Mama Melrose. Who is she? And why is her vegan food so dang tasty?! Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a hidden vegan gem and as far as I’m concerned, the best place to eat in DHS.
Vegan Disney Food Review: Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Mama Melrose is tucked away in a corner of the Backlot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. You’ll find it just past PizzeRizzo and at the exit of Muppet Vision 3D.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Atmosphere
The interior of the restaurant is about as home style Italian as you can get with both tiled and wooden floors and stuccoed walls giving way to red brick. Photos of celebrities and graffiti line the walls as twinkle lights and cured faux meats and cheeses hang overhead.
Seating in the main dining room is predominately wooden tables and chairs with a few cozy booths nestled around the perimeter along with banquettes. There are five seats at the bar, which is full-service and available for guests without reservations.
Statues, old records and grape vines accent the walls as handmade pastas dry in the window.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Vegan Options
All meals at Mama’s start with complementary bread service which just so happens to be vegan as-is. The Italian rolls served here come with a dish of herb and garlic olive oil for dipping. Try to control yourself with the bread though. It’s so good you’ll want to eat a ton of it but there’s so much more on the menu you’ll need to save room for.
There are several items on the appetizer and entree portions of the menu that can be easily modified vegan and one dedicated entree that is vegan right off the menu as-is.
When dining with friends I always ask to split two items from the appetizer section of the menu. A pizza and a salad. Sounds so unassuming, but let me tell you, there is nothing ordinary about either one of these.
Let’s start with the modified Mushroom Flatbread ($15). The crust is already vegan and instead of tomato sauce, this pizza is topped with a decadent roasted vidalia onion spread, roasted cremini mushrooms and button mushrooms. The entire pie gets a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella cheese in lieu of fontina and asiago cheese and a dusting of fresh herbs. The flatbread is normally finished with a balsamic reduction, however the reduction contains honey. Trust me. You’re not going to miss it.
All of this gets crispy, melty and gooey in an authentic wood fired brick oven.
The pizza is cut into six decent sized slices which makes it perfect for sharing.
Next up off the appetizer menu is the modified Seasonal Italian Salad ($11). This isn’t a delicate starter salad. This is a hearty, meal-in-and-of-itself salad.
The Seasonal Italian Salad is well, seasonal, so the components change from time to time. On this particular visit it was filled with romaine lettuce, spinach, warm vegan focaccia, butternut squash, asparagus, kalamata olives, tomato, onion, cucumber and lemon-tarragon vinaigrette. Skip the feta cheese.
The newest addition to the menu is the Plant-based Arancini ($13) which consists of a single breaded and deep fried rice ball which sits on a coconut cucumber cream accompanied by a gazpacho salad with a fennel gastrique, sriracha emulsion and fresh basil ribbons.
Vegan pasta with marinara is available here but do not order it.
For your entree be sure to order the Polenta Cake, Mushroom, and Herb Cauliflower ($19). This dish is unlike anything served anywhere on Walt Disney World property and requires zero modifications.
Plated you will find a slice of crispy fried polenta beside a roasted cauliflower steak. This is topped with a sauté of spinach, red bell peppers and mushrooms. The piece de resistance is the creamy cashew cheese sauce that ties the whole dish together. You get crispy. You get tangy and you get creamy. It’s the perfect bite.
For dessert, get the Cappuccino Affogato ($9). This affogato consists of one layer of chocolate espresso ganache and a layer of cashew custard. It is served in the tiniest cappuccino cup with a chocolate coffee bean.
Along with a dusting of cocoa powder outlining a coffee spoon, are two more chocolate beans and a delicious almond brittle.
Trust me when I say you will not leave Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano hungry! The restaurant is always consistent with the food and reservations are highly recommend.
Looking for a master list of ALL the vegan options in Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Check out our comprehensive guide here: What’s Vegan in Disney’s Hollywood Studios?