Mama Della's Ristorante, Orlando
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 503 3463
Concierge.com's insider take:
Your friends (especially anyone with Italy in their heritage will call you crazy for suggesting an authentic dinner from the old country at a theme park hotel's restaurant. But the food at Mama Della's Ristorante, inside the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, is so good it's worth tolerating the kitschy tableside appearance of "Mama Della" herself—a theme park character who makes the rounds during dinner, trading ciaos. The restaurant was modeled on a trattoria in Italy, yet the resulting look is more like Nonna's house, with floral wallpaper, antique-looking mirrors, and random family portraits. And just like at Grandma's, don't come here looking for a light meal. Start with the delicious antipasto platter, an authentic spread of prosciutto, soppressata, fontina cheese, and marinated vegetables and olives. The enormous pasta platters are served family-style, and the frutti di mare overflows with fish and shellfish. By the time the group of musicians come around to your table to serenade you with Italian opera, you'll be ordering a round of limoncello and crying out mama mia.—Terry Ward
Open daily 5:30 to 10 pm.