Well, that and the alcohol.

I really like the ambiance at Mama Melrose’s. It’s what I like to call “homey Italian.” Kind of like what your Italian grandmother would throw together if someone offered her a restaurant.  There’s really nothing fancy or pretentious about the place and I think that’s what makes it very family friendly. The light fixtures are all unique and mismatched. Seating varies from big comfy booths to wood chairs with different shapes and finishes. It’s all very cozy and relaxed.

For an appetizer I decided on the Tomato and Mozzarella. I love this appetizer. I always have and I always will. It’s served with marinated sweet onions that truly make the dish something extraordinary. I think the portion is good sized and priced fairly.

I couldn’t fight the urge to splurge on my entree. I ended up ordering the Wood-grilled Tuna over a Vegetable Risotto. I asked for the tuna to be medium rare, only it came out a little bit more medium. It didn’t bother me that much given that I’m not incredibly picky. Food is food and if it’s edible, I’m going to eat it. The tuna was just mediocre, but paired with the yellow and red tomatoes in the risotto, it was heavenly. At first, I questioned if the pairing of flavors was right, but after much consideration and a clean plate, I determined that it was wonderful… just something I hadn’t eaten before. That’s a good thing, folks. If I want to eat food that tastes like something I eat frequently at home, I’ll hit up Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and get a veggie burger.

At this point, the buttons on my pants were about ready to burst and I knew I had to stop eating despite the fact that the Chocolate Cannoli Cake was calling out to me. I said a quiet prayer to the Nutella gods and apologized for my rejection of their masterpiece.

With my first successful solo dining experience under my belt, I walked away proud of myself. I’m sure you all would like to know, did I ever feel like people were staring at me during my meal? Never! Even if people did gawk, I wouldn’t have cared because I was stuffing my face with good food and that, my friends, is all that matters when it comes to dining solo.

What are your thoughts on Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano? Let me know in the comments section below!


Stacey Lantz

Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, Stacey believes she lives far too many miles away from Walt Disney World. In her spare time she enjoys singing/dancing, spending time with her nieces, and of course, talking about Walt Disney World to anyone that is willing to listen. She's been blogging about all things Disney since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @Stacey87.

5 thoughts on “Solo Dining Review: Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

  • February 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I dined solo at Mama Melrose last September and it was fantastic! My server constantly dropped by to crack a joke and delight me with some fun facts so I never felt like I was by myself and it si so beautifully layed out I was constantly looking around. Truely an awesome dining experience.

  • February 14, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I had never eaten at Mama Melrose’s before my trip earlier this month. I always listened to the reviews that were negative about it and hopped on a boat over to the Boardwalk area for lunch when I visited DHS. This time a friend and I decided to try it, as he had had a good meal there before. We decided to get salads and split a pizza, especially after sitting there watching them make them while we waited on a table. I am happy to say I completely disagree with the negative reviews as we had an awesome lunch there. Mama Melrose’s will be on my ADR list for October, and given how much I love tuna, I may have to try the tuna and vegetable risotto!

  • February 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Next time you find yourself wanting to eat “at the bar” in Studios, head to the Tune-In Lounge. They have the full 50s Prime Time menu, and the conversation is always great.

  • February 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

    We first went to Mama Melrose’s last April. We are experienced diners and have been fortunate enough to eat at some of the greatest old-world Italian restaurants in the country. We made sure to stop back on our trip in December.

    We loved Mama Melrose’s. It’s dependable neighborhood-style Italian food (don’t come here expecting Patsy’s or Il Mulino – it’s not trying to be that) that is attentively prepared and super family-friendly. We love the servers, who I felt were intuitive and did a good job of reading the party and adjusting accordingly.

  • February 20, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    My mother and my two children (3 and 5) dined at Mama Melroses during one of the busiest spring breaks at wdw 2 years ago. It was fantastic. My mother and I had a bottle of wine and the kids each ate a bowl of pasta (one of the few foods they eat) the size of my head. The atmosphere is so nice, because you totally forget you are in an amusement park. We had our reservation late in the day when the park was not open late. By the time we finished dinner the park was closed. It was so nice to stroll through DHS with no crowds in th evening.


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