Mama please! Mama D's!

BY: MICAYLA VERMEEREN

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I’ve never been convicted of a felony, but if I were to ever end up on Death Row, there’s no question that my last dinner would have to come from Mama D’s Italian Kitchen.

A hometown staple, this Newport Beach eatery has been drawing in customers from Orange County and beyond with their homey vibe, warm service, and mouth-watering menu that provides everything a hungry stomach could desire.

The restaurant is nestled on the corner of Newport Boulevard and 31st,  unassuming until you step foot in the front door. The restaurant itself isn’t all that large, but the personalities of the staff and the variety of options found on the menu definitely are.

On my most recent visit, I was greeted by a hostess with a huge smile and bubbly personality who led me and my companions to a small table against a wall plastered with drawings left by customers. After she handed us the large white menu, she pointed out a few specialty dishes, and wished us a satisfying experience.

Our waitress, clad in all black, soon replaced her, and she and I chatted over various options, as I needed a bit of help deciding between the options.

As I scanned the menu, I noticed multiple blurbs telling guests to alert staff immediately if any part of their dining experience fell under par. I appreciated the active interest in ensuring a happy visit.

Looking over the selections offered, you’ll find all of the Italian staples- from bruschetta to chicken parmigiana to Margarita pizza- but the real standout is undeniably Mama D’s Original Pink Sauce. This blend of marinara with Alfredo and herbs can be added to your choice of pasta, or substituted in any of the pre made pasta entrees.

I highly recommend the spinach ravioli as a base for the sauce. The mixture of spinach and ricotta that fills the ravioli provides a perfect counterpart to the sauce.

If pasta doesn’t suit your fancy, the pizzas are an amazing alternative. As the menu description explains, all pizzas are made on a thin crust, as per Neopolitan tradition.  Beautifully baked, the crust ends up supporting the weight of whatever toppings you choose to add while maintaining a wafer-like crispness.

Mama D’s is a family run business, so it only made sense to order family style and split dishes across the table. The portions were perfectly allotted, and left everyone full, but not bogged down.

The prices for each dish were on the upper end of affordable, but the quality of the food more than justified the cost.

The only downside to my Mama D’s experience was discovering that the doors open at 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, where they open at 11am during the week. Nevertheless, Mama D’s remains one of my favorite Italian restaurants, and I’m more than willing to wait the few hours to make it down for dinner in my spare time.

You can visit Mama D’s in person at 3012 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92663, or online at www.mamadsnewport.com.