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Mama Mia's Trattoria: A mid-price alternative in downtown Portland

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It was one of those chilly spring nights in Portland. We had visited the Portland Art Museum and decided, after viewing the Venice exhibit, that we were in the mood for Italian food. We headed downtown and found parking.

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Mama Mia's, housed in a beautiful historic iron fronted building, was ablaze with lights from their crystal chandeliers and mirrors. It was a welcoming sight. They are located in the historic Waldo Building (formerly Elephant and Castle Pub), built in 1886. It is on a busy corner at the intersection of SW Washington Street and 2nd Avenue.

We entered and the hospitality they are known for was immediately evident. Our requests were taken and we were seated at the bar for a brief 10 minutes before being shown to our table.

The wait staff was very accommodating as we requested separate checks and, of course, had questions about the menu. The wine list was adequate and listed both domestic and Italian wines. You can even bring your own wine for a corkage fee.

We enjoyed traditional Caesar salads, scallopini, Pizza Margherita, the lasagna special, garlic bread and beverages. Service was timely. We savored the comfort food. Perhaps the lasagna was a bit heavy but on a chilly night, it hit the spot. Compliments came from everyone in our party... unusual given that we have such a variety of preferences.

Mama Mia's takes pride in their daily, freshly made pastas, mozzarella cheese, and homemade desserts. They even make Italian ice cream and sorbet daily. Locally sourced ingredients are used whenever possible.

We enjoyed the decor, the crystal chandeliers and chatted until it was almost time for closing.

I highly recommend Mama Mia's for a reasonably priced downtown restaurant. Families would feel comfortable there as well as dating couples.

Before you go, consider their free VIP Club. You can register online and will receive a $15 coupon for your next visit and free corkage on your first bottle of wine. A pretty good deal!

In this time of ultra-creative chefs and techniques like "molecular gastronomy," sometimes what you really want is a little bit of old-fashioned comfort food. Mama Mia's brings you that along with excellent service.

439 SW 2nd Ave in Downtown Portland Oregon, 97204


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