There is only one thing to say about good food… go try it! Here, you can’t even describe the flavors, they are so great, words don’t do them justice. But in my humble way, I will try.
On my trip to Italy in 2006, I tried some truly amazing food but when I got back to the U.S. I craved only American food. It was strange but little by little my taste buds started screaming for authentic Italian foods again. Not Italian American, but foods that are indigenous to certain regions that I traveled to. Going to Italy gave me a new perspective, where now I realize the difference between authentic and American Italian cuisine. But how do you get authentic Italian here in North America? Osteria Momma is the answer. You don’t have to travel 15 hours across the globe to get this kind of incredible Italian food because it really doesn’t get any better then this. They have the best Italian products, outrageous Italian wines and…they are right here at home!
Here’s what I tried:
Pappa Al Pomodoro – Tuscan tomato soup with croutons. The croutons are out of this world, great herbs and olive oil. You just need good products to get this one right.
Frittura Mista with fried calamari, shrimp, zucchini and carrots. Very light, this is a very well done traditional Italian appetizer.
Carpaccio di Filetto – Filet Mignon Carpaccio with arugula and Grana Padano cheese. The steak is rare but slightly cooked with the lemon juice; the Grana Padano adds just the right amount of good Italian cheese flavors.
Diversa Italian salami, romaine lettuce, croutons, carrots, Grana Padano and chickpeas in an herbs-mustard-vinegar dressing. I really loved this salad, it is crisp and crunchy, and the real Italian salumi is the best part. There are mustard seeds that add a great nuance as well.
Anagosta Lessata – Lobster Appetizer with salad. The lobster is so fresh and has such great flavor, with a nice raspberry dressing.
Tagliata – grilled and slice premium Angus NY steak served with arugula and Grana Padano cheese. The steak is sliced; it is paired with arugula and Grana Padano cheese. All of these ingredients work so well together. Steak is cooked rare with all of its juices flowing. The arugula and Parmesan salad along side of it refreshes the palate.
Branzino – whole fish served with cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. The fish is light and fluffy, the vegetable is also perfect, glazed in a nice amount of butter olive oil. Just the right amount of seasoning, everything is very fresh.
Arianna with mozzarella, walnuts, speck and truffle oil. This pizza is a stand out, so simple, but amazing ingredients, a good choice.
Berto with mozzarella, tomato sauce, spicy pepperoni and sausage. This is the more traditional pizza and a good find.
Pappardelle Verdi all’Anatra with green spinach pappardelle in duck ragú. Ok, so all of the pasta knocked me out. You just can’t mess with perfection this one is fantastic.
Reginette della Mamma with Cream sauce, guanciale, sausage and Treviso radicchio. I had this the last time I came here, a true winner.
Gnocchi ai Porcini with Light cream sauce, with porcini mushrooms and natural free range Jidori chicken, a stellar accomplishment.
Mushroom Ravioli, this is a house special. The mushroom sauce has so much earthy flavor, it enhances every bite. This was by far my favorite of the night.
Linguine alle Vongole with White wine clam sauce. The clams are plump and pop in your mouth. The clam flavor is so off the hook.
Lasagna Bolognese, layers and layers of great meat sauce with lovely mozzarella cheeses. This dish just melts in your mouth.
Torta di Limone, lemon tart. Very tangy, but with great lemon flavor.
Torta di Choccolate Arance, chocolate tart. So much chocolate in every bite, a chocolates lover’s paradise.
Affagato Vanilla espresso topped with espresso. This dessert was like a coffee milkshake, it went down so smooth.
Here is the wine I tried:
Their wine lists so grand, every region is depicted with a map so you can really see and understand where these wines come form. You can tell their customers really study the wine list.
ProseccoIl Fresco DOC Treviso Pinot Nero-Glera – Villa Sandi, this was good as a starter with the Lobster salad.
Gewurztraminer Aime DOC Sutirol Alto Adige – Girlan 2010, went great with the lobster with all its effervescence.
Pinot Grigio Cupra Ramato DOC Venezia Giulia Atterns 2011, goes great with any sort of dish that has Grana Padano, and went well with the Arianna pizza.
Bramito del Cefvo IGT Umbria 100% Chardonnay – Castello della Sala Antinori 2011. This wine is earthy, the terroir is very different then California, it is older. I would go with the Frittura Mista, it lends a nice flavor to the fried elegance of this dish.
Pallagrello del Ventaglio IGT Terre del Volturno – 100 % Pallagrello – Castello ducale 2010, This wine is grown in Volcanic ash, I liked this wine with the Linguine alle Vongole, it is dry but lively. I also paired this wine with the Branzino.
Sauvignon DOC Isonzo del Friuli – Luisa 2011, I liked this wine with the Diversa Italian salad, the olive oil on the salad worked nicely with this smooth wine.
Prabi IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti Biano – Cesconi 2010, very fragrant so it was perfect with the Mushroom Ravioli.
Lighea Zibibbo IGT Sicilia – Donnafugata, anything with cheese would work good with this wine, these are pre Roman grapes.
Gavi DOCG Gavi Cortese 100% – La Scolca – 2011, I really like this one with the mushroom ravioli as well.
Moscato Fior d’ Arancio, this is a great dessert wine.
DOC Colli Eugenei Vignalta 2010, a great dessert wine as well.
Campofiorin IGT Rosso del Veronese Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara – Masi 2009, this was such a great accompaniment with the Berto pizza.
Rosso di Montalcino DC- Ridolfi 2009, this wine is also a great combo with the Berto Pizza as well.
Merlot DOC Colli Orientali de Friuli catello di Buttrio 2009, very well suited for anything with meat, like the Tagliata.
Pinot Nero Meczan – Hofstatter 2011, this wine paired good with the
Carpaccio di Filetto, as well as the great cheese in this dish.
Cabernet Sauvignon Camul DOC Piave Tonon 2009, the brilliant flavors in the Bolognese sauce in the lasagna were terrific with this wine.
Ciro Rosso Classico DOC San Francesco 2009, this wine worked well with the Pappardelle Verdi all’Anatra, as well as the steak.
The family is all from Padova, which is only a 30-minute ride away from Venice. Momma’s son Filippo, left Italy when he was 26 years old and all of us who dine at the restaurant are the benefactors. Having his business in American has been very fruitful and he doubts he would have been able to have this much success in Italy with their economy in a slump.
Around the east dining room, there is a whole wall dedicated to family photos, Mom, Dad, Grand parents, and what you see gives you a sense of a very loving Italian family. These photos are mounted on simple canvas but if you look closer they are actually acoustic panels which absorb sound and keep the noise level perfect. There are photos of his grand parents from WW2 in1939 with soldiers in the background. Momma’s young, glamorous photo is even on their own brand of olive oil.
The restaurant is in an up and coming Hollywood neighborhood that has many historic craftsmen style houses. The room is so homey and comfortable that combined with the buzzing of happy people, it made my heart sing. The kind of people that eat at Momma’s are families and friends; upscale sunset junction types. I sat next to a table of Japanese ladies who were ordering some great bottles of wine. All of this combined with the music, which was so enchanting – Italian Pop, gives the restaurant a very young vibe.
A chalkboard had each of the days specials on it and they were all so enticing it made it very hard to decide. At the wine bar, all of their fantastic wines are on display in a huge rack that takes up the entire wall behind. The interior is set with classic monochromatic décor. Sand colored tiles work perfectly with café tables and chairs. There are no table clothes which gives an uncomplicated look in order to highlight their main event… food.
Pizzas are generous and good, much like you’d get at a neighborhood pizzeria anywhere in Italy. I’m talking about the kind of place where families, not gourmands following the guidebooks, would go. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, the space understated but inviting.
My waiter added to the great Italian ambiance. Salvatore, who hailed from Viareggio which is coined the Italian Rivera, was charming, knowledgeable and easy on the eyes. So all in all he was a great addition to this wonderful experience.
Mamma Lordenana, Mamma Osteria’s namesake, believes you should never underestimate the power of a home cooked Italian meal. After many years of hard work from her kitchen in Italy, Mamma Loredana decided to share her original recipes with the Los Angeles area. In March of 2010, Mamma Loredana, with the help of her son Filippo and the rest of the family, opened a true and traditional Italian Osteria Mamma.
Mama’s son Fillippo Cortivo, who is an official International Certified Sommelier, runs the day-to-day business with his sister. You can expect a true taste of the Veneto region when you eat at Osteria Mamma. So cozy and inviting, you’ll feel like you’re part of the family. There are also a handful of sidewalk tables out front, perfect for a warm summer night.
Mamma Loredana makes all her own pastas, just as she did at her previous restaurant down the street, La Buca. Most nights Mamma, who used to be quite the vamp in her youth, if the photos on the back wall are any evidence, is in the kitchen.
In all, this place is truly worth every dime and every bite. Not just every day good Italian food; it is out of this world!
5732 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038