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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Portland, OR: Second verse NOT same as the first ... I'm NOT Henry the 8th I am NOT.

Mama Mia Trattoria
439 SW 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
Downtown Portland
Phone number (503) 295-6464
Prices: $$$$

Second visit, not same as the first and I was not nearly as impressed as when I took my youngest son to Mama Mia (see review dated 7/18/2017). Here are the reasons why:

1. When I heard our server was "Kelly", I was quite pleased because of the wonderful service "blonde" Kelly gave us. This Kelly had dark hair and was not nearly as friendly or customer oriented ...
   a. I asked if it was still Happy Hour when she first arrived at our table (5:45PM on Tuesday), but was told that we had to move to the bar five feet away and sit on uncomfortable stools if we wanted to order from the Happy Hour menu. I told her "no thanks". Absurd.
   b. As a member of their VIP Club, we were entitled to "free garlic bread". This Kelly brought one small loaf (between three of us), then told us we would only be getting "regular" bread from that point on (beside the complimentary calamari, Kelly #1 kept bringing garlic bread throughout the meal).
2. The water is still room temperature.
3. They still do not validate parking, so you have to pay outrageous downtown Portland parking rates if you want to dine there.
4. They raised their prices by $2 a pop on the veal dishes - $25.95 for an ala carte dish is pushing it, but $27.95 (the new prices) is NOT a good value.
5. My wife ordered the Penne with Pancetta and Mushrooms ($18 - no soup or salad) and, being Italian born, was not at all impressed. The pasta was obviously not made in-house, was lukewarm, and they had added red bell peppers. She is allergic to tomatoes and does not like anything that resembles tomato in her food. The dish was bland, she did not like it.
6. My son (my oldest this time) ordered the Fettucine Alfredo ($18.95 - no soup or salad), but by the time he added a little (very little) crumbled sausage ($4) and a house salad ($7), the total was close to $30. He liked the flavor, but was not impressed by the serving size for the price.
7. The side of pasta I got with my Veal Marsala was tiny. The veal was flavorful, but, like the pasta, not very hot and not a very good value at $28 ($26 was pushing it).
Bread (no garlic)
Even though Barry, the owner, sent me a very nice note after my first review, he obviously did not take my comments and suggestions to heart because nothing had changed except the prices and the service, both a disappointment.
Fettucine Alfredo with Sausage ($22.95)

Penne Pancetta and Mushrooms ($18)
I found a place in Beaverton (Aloha actually) where the Veal Parmigiana is as good, if not better, than Mama Mia (it is actually spelled "Mamma" Mia by the way Barry) and for $1 less than Mama Mia's old prices ($24.95) you get antipasto, soup AND salad, generous portions of veal and pasta, and spumoni ... now that is a great value!
Veal Scaloppine alla Marsala - $27.95
I do not think we will be going through the hassle of navigating downtown traffic and parking to eat here again any time soon. If they make some changes (Happy Hour is Happy Hour, wherever you sit, lower prices and/or include soup/salad, put ice in the water or at least cool it before serving, etc.), I may consider going back, but I seriously doubt they will. In the interim, we will be driving 37 miles (past Vancouver and Portland) to Aloha to get a decent Italian meal. 

For such a great food town, Portland (and surrounds) is sadly lacking a decent selection of homestyle Italian restaurants, something I hope changes very soon because if someone can figure this out, they will be extremely successful.

CombatCritic Downgrades Mam(m)a Mia To 5 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Five Bombs Equates To:

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Read Chris S.'s review of Mama Mia Trattoria on Yelp

Title:  Portland, OR: Second verse NOT same as the first ... I'm NOT Henry the 8th I am NOT

Key Words: Mama Mia Trattoria, mama mia, mama, mia, trattoria, Portland, downtown, Italian, veal, Italy, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

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