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The Hidden Walt Disney World Restaurant You Should Definitely Dine In

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have several lists when it comes to Disney restaurants. Which of these lists do you have?

  • Restaurants that you dine in every trip to the Walt Disney World Resort
  • The Disney restaurants you’re yet to try
  • Disney dining experiences you’ve enjoyed and will experience again
  • The Disney restaurants you’ve dined in once, and are happy to skip going forward

There’s no doubt that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to dining in Walt Disney World, and they really do offer something for everybody. From quick-service to full-service dining, character dining, signature dining and all-you-care-to-enjoy dining, Disney Park dining and dining in the Disney Resorts, and more. 

We recently decided to dine in a Disney restaurant that had been on our list for a while. Use of the Disney Dining Plan was generally the thing that put us off dining at this dining location previously. Like many Guests, our mission was to get the highest value when it came to redeeming Disney Dining Plan Credits. Now that we’ve dined there, we’re only sad that we haven’t dined there sooner!

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Credit: V Mills

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Tucked away at the back of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a cozy dining space, that serves up Italian dishes with a California twist. Whilst it’s a busy location to dine in, the decor is casual yet inviting. What was once a former backlot warehouse, has been transformed into a gorgeous eatery, with checked curtains on the windows, and around the restaurant to provide some privacy between tables, and walls decorated in eclectic mementos. Our favorite detail though was most definitely the overhead string lights that lit up the dining room just perfectly. 

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Credit: V Mills

You’ll find this gorgeous restaurant on Grand Avenue, near the exit of Muppet Vision 3D. Guests can access Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano by passing by PizzeRizzo, and following the path around. You could say it’s one of Disney’s Hollywood Studios hidden secrets!

When to Dine and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Open from 10:45 a.m. through to 9:00 p.m., Mama Melrose’s serves up lunch and dinner to Guests. The same menu is served throughout the day, offering appetizers, entrees and desserts to all Guests, with options for younger Guests, and allergy-friendly items too. Whilst there was walk-in availability when we visited the Disney dining location during August, we had secured an advance dining reservation. We recommend doing the same if you intend on stopping by during your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to avoid a long wait time for a table.

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Credit: V Mills

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Menu

The variety of Italian-inspired dishes was something that attracted us to dine there. We loved the California twists, making the dishes unique to this restaurant in Hollywood Studios. Whilst initially, we wondered if it would be very similar to Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom, we really liked how it offered a different, yet tasty, dining experience.

Appetizers served up in Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano include:

  • Fried Fresh Mozzarella
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Credit: V Mills

  • Crispy Calamari
  • Minestrone Soup (plant-based)
  • Margherita Flatbread
  • Vine-ripened Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella
  • House-made Italian Meatball
  • Mama’s Caesar Salad

Mama Melrose’s entrees include:

  • Charred Strip Steak, served with four-cheese Macaroni with pancetta, aged balsamic-shallot butter, and Chianti Wine reduction
  • Mama’s Italian Pasta, made with Fettuccine, toasted tomatoes, garlic, artichokes and white wine sauce. Available with or without chicken or shrimp.
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Credit: V Mills

  • Polenta Cake, Mushroom, and Herb Cauliflower, served with sautĂ©ed mushroom, spinach, red pepper and a cashew-cheese sauce (plant-based)
  • Oven-baked Chicken alla Parmigiana, served over spaghetti
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Credit: V Mills

  • Shrimp Campanelle pasta, tossed in four-cheese sauce with cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and sweet onions. Substitute shrimp for chicken if you would prefer.
  • Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop, served with creamy polenta, roasted tomatoes, mustard vincotto, and charred broccolini
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Credit: V Mills

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs, served with house-made Marinara sauce, and garnished with pecorino romano cheese and parsley
  • Sustainable Fish, with house-made spinach-basin pappardelle pasta, puttanesca and grilled asparagus

Save room for dessert as there are plenty of options to choose from, including:

  • Tiramisu
  • Mini Cannoli Trio, with orange cream and caramel-butterscotch flavors, and traditional cannoli with chocolate chips
  • Mama’s Cookies to Go, including lemon crinkle cookie, pine nut cookie, butter cookie with nonpareils, and double chocolate-almond biscotti
  • Cherry-Chocolate Cake (plant-based)
  • Chocolate or Vanilla Gelato
  • Colors of Italy Cheesecake
  • Blueberry-Frangipane Tart
  • Lemon Sorbet (plant-based)

Our Recommendations

Let’s just say that each of our choices went down a treat! The Fried Fresh Mozzarella was a delicious appetizer. In terms of entrees, Mama’s Italian Pasta, and the Oven-baked Chicken alla Parmigiana made for the perfect dishes to enjoy in the cozy atmosphere. Unfortunately we didn’t have room for dessert, but if we did, the Mini Cannoli Trio would have been our choice.

Several of the appetizers had caught our eye, making it a difficult choice. Had we been dining around lunchtime, we would have ordered several of the appetizers to share, allowing us to enjoy a bit of everything. Another great sharing combination could be the Margherita Flatbread, Mama’s Caesar Salad and Mama’s Italian Pasta. Yum!

Have you dined at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano yet? If not, we hope you’re feeling inspired to stop by during your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. If you’re torn between Tony’s Town Square and Mama Melrose’s, we would definitely choose the latter.

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Credit: V Mills

We’re also hoping it’s a restaurant that is offered as part of the Fantasmic! Dining Package when Fantasmic! finally returns to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre. 

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!