By: Siobhan Brown
The Place & Vibe
Walking into Italian eatery Mammamia, diners are immediately welcomed by the restaurant’s pleasant warmth and enveloped in the smell of freshly baked dough. Our children were delighted to find a Piaggio Vespa, pizza boxes piled high on the back, as though ready to make a delivery. My friend and I were impressed by the open glass kitchen showcasing an immaculate cooking space and a red-tiled pizza oven. The main eating area boasts wall-to-wall wood floors and rustic wooden tables flanked by chairs and plaid banquettes to comfortably sink into. The space is inviting and has an authentic, warm, Italian feel.
Our stomachs growling as soon as we smelled the dough, we were eager to get started. The food is of the highest standard, made with ingredients imported from Italy. Our appetizer, the Antipasto Misto(RMB148), arrived after some fresh baked bread and we were amazed at the sheer variety of the chef’s grand selection of meats, cheeses, assorted vegetables and pan-fried starters. We immediately made little sandwiches out of the meat, cheeses and the fresh baked bread, and the kids happily munched on this while we awaited the rest of our meal.
Our first main was the Straccetti Bolognese (RMB68), cooked perfectly al dente, and served with a generous helping of tasty pork and beef ragu. It must be mentioned that almost all the pasta served at Mammamia is homemade. Between mouthfuls my husband managed to say, “meaty” while enjoying my leftovers, which were equally tasty the next day. We were then served a signature Mammamia dish that came straight out of the authentic pizza oven. The Pizza Margherita (RMB88) boasted beautifully colored ingredients, consisting of buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and parmesan. The dough was soft and warm and cooked to perfection. The edges were coffee colored and delightfully crispy. Our next main to arrive was the Merluzzo al Cortoccio (RMB128). This savory piece of fish was nestled into white parcel paper that helped seal in all the flavors. The fish inside was so moist and soft that it melted in our mouths like flavorful butter. Our last main to arrive was theCostoletta Di Maiale Alla Milanese (RMB138). This pork chop was pan-fried with parmesan cheese, softly breaded and not greasy, having the appearance and taste of a chop that was baked, not fried. It was paired with a tomato and arugula salad that provided the perfect compliment.
As a finale, we had the Dolce Misto (RMB98), a mixture of the restaurant’s most popular Napolitan desserts. We were treated to a gorgeous array of flaky pastries, vanilla ice cream with a hint of mint, tiramisu with dollops of fresh cream and a generous dusting of cocoa as well as a rich and creamy creme brulee that provided the perfect close to a perfect evening.
As parents know, it’s not always easy to dine with a pint-sized demographic. The staff, however, brought paper and crayons and never even batted an eye when our two three-year-olds climbed under the table to play or knocked over a bottle of sparkling water. The lively atmosphere drowned out their playful pre-school banter as well as their iPads, which my girlfriend and I pulled out so we could enjoy our glass of Prosecco. We never had to wait long for a dish to be served or a plate to be removed, an absolute delight for parents who generally have limited time in a restaurant. While Mammamia is a perfect venue for children, it has a grown-up feel thanks to the pleasing decor, candlelit lighting, excellent wine selection and sophisticated staff. This may just be one of my new favorite restaurants in Shanghai. Chef Enzo Carbone has outdone himself, providing upscale dishes at an affordable price the whole family can enjoy.
Price: RMB160-180 per person, including children (family-style restaurant, ideal for sharing)
Recommended ages: All ages
Good for: Lunch, dinner
Join Siobhan’s family in the next issue of Urban Family as we go on the hunt for kid-friendly dining options around town!
> 2/F, 1333 Huaihai Zhong Lu, by Changshu Lu, 淮海中路1333号2楼， 近常熟路 (5081 0966 or firstname.lastname@example.org)