Ask anyone who has lived in Charlotte for any significant length of time where the best place to get Italian is and they’ll probably tell you “Mama Ricotta’s.” Even if they’ve never been there (like I hadn’t) they will probably have heard good things about it. Mama Ricotta’s is pretty much a Charlotte institution, one of those restaurants that only has one location, that grew up with the town that it’s in.
Below, you can see one of the many published accolades for Mama Ricotta’s:
While Indian food is generally my favorite, I grew up with Italian dishes, and the familiarity of those flavors (fennel, oregano, basil, balsamic, etc) will always translate to ‘comfort’ food for me. But I don’t enjoy just any Italian food, for instance, I find gloppy Alfredo sauce repulsive and sugary marinara intolerable. And yeah, I kind of despise the food at The Olive Garden, if that makes me ‘elitist’ then I guess I’m elitist. Whatever.
But everyone and their mom just goes crazy for Mama Ricotta’s, so I was really stoked to try it out!!
Service: The service at Mama Ricotta’s was excellent. My mom and I had a very charming and attentive waiter. We did not have to wait long for his attention, yet he was not constantly pestering us about how we were feeling (you know that type of waiter who is always stopping by to ask how things are, as if any major shifts could take place in the span of the 5 minute intervals in which the fool in question is absent).
When we were seated bread and olive oil were brought to us. It was alright. The bread consisted of a basket of very soft garlic bread rolls, which I thought were a bit juvenile for a place like Mama Ricotta’s, though it is a family friendly place. Also, as the bread rolls were so buttery by themselves, it seemed redundant to dip them in the olive oil. I much would have preferred a plain Italian bread or that delightful rosemary bread the Macaroni Grills offers (see I’m not always so elitist!)
Food: I was the most excited about ordering the goat cheese and mascarpone appetizer, as I have a passionate and undying love for goat cheese. In this appetizer, the goat cheese and mascarpone are whipped together and enrobed in a marinera sauce. The description said it would be served with the house-made toasted crostini.
Once again I was left slightly disappointed by the bread,as when I think of crostini, I think of a smaller, crunchier, more crispy piece of bread. Inside what was provided was more reminiscent to me of Texas Toast. But the bread was very good for the soft sort that it was. Though I actually would’ve been happier with some cracked black pepper Triscuits.
In any case, the goat cheese mascarpone dip was amazing! My mom and I couldn’t stop eating it. It was light, mild, flavorful, fresh, and fluffy. I would certainly order it again! Delicious!
For her entrée, my mom ordered some concoction of arugula and veal. I honestly can’t remember what else it consisted of, but my mom loved it, as did my brother, who inhaled the leftovers the next day.
I can’t tell you what I thought of it as I don’t eat veal (I tried it once and was not blown away, and I get depressed about eating baby cows, plus it never looks appetizing to me, and I hate the why the word ‘veal’ sounds/looks, which I admit is a bit neurotic).
I ordered the Sicilian roasted red pepper salad and added shrimp as my optional protein. I was very into all this salad offered, as I love pine nuts and red peppers. I also wanted it because it came with some slices of the homemade mozzarella, and I just can’t get enough mozzarella in my life. The fact that I could add shrimp just sealed the deal.
Overall I loved this salad and would get it again. The best parts were the mozzarella and the shrimp. I cannot praise the shrimp enough, they were so delicious, I could’ve eaten double the amount!!
The mozzarella was very tasty, the only problem was they only put 2 medium-sized halves on the salad (it comes with more of that soft ‘crostini’). I could’ve used at least one more piece of the mozzarella, for sure.
While I did order an espresso, and my mom ordered a cappuccino, neither of us bothered with dessert. I’d had high hopes that a there would be a cannoli option on the menu, and when I found that there wasn’t I lost all and any interest in dessert. My mom said all she felt like was a small plate of cookies, which usually is never on a dessert menu (sadly).
They did have things like tiramisu and cheesecake, the most interesting thing being a Nutella pie, which I might’ve ordered had it not been blended with peanut butter. Don’t get me wrong, I love peanut butter, but I just don’t really like it with Nutella as I feel it competes too much with the hazelnut flavor that I love so much in Nutella.
The coffee was very good though! The foam on the cappuccino was fabulous!
Overall Rating: I would certainly go back to this place, as the food and the service were both very pleasant and friendly. It was also a comfortable place to sit, relax, and talk. 4 out of 5 stars. I just wish the bread was better.
If You Wanna Go: Click here to be directed to their website!
see you next entry!
Madeline aka The Hopeful Hestia