On a Thursday night my boyfriend and I went to Mamma Melina's Ristorante Italiano located near the University District of Seattle. It is a charming little restaurant on the corner of Roosevelt and North 50th Street beneath the Seven Gables Theatre. It was a full house at 7:30pm when we arrived but it cleared out before we left, maybe the movie theatre rush.
After a short wait we were seated in a quiet corner at a round table facing two windows that looked out onto the intersection. We were quickly brought a carafe of water and a basket of bread. I mixed some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to use as a dip but after my first bite I realized the bread was perfect alone. The warm flatbread was crusty on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside. I wondered if the bread was homemade and was the same dough they use to make their pizzas.
After filling up on bread, we skipped the appetizer and ordered the main course. My boyfriend ordered the Vitello al Marsala, veal in a wine and mushroom sauce, served with vegetables, pasta and potatoes. He enjoyed the meal though he thought the veal was a little tough for his liking and the marsala sauce did not have enough wine for his tastes. On the other hand, my entree was perfect. I ordered the Pollo ai Carciofi; the chicken breast was tender, covered in a flavorful wine and lemon-parsley sauce with ample artichoke hearts. The dish was also served with a variety of steamed vegetables including carrots and zucchini, and a small portion of pasta with a touch of marinara sauce and parmesan; I decided to skip the potatoes. Our server was very attentive without being overbearing. After finishing our entrees, we were full and had no room for dessert, though in hindsight, Mamma's Tiramisu or the mango sorbet would have been good choices.
At Mamma Melina's the prices are reasonable and there are plenty of choices including a variety of pastas and pizzas, seafood, chicken, veal and even various vegetarian options. They also have nightly specials and an extensive wine list. Based on my experience I would recommend this restaurant to anyone craving authentic Italian cuisine served in a cozy, unpretentious setting.
Reviewed by: Sukie Johan
Last reviewed: March 29th, 2007