Time Out Melbourne

We refuse to use the phrase ‘mama mia’ in this standfirst, which unfortunately limits our options somewhat

The famous Italian family restaurant Mamma Vittoria’s has sat on Smith Street long enough to see a lot of pretenders come and go, and with its rough-hewn stone walls, scattergun approach to art hanging and a soundtrack in the form of barely audible Italian ballads, it is plainly one that does not give a damn for culinary or decorative fads. Named for its owner, of whom a large painting takes pride of place on one wall, it serves traditional wood-fired pizzas, plates of fresh, heavy handmade pasta and hissing cast-iron platters of meat and seafood. The food is accompanied by a range of affordable Italian and Australian wines, most sold by the glass or the bottle. There is also a small selection of Italian desserts which few relatively diners probably get to sample, given the narcotic qualities of a large enough plate of spaghetti. Having shared a calzone, a plate of pasta and a bottle of chianti, your reviewers were virtually face-down in the homemade chilli oil. Sorry, Mamma.

Mamma Vittoria is understandably proud of her baby. In fact, a few nights a week you’ll find the matriarch herself in the restaurant – if you’re lucky you may even find yourself sharing a table with her, trying to wheedle the secret to their famously excellent gnocchi con gorgonzola. You may not get the recipe that way, but Mamma’s does have a pasta cookbook for sale, in which you’re likely to pick up a worthwhile tip or two; directly across the road, Mamma’s brother runs a pasta shop (Pasta Classica, identifiable by the gigantic fork affixed to the front of the building) which sells fresh pasta you can cook at home. If even that sounds a little too involved, delivery and takeaways are available from Mamma’s.

There is a popular function room for hire upstairs, a working fireplace and piano on the ground floor, and an all-around sense of good-fellowship. No wonder Mamma looks so pleased with herself in that painting.

Updated on 29 Jun 2011.

By Una Cruickshank   |  

Mamma Vittoria details

343-345 Smith St, Fitzroy 3065

Telephone 03 9417 5414

Nearby Stations: Victoria Park

Price per person including drinks $51 to $100

Bookings recommended

Open Tue-Sun 5-10.30pm

Mamma Vittoria website

Mamma Vittoria map

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