Ask me what my favorite restaurant is at the Studios. Go ahead. Ask me! Okay, my answer is Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano. Sure there are some other great restaurants at the Studios with intriguing food and entertainment but considering the quality of the food and the price point, I always come out of Mama Melrose's satisfied and my latest foray to Mama Melrose's was right on that.
I had the opportunity to have lunch at Mama Melrose with a group of 15 folks from Studios Central this past weekend during Star Wars Weekends and it allowed us to all try a number of different entrees since there was a great variety in tastes from kids to senior citizens. The signature dish of Mama Melrose is the flatbreads (pizza to the rest of us) and I didn't order it. I like to try something else from their menu to see if they're a one trick pony or they do have good food so I went for their tuna dish. I'm not a huge seafood eater and I only recently started eating seafood and I have a low tolerance for fish that well, taste fishy. As a novice fish eater, I look for something that tastes good and doesn't make me feel like I'm eating something that reminds me of a fish market. To add to the difficulty factor, the dish is best prepared rare or medium rare. So I went for medium rare after asking the server for his recommendation.
My tuna dish came to me delivered in a wonderful red sauce (something I was not expecting) that really gave the fish a unique taste that often had me wondering to myself if I was actually eating fish. I had a great cut of fish and some nice seared squash and zucchini that while I'm not a huge fan of those vegetables, I tried it with the fish and it really all came out well. I opted not to eat the asparagus that also came with the dish because as well know green vegetables are liable to kill you! (Every child knows that!) I talked with others at my table and everyone reported their dishes being quite good. All of the dishes were quite large in size and if you're staying at a resort that has a kitchen, Mama Melrose would have added value since you could take back leftovers and eat it for a snack or a quick meal back at your resort. The flatbreads come in four varieties and was quite good. In fact, at Mama Melrose if you're dining with a close group of friends or family, you really ought to consider ordering one more entree than you have people (so a group of 4 orders 5 entrees) and share the entrees with everyone in the party. There are lots of dishes that are easy to share, including the appetizers), and there are enough options here to likely satisfy even the pickier of eaters.
Eating at Disney World is different from other restaurants elsewhere on planet Earth because the theme of the restaurant is important. Basically the theme is it's a New York styled restaurant (think Tony's from Lady and the Tramp meets typical first date restaurant) that is actually in Hollywood. It's somewhat dark in the restaurant with some classic oldies playing in the background. The theme is not on the level of the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant or 50's Prime Time Cafe but I do think it's better than Hollywood & Vine and I'll even go as far as to say the theme is better than the Hollywood Brown Derby. That being said, you won't come to Mama Melrose for the theme but the theme doesn't detract from the experience either.
Overall, I really like Mama Melroses for the quality food and good prices along with some nice entree sizes. It's often overlooked by guests and you may have a good chance of getting some last minute reservations for. The food is very good and there should be something on the menu for anyone (unlike say the Brown Derby). If getting good food at a good price is important to you, look no further than Mama Melrose. If theme is just as (if not more) important than you, you may be happier somewhere else like 50's Prime Time Cafe. If you haven't tried it yet, I would recommend trying Mama Melrose out. I've already got my reservation for my next trip back to Mama Melrose.