Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mama D's Italian Kitchen

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Newport Beach, CA. A friend and I came across a locally celebrated restaurant serving up everyday Italian, or rather, every day (I wish I ate) Italian cuisine.  Mama D's Italian Kitchen, in Newport Beach and Manhattan Beach, offers up some kitchen favorites with the friendliest of friendly servers. True to their claim, a heartfelt reception and a basket of freshly baked bread greet their guests whilst waiting for a table. As the kitchen opens its doors, a line begins to form, and soon enough you're befriending the nearby sitting parties sharing in your mutual goal: Italian feasting.

Bread and Dipping Oil
After taking a seat lit by the still high afternoon sun, we couldn't decide on how to navigate the menu. We had never been and if the rumors were true, the food would really taste like 'Mama' herself, made it. So let's see...we could start with the bread: baked fresh, soft to the touch, a bit crusty on the outside. That works for me. The parmesan garlic dipping sauce was a restaurant standard, so an order of Fra Diavoli sauce made sense. I do enjoy a little spice, and the blend of pepper and marinara really only added to how many slices I ate. Whoops, sorry friend.

Spinach Ravioli in Pink Sauce


Noticing our indecisiveness, a waiter approached, memorized our names, and offered us a sampling of Spinach Ravioli in Pink Sauce. An alfredo and marinara sauce blend soothed our senses and the tender spinach and ricotta filled raviolis satiated the start of our menu exploration. We realized we were beginning a small bites theme so another ravioli round seemed appropriate.

Cheese Ravioli in Marinara Sauce
The Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce was as tender as our first order. These moderately-sized morsels were in a sauce that had a slight sweetness, common to mom and pop style Italian, I'm noticing. Given that we were sharing, I could not hungrily eye my friend's last bite and expect an offer to eat the rest. No, no, I could wait until the next plate arrived. Hm, now for our next sampling: an order of a large Meatball and Sausage.  

Large Meatball in Marinara Sauce
Meatballs, or sausage, are rarely an inspired choice. Perhaps it's the fact that I never know what to look for or have never had one that really stood apart from the rest. Both the meatball and sausage tasted like something I could readily prepare in my own kitchen. However, in my mind, this fact held true to their theme of kitchen authenticity. If I could follow a recipe, as anyone I know could, then it did seem like there was a 'Mama' (if not THE 'Mama') in the kitchen watching over the food preparation.

Chocolate Chip Cookies



By our last bite, it was settled: we WERE starving, but between the bread and the regular procession of new eats across a little over an hour, our stomachs had had their fill. In bringing our bill, our waiter also carried a small plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. Oh well, we certainly had room for a small bit of sweet, right? Certainly. I have since returned for some entrees like Chicken Parmigiana and Pasta Puttanesca, (and bread and cookies), though the memory created from the first experience is what continues to bring me back to Mama D's Italian Kitchen. Next up on my menu selection here, a pizza pie, of course! 

Mama D’s Italian Kitchen
3012 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663
949-675-6262
www.mamadsnewport.com

Mama D's Italian Kitchen

1125 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310-546-1492
www.mamadsrestaurant.com

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