Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Yesterday, we had dinner at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

On our yearly trip to Disney World, before we moved to Orlando, Mama Melrose's was our table service restaurant of choice when we went to Hollywood Studios.

Mama Melrose's has an allergy-friendly menu that lists options for people with gluten/wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.  None of the flatbreads are listed as being a gluten free option, but I have ordered them on previous visits to Mama Melrose's, which you can read about here.  If you are interested in a flatbread, ask to speak to a chef, and they might be able to accommodate you. 2017 Update - pictures of their new allergy-friendly menu are included at the end of this review. 

Gluten/wheat friendly options at Mama Melrose's (updated 3/16)
  • Appetizers - fresh mozzarella and vine-ripened tomatoes, mixed greens salad, seared fennel-crusted tuna
  • Entrees - charred strip steak with four-cheese macaroni, saltimbocca, seafood cioppino, pasta alla vodka, chicken or shrimp pasta with a four-cheese sauce, sustainable fish of the day 
  • Desserts - cheesecake (a no sugar added dessert), chocolate or vanilla gelato, flourless chocolate cake, vanilla rice milk non-dairy frozen dessert, vanilla or chocolate soy milk non-dairy frozen dessert 

My meal started off with Deanna's allergen free dinner rolls, which are free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, nuts, and shellfish.  These rolls, which used to be called GNI rolls, seemed a little thicker than they used to be.  When heated well, they are better than the Udi's and Ener-G rolls offered at some Disney restaurants.  Yesterday, they were so good, I ate almost three of them.

I usually prefer butter with my bread, but the olive oil with herbs that Mama Melrose's is now serving, was incredible, and had a spicy kick from all the pepper in it.  Even my butter addicted daughters loved it.

For an entree, I couldn't pass up the charred strip steak with five-cheese macaroni with pancetta, aged balsamic-shallot butter, and a Chianti wine reduction.  When my meal arrived, I was surprised that my reduction was served on the side, which I had not requested.  My steak was also very rare, and seemed tough when I cut it, so I sent it back.

My second plate of food did not arrive until after my family was done eating, but it was worth the wait.  I am not sure if there was any pancetta or balsamic-shallot butter on my plate, but the steak was tender, and so nicely complemented by the Chianti wine reduction on top.  The five-cheese macaroni was penne with a cheesy cream sauce, and tasted like the gluten-filled pasta I used to eat before my celiac diagnosis.  I am assuming it was Barilla gluten free penne, because that's what it tasted like, and many Disney restaurants are now using this brand.

The only thing that would have made this dish more perfect was if it had been served with a green vegetable like broccolini or spinach.

For dessert, my daughter Emma and I split a dish of vanilla gelato and a flourless chocolate cake.

I am not sure why my flourless chocolate cake arrived without the whipped cream mentioned on the menu, but I ordered the vanilla gelato to eat on top of it, so I didn't say anything to our server.  I always enjoy this dessert, but I would not say that it is one of my favorites at Disney.  It is very dense and fudgy, and in my opinion, it needs some whipped cream and/or ice cream, and raspberries or strawberries.

My gluten-eating family enjoyed their bread, Caesar salad, Margherita flatbread, chicken Parmesan, and tiramisu.  You can read about my friend Sarah's gluten free and dairy free dining experience at Mama Melrose's on her blog Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW.

March 5, 2016 Update

Earlier today, I had lunch at Mama Melrose's with my parents and my daughters.  I ate both of the Deanna's gluten free rolls I was given, because they are so amazing with the olive oil and herbs they are served with.

For an entree, I chose the chicken pasta tossed in a four-cheese sauce with cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and sweet onions.  Mama Melrose's uses Barilla gluten free penne, one of my favorite gluten free pastas, and it was al dente, just like I like it.  They are now making a four-cheese sauce instead of the five-cheese sauce I had on my last visit.  The sauce was flavorful, and I enjoyed it with the chicken and vegetables.  My gluten-eating father tried it too, and was impressed.  Even though I liked this dish, I would probably go with the charred strip steak again on my next visit, because I loved the combination of steak and pasta, two of my favorite foods.  My mother said the sustainable fish of the day with fire-roasted corn hash with sweet corn nectar and chili aioli was incredible, and it is listed as gluten free on the allergy-friendly menu.

December 27, 2017

On our recent trip to Disney World, I stopped at Mama Melrose's to check out their new allergy-friendly menu. We plan on dining there again in July.

You can read more about Mama Melrose's, make advance dining reservations, and view their menu and hours on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano?


  1. Thank you so much for all of your posts! I'm going to Disney in August, and it is my first time diagnosed as a Celiac, so this is extremely helpful to know they are accommodating. Do you know if by any chance Mama Melrose's has gluten free penne with marinara sauce?

    I love reading your blog and look forward to reading more!


    1. Hi Jessi! They do have gluten free penne, and marinara sauce is on the menu, so I am sure they could make it for you if the marinara is GF. I would ask to speak to a chef. Have a great trip!

  2. We were so glad we tried this place, my daughter was very impressed with the pasta with cheese sauce. One of her favorite meals from the whole vacation!

    1. I am excited to dine here when we go back in July. My daughters love it!