Skip to Content

Mama Melrose Disappoints with Inedible Food

Mama Melrose Disappoints with Inedible Food

For a stress-free Disney or Universal Studios vacation, let the FREE expert planners at Royal Carriage Vacations take care of every detail including dining reservations, applying discounts, and onboard cruise credit.

Dining in Walt Disney World can be a very important and delicious part of the overall experience. However, Mama Melrose seems to have had a steep decline in quality.

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Picture of mama melrose's disney
Credit: Kate

Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano is a table service restaurant nestled in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Based on the story of an aspiring actress turned chef, is said to offer Italian flavors with California Charm.

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is typically easy to book as a stand-alone reservation. It is also available as a Fantasmic! Dining Package.

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, it will cost one-table service credit if you book it as a stand-alone reservation. If you are paying out of pocket expect to pay over $25 for an adult entree.

There was a time when people raved about Mama Melrose. In fact, it has been highly recommended to me by many people I trust. But, the quality has clearly diminished. You may be best served to take your meal credits or hard-earned money elsewhere.


Credit: Kate
Credit: Kate

You probably will not stumble across Mama Melrose’s unless you know exactly where to look. It is tucked in a part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that some people have never even seen!

It truly is located in a “back lot.” To find it, head to Grand Avenue, at Grand Park, which is tucked somewhere between Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Star Tours. Head through Muppets Courtyard and past Muppet*Vision 3D. Keep going all the way to the back!


Picture of mama melrose's disney
Credit: Kate

The Atmosphere for Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano has its charms, especially if you like a place with walls full of eclectic decor. Some of the decor makes sense, and some of is reminiscent of an Applebee’s.

You will likely notice fairy lights, greenery, and grape vines as well as a mismatched mix of lamps lighting the dining room. The children in my travel party had fun picking a favorite lamp while we waited for our meals.

Bread Service

Picture of mama melrose's rolls
Credit: Kate

One thing I did appreciate about Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is that there is still a complimentary bread service. And, it is pretty tasty bread at that.

Our basket of rolls arrived piping hot. It is served with oil and Italian herbs. However, you can request butter if that is your preference.

We have noticed that many Disney table service restaurants no longer offer complimentary bread. For example, Tony’s Town Square charges for a basket of garlic bread.


Picture of mama melrose's chicken pasta
Credit: Kate

Our entrees are where things really began to fall apart during our visit to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Our meals ranged from fine to inedible. I wish I were exaggerating.

One of the adults in our travel party tried Mama’s Italian Pasta with Chicken. It is Fettuccini tossed with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic, Artichokes, Butter, and White Wine Sauce.

The dish was fine. It wasn’t bad by any means. But it also wasn’t particularly memorable. It seemed like something constructed of jar sauce and canned vegetables.

Picture of mama melrose's steak
Credit: Kate

I ordered the Charred Strip Steak, which is served with Four-Cheese Macaroni with Pancetta, Aged Balsamic-Shallot Butter, and Chianti Wine Reduction. This is the dish I have had recommended to me over and over. I was so excited to give it a try.

However, when our server brought out the steak and asked me to cut into it to be sure it was cooked properly, something unexpected happened. I could not cut into the steak. It was so tough that it was impossible to saw into. It was like attempting to cut a hard block of rubber.

The server’s response was to offer to bring me a different steak knife. Perhaps the first was not sharp enough, she suggested. I knew that was not the issue, but I tried the second steak knife she offered me anyway.

Unsurprisingly, the steak still would not cut. The server’s response was to offer a third knife.

Instead of trying yet another knife, I gently told her that I did not think the knives were the issue. So, she offered to bring a new dish.

Steak Attempt 2

Credit: Kate

Sadly, the second steak was also impossibly tough, and I could not cut it either. I tried sawing into three separate places before giving up. It was disappointing and frankly unacceptable to be served a second inedible dish.

The server offered to bring out a third steak, but at this point we had already been in the restaurant for nearly 2 hours, and park time is too precious to waste. Plus, I did not have much confidence that a third attempt would have better results.

I will say that I did have a chance to taste the macaroni and cheese, and it was tasty, though it was a bit clumpy and a little cold. Perhaps it had been sitting, waiting to be delivered to the table a little longer than intended.

Mama Melrose decorations
Credit: Kate

The restaurant did not charge us for the steak, which was kind of them. However, I’d have much preferred to be able to eat the meal. My travel party loves great food experiences, and it is one thing we will happily splurge on. I wish we could have instead been compensated for so much wasted time.

Besides, a trip to Disney will leave you hungry! I tried to fuel up instead by finishing what the children left on their plates.

Children’s Entrees

Picture of mama melrose's pizza disney
Credit: Kate

I suppose it is worth reviewing the children’s entrees. After all, the second-best offering behind the bread basket came from the kid’s menu.

One of the children in our travel party had cheese pizza. It is the same sort of tiny, round, single-serve puffy pizza you will find over at Pizza Rizzo or at other locations around the parks.

It is unremarkable, but it will work in a pinch. After all, even bad pizza is still kind of good.

Picture of mama melrose's chicken
Credit: Kate

Another of the children had the grilled chicken. This was entirely too salty and it was pretty dry. I say this as a person who loves salt.

Our littlest traveler thought it was bad enough to leave on her plate, mostly uneaten, and I can’t say I blame her. I will say this: unlike the steak, the chicken was edible at least. So, all preferences aside, that was a plus.

Picture of mama melrose's pasta
Credit: Kate

The other children had the pasta with marinara and meatballs with zucchini on the side. They both liked this. In fact, they cleaned their plates. It may have been the best-received dish of the evening.

Another nice thing about Dinsey table service meals is you can select a dessert with a kid’s meal in place of a second vegetable, fruit, or statch. This allows the kids to have a sweet treat without an extra expense.

Picture of mama melrose's meatball cupcake
Credit: Kate

The options are a meatball cupcake and a gelato sundae. The children liked the sundaes really well. And the cupcake, while odd in terms of aesthetic, was fine in terms of flavor.

It wasn’t the best cupcake. Then again, there are very few Disney cupcakes that are actually good in my opinion. Most of them are too dense and lack any flavor other than sugar.


mama melrose kitchen
Credit: Kate

Service was very slow, even outside of remaking my meal. We were there for 2 hours, and that doesn’t take into account that the restaurant was running 30 minutes behind on reservation times. I would expect a 90-minute+ dining experience for a character meal or a signature experience. But typically table service meals are less lengthy.

None of the issues with the food the kitchen sent out were a reflection on our server. She did her best to mitigate the situation. Much of what happens in a restaurant is out of the hands of the servers, yet they are the ones who have to deliver the information to often impatient, grumpy Guests.

However, I will say that I am surprised that the manager did not stop by the table, especially since we experienced problems. In fact, managers are typically highly visible and present at Disney restaurants.


Mama melrose statues
Credit: Kate

Sadly, I cannot recommend anyone to dine at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. In fact, it joins the list of Disney Restaurants to avoid.

Sometimes the unique atmosphere of a place is enough to make up for the food. For example, Sci-Fi dine-in is a cool place to eat. But in the case of Mama Melrose’s, the restaurant itself isn’t cool enough to be able to justify not being able to enjoy, or even eat, the meal.

Overall, I’d recommend going just about anywhere else in Disney’s Hollywood Studios instead. After all, there are plenty of good places to eat including quick-service locations like Docking Bay 7 or Woody’s Lunchbox. You will also find better food at 50’s Prime Time Cafe.

Exciting New Menu Updates Coming to Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Perhaps they were having an off night. Or, perhaps this is a case where quality has simply declined over the years. I hope that this is a restaurant that rebounds. The theme parks themselves need more great options for Guests to enjoy.

Want Great Steak?

Credit: Kate

If you are looking for better steak options, we have you covered. Steak happens to be one of my favorite things to eat in Disney World.

See a list of some of the best steaks here. Of course, there are some others that might need to be added to the list including Shula’s. Lately, Hollywood Brown Derby and Steakhouse 71 have also been impressive.

Using a Travel Agent can help you navigate the ins and outs of planning! I am here to help! Please fill out this form and put my name (Kate) in the Special Request box.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rob H

Tuesday 19th of March 2024

My wife and I recently (this past Friday) dined at Mama Melrose. I had the Italian pasta with shrimp added. It was deliciious. We even had leftovers to take home and it warmed up just fine and tasted great as a leftover. Our server Jules did a great job.


Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Thank you for reading and for your response, Rob! I am glad to hear people who have been recently are having good experience. Hopefully this was just a very bad night for the restaurant.

Joan M

Monday 18th of March 2024

Mama Melrose is our go to restaurant at HS. We have never had a bad meal and we normally travel with a party of at least 6. My husband had the same steak when we were there 2 weeks ago and it was delicious. I love the chicken parm. Not sure what happened when you went but you need to give it another try.


Monday 18th of March 2024

Thank you for readinf and taking the time to reach out, Joan. I truly hope we just caught it on a bad night and that this was not their best work. I’d love to give it a second chance someday.

Have you been in the past few months? I’d love to hear about your favorite dishes.

Gracie Marske

Monday 18th of March 2024

Our meals have been wonderful. Maybe the chef had a bad night.


Monday 18th of March 2024

Thank you for reading and taking time to share your perspective, Gracie! I hope that it truly is a case of an off night and that everyone who dines there feom here on out has a great experience!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.