Osteria Mamma - Los Angeles (Mid-Wilshire)

5732 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Tel: 323.284.7060
Chef: Loredana Cecchinato

Mamma and Filippo are back! I've been lucky to have dined here a dozen times already and each time is a special treat for me.  The dishes are real and authentic, made from Mamma's heart. She serves simple, yet elegantly tasteful Italian dishes that takes me back to Italy.  The pastas here are homemade and it makes a huge difference. There are just too many wonderful dishes to name here....and the specials are amazing too.

The place has a traditional European homey feel with the nostalgic photographs of Mamma and her family on the wall. I like how the restaurant's decor is simple because it helps us appreciate what really shines here:  Mamma's cooking!

Happy Cristina...and Mamma stepping out of the kitchen to greet her customers.

Here's fresh bread with daily homemade spicy marinara sauce. The selection of breads have been different each time I come here. 

Tagliere di Formaggi (15.25) - a selection of imported Italian cheeses, truffle honey and wine jelly
A nice presentation of 3 different kinds of cheeses, olives, artichokes, grape tomatoes, and arugula.  And the truffle honey and wine jelly are excellent touches to finish the goodness. I especially enjoyed the truffle honey on the cheeses. 

Burrata Felice (13.95) - Di Stefano Burrata with organic eggplant and heirloom tomatoes
Eaten all together, this taste so fresh and light. The burrata is soft, light and creamy that works wonders in your mouth with the the eggplant and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil.

Gorgonzola Salad (8.95) - baby wild arugula, caramelized walnuts, brown pear, imported gorgonzola
A very light and refreshing salad. When eaten together in one bite, you'll find it very tasty with all the different textures and flavors from the pears and walnuts and gorgonzola.


Artichoke Soup (special of the day)
Mamma is starting to do soups now which are comforting and satisfying.  The soup hits the spot on a cold day with its creaminess and flavors of the caramelized onions and artichokes.

Fried squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese (special of the day)
The cheese was surprisingly mild and went well with the lightly battered squash blossoms and zucchini. A very interesting concept. 

Bacon wrapped scallops (special of the day)
The scallops were nicely cooked and the bacon had a wonderful caramelized crisp.

Reginette della Mamma (16.25) - cream sauce, guanciale, sausage and Treviso radicchio
This dish reminds me of homecooked comfort food. The guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon) and the sausage really adds to the flavor, making it really hearty and tasty.

Linguine al Pomodoro (12.25) - linguine with fresh tomato sauce
Sometimes you're in the mood for just simple, no nonsense homemade pasta and fresh tomato sauce. Each bite is just so satisfying.

Linguine alla Cristina (12.95) - linguine with spicy tomato sauce
And this one has a bit of that spicy kick to it. Very fresh and delicious!

 Trenette Nere alla Bottarga (17.95) - black squid ink trenette, organic cherry tomatoes, shrimp and bottarga
Another special dish of Mamma's.  This whole dish represents the sea. There's plump shrimp, bottarga (which is Mediterranean cured roe) and black squid ink pasta.  The homemade pasta has a light and nice "ocean" taste to it.

Gnocchi del Boscaiolo (14.75) - cream sauce, baby green peas, ham and white mushrooms
This is my absolute favorite dish!! A heaven's delight... Seriously, it's a soft, pillowy cloud that just...melts...in your mouth.  And the cream sauce with the mushrooms, peas and ham complements each other so well. I can't even describe how good this dish is. I have also ordered gnocchi with the pink vodka sauce which I also recommend.  My mouth is watering just writing this description.

Gnocchi with artichoke cream sauce and pancetta (special of the day) 
Again, I can't reiterate enough how wonderful Mamma's gnocchi are.  The artichoke cream sauce just helps the gnocchi melt in your mouth...

Linguine with pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes (special of the day)
This pasta dish was very light and tasty with the pesto sauce and fresh tomatoes. The pasta was cooked al dente and the portions were just right also (no need for a huge sized portion when there are so many other dishes to try)

Lauriano Pizza (14.75) tomato sauce/mozzarella/parma/prosciutto/ricotta/arugula
The pizzas at Osteria Mamma are just another species.  They have the right balance of sauce, mozzarella and the other ingredients. Here, the Lauriano pizza is quite flavorful.  The prosciutto balances the arugula so well.  And the dough is light and crispy that just makes me want to eat another slice too many! 

And as for desserts, the panna cotta and tiramisu are my favorites.  The texture of the panna cota is smooth and creamy and has just the right amount of sweetness complemented by the berries and berry sauce.  I'm not a tiramisu person at all, but when I took my first bite of the tiramisu, I couldn't get enough of it.  It was fluffy and not heavy or too sweet. 

I don't think I can ever get tired of Mamma's food.  The flavorings of each dish are wonderfully put together. Each time I eat here, I feel like it's a new experience.  The pastas and pizzas are just mouth watering.  And the people running this restaurant are friendly and heartwarming.  I definitely walk out of here with a big smile and hoping to come back soon. 

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