Living in Brisbane enjoying food, wine, art, health and life!
Published August 24th 2013
Little Italy comes to Cleveland
After a brief wander around the Cleveland Twilight Makers Market (and a quick champagne at Fiction Bar) mum and I headed to Mamma Mia Trattoria and Pizzeria at Cleveland Harbour for dinner. This restaurant has been open for a couple of years now in Cleveland and to be honest, I had heard some very mixed reviews. That said, we figured if it has lasted this long in Cleveland they must be doing something right and we decided to give it a crack!
For a small local restaurant I was most definitely impressed. Mamma Mia has a lovely authentic feel even down to being able to hear the pizza chefs having a lively conversation in Italian. The ambiance is undeniable and you really feel as though you could have stepped into a local pizzeria in Italy.
One thing to note before discussing food - if you want to go on a Saturday night, definitely book in advance. They were absolutely packed last night! The alfresco dining area is nice but for a more genuine experience I would recommend sitting inside but asking not to sit too close to their swelteringly hot wood and gas fired pizza oven.
Next important thing after food - wine! Mamma Mia has a fairly modest wine list but there are some excellent choices to be made and (as any good Italian restaurant should) they have a number of Italian Chianti wines to chose from.
Now onto the food and I have three words for you all: bring your appetite. Mamma Mia clearly prides itself in good Italian hospitality when it comes to its meals, they are absolutely huge! Thankfully mum and I decided to bypass any starters and head straight for main course. The menu is definitely pizza and pasta with only a couple of other options to chose from. I went for the special of the evening which was a pesto risotto served with calamari. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a risotto snob and to date have only found about two restaurants that I feel do a good job. At one point I became so afraid of the sloppy risotto demon I even stopped ordering it. Mamma Mia's risotto is wonderful! If I had to fault the dish it would only be that the calamari was a little chewy but really nothing major. My mother decided to go the non-pizza/pasta option of Scallopine di Pollo - chicken fillet cooked in porcini mushroom sauce served with baked potatoes and mixed salad and veggies. I think her plate may have been capable of feeding a small third world nation but every element on it was tasty and fresh.
Mamma Mia is a delight of a restaurant. My only complaint would perhaps be that the staff are a little inattentive but I will forgive them of this due to how insanely busy they were. We will definitely return and I would gladly recommend this restaurant to anyone seeking a bit of Italy in the greater Brisbane region.