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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mama D's Italian Kitchen in Newport Beach

Mama D's Italian Kitchen has always been raved about.  I heard about it from friends of mine when I was attending UCI nearby.  With the raving Yelp reviews as well, I knew I had to check them out.  The first time I went, I was blown away by the service there.  Seriously, when was the last time the waitresses ask for your name?  Though it may seem a bit intrusive -- as some diners come to eat, not to talk to their waiters and waitresses; it's undeniably brilliant service.  Also, known for their pink sauce, a marinara sauce combined with two different types of cream, Mama D's is a great restaurant for a date or just to have dinner with friends.

A meal at Mama D's always starts with some freshly baked bread.  Delicious and always enjoyed.  I'm a sucker for any fresh baked bread, but Mama D's does have exceptionally good bread here.  Especially dipped into their garlic oil.  Yum.

What's an Italian meal without some fried calamari.  If you're worried about getting some overly breaded, overcooked (and in some cases undercooked) calamari with bland marinara sauce -- then fear not.  Mama D's has perfectly lightly breaded calamari.  You get a brilliant crisp with each bite and you can actually taste the calamari.  The roof of your mouth doesn't hurt from excessive breading like you would find in certain kitchens.

Now, I've never been one to listen to hype.  Sure, I follow hype, but I see what I like from there.  Mama D's is no exception to that rule.  Yes, this is in regards to their pink sauce.  Good, sure, but with the raves it's getting, I expected more.  I would definitely recommend people to try it, but I don't see the craze to it.  In fact, I haven't gotten the pink sauce since the first time I've tried it -- there are so many other great things on their menu to stick to one thing.  So sorry, there is no picture of the pink sauce.  Just think of a tomato based sauce, except well... you know... pink.

How Mama D's works is that everything is made to order.  That means customization galore!  They have recommended pasta dishes that you can customize by choosing X pasta with Y ingredients and Z sauce.

Though I don't have pictures of famous pink sauce, I do have a couple pictures of their other pasta dishes.  This is my friend's meatball pasta.  It was a lunch portion so a great price and of course a smaller portion than their dinner portion.  My friend didn't even finish this plate.

And here's another pasta dish.  Some diced sausage among other ingredients thrown in:


Then the cioppino.  There was no lunch size unfortunately, so I think I probably ate 1/3 of it.

The cioppino was... good.  The seafood tasted sweet and fresh.  It was mixed with linguine, though I probably should've asked if they were able to just omit that so I can dip some of their fine breads in instead. Oh well, it was still good.  I don't really have a problem with the dish, but nothing made it really amazing either.  Well, the shrimp did.  It was so sweet.  So, so sweet.  But.. I'll probably stick to their pasta dishes next time... and get some shrimp with it.

Great service, a sense of homemade goodness and a meal that won't break the bank.  Mama D's is a restaurant characterized by these features.  To me, that seems like a combination for success.

3012 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663