Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mamma Mia

When I started typing this, these lyrics got stuck in my head:

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando

I hope its stuck in your head too. No, I'm not going to review the play made up of songs from the top Swedish pop group of the seventies and eighties. And no, I'm not going to make the review fit into the lyrics of Dancing Queen or Fernando. I will however, hum this song as I type most of this review. We'll all be begging for some Ace of Base just to get this out of our heads.

On a non ABBA note, there is an Italian/Algerian/Armenian restaurant on the Northeast side of Fort Worth that is worth the trip up Belknap, past the BBQ joint with girls that should wear more clothes and past the taqueria with the cock fight mural. If you're wondering what Italian/Algerian/Armenian means, please review this post (Armenian is a new addition). I still don't think a single Italian person runs a restaurant in America.

There was something in the air that night

Either way, this is your typical neighborhood Italian joint, with a twist. Its at the Race Street/Belknap intersection and its in a flat-iron-esque building. The place isn't officially a flat-iron, but its definitely on the small side of the intersection and the building inside has a great feeling. Well, part of it does - the part by all the windows. The section near the entrance feels like a big chain restaurant with its typical layout. So just ask the nice Armenian for a table by the window.

The stars were bright, Fernando

My wife and I really enjoyed our meal here for two reasons. First, I wanted chicken parmigiana and she wanted spaghetti with meatballs and they came through on both. The CP was thin enough and was cooked nicely. The pasta on the side was nice and I usually hate the pasta on the side. My wife thought the meatballs were well flavored and not too dry. The only complaint came from me and it was that the marinara sauce was a bit too sweet.

Second, the wine was cheap. So cheap that we were able to get a bottle. They have a number of bottles you can get for under $20.

They were shining there for you and me
The bread was good and the service was decent. The marinara sauce salad was decent, but the marinara was still too sweet for me. I know, its tomato vinaigrette, but its just the marinara with a little vinegar mixed in to loosen it up for the salad. This is the biggest scam at Italian/Algerian/Armenian restaurants.

For liberty, Fernando

I prefer Milano's food to the food here, but the total cost was cheaper at Mamma Mia's and I had an inspiration to sing ABBA all night long. So I guess its a draw.

Fernando, check them out and let me know what you think. Its at 3124 E. Belknap in the Fort.

Mamma Mia Italian Grill and Pizza on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

They are Albanian ass-hat

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

I'm not familiar with that region of Albania. Is that the ASSociated Highland Albanian Tribal region? I'm confused.

I guess that last part was necessary in order to impart the fact that it was not just a humorous mistake, but that I am indeed, a hat for the rear.

Please keep comments civil.

Thank you.

Holden said...

Had the pasta sampler the other night from the usual Modo Mio. Love those rolls to sop up the pink sauce!

Anonymous said...

To the first comment: wow...way to use your wit and intellect.

As for the rest of us, we truly appreciate this blog and its continued dedication to informing the public about great places to eat.

Happy eating!

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I am too dense to understand the previous comments but I would like to say that your Abba lyric recall is a bit scary! Is Air Supply next? or maybe Andy Gibb?
keep eating,
loyal reader

Mr. Jose said...

You are so right about most of the Italian restaurants in the DFW area being from Albania... as well as many parts of the former Yugoslavia. It started with Moni's in Arlington, and they are the root system for most of the Italian restaurants in the area.

I mention this phenomena here:

and here:

Here's one independent in Southlake that is NOT from Southeast Europe (owned by a former cop from NYC):

There are a couple of key Italian ones on the Dallas side that I will be writing about in the near future, including my favorite all time Regular Joe's Guide restaurant (more on that later).

Mrs. Jose and I went to Mamma Mia once about a year ago. Love the location, but found the food a bit middle tier. We'll give it another try!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Regular Joe - If I'm in Southlake looking for Italian, I go to one of two places.

Armends - the original white table cloth restaurant in Southlake that is now a casual dining pizzeria/Italian food on FM 1709 (by Taco Bueno). I rate all chicken parmigiana (Italian CFS) compared to this.

The other is Cafe Italia in Grapevine, in the old Egg Roll House building on Northwest Highway, next to People's Bank. It's a classier place thats BYOB and usually has a line outside with people starting the party before going inside.

They also have a Joe's Pizza Pasta and Sub, but who doesn't?

Mr. Jose said...

Yep - been to both Armends and Cafe Italia multiple times. In fact, Cafe Italia now has a second location further south on Hwy 26. It was originally an "overflow" location (because as you noted, the original can have quite a line), with minimal signage but has become a popular destination in its own right, as it's closer to both Southlake and Colleyville, though it technically still sits in Grapevine.

I think both are really fine places as well and plan to write about each eventually. That said, they're also from the Yugo/Albanian family tree, and share similar flavors with most of the Italian restaurants in Tarrant County.

I'm still trying to get a line on the many Joe's around the area. They're not all owned by the same people, but are related. The one in Southlake is considerably better for pizza than the one in Keller for example - though the latter is more formal. And this Joe's is not to be confused with Little Joe's in Keller, which is an offshoot of a Chicago concern (2 locations in the southern Chicago burbs) and I highly recommend FWHITW give it a shot - it's the real deal!

Dustin A said...

My first time seeing this blog, as I read this post I was hoping you had been to Milano's, and here here! Nobody beats Milano's. :-)

I live over by Mamma Mia's, and it is good, but I note them for what they've done to that building more than their food.

As Race St. began to develop the owners took that building from shambles and turned it into the restaurant we know today. I think the neighborhood is in their debt for taking a leap of faith like that. I hope Mamma Mia's survives the hard times of '09 and that they, with Race St., continues to grow.

Anonymous said...

Mamma mias opened a second store in magnolia not sure the adress,

I am glad is close so we dont have to drive that far to belknap for lunch,

plus everytime we went for lunch we had to wait several minutes for table,

thay r so packed for lunch that the owner said that's the reason they opened this location to take the catering and lunch burden from belknap store,

by the way loved what they done with the new place and the food is amaizing,

we are addicted to them

Bill said...

Ok.. so maybe I'm a little late with this but I just went to Mamma Mia's for the first time the other night. I got a HUMONGOUS Calzone that was awesome.

I'm in love.

Kathy C said...

"A hat for the rear" I'm laffing milk outta my nose over that one!

Please please find us the best calzones! I lurve them more than potato chips. thanks for your community service.