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“Dinner at Mama Louisa is a can't miss”

Mamma Luisa Restaurant
Ranked #16 of 235 Restaurants in Newport
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$25
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Hartford, Connecticut
2 reviews
“Dinner at Mama Louisa is a can't miss”
Reviewed 2 June 2014

Absolutely delicious meal. Very authentic italian. Carpaccio and Veal saltimbocca was fantactic. Next trip to Newport will include this restaurant. Service was excellent.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Betty M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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497 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    313
    112
    47
    11
    14
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Connecticut
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Just good, not great”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Encouraged by its good reviews on Trip Advisor, I visited Mama Luisa Italian Restaurant in Newport with my wife, on May 21, 2014 during early dinner service.

I was surprised to find that the restaurant feels tired and cramped with two separate small dining areas. We were seated on the lower dining area in front of a window. Our server was somewhat nervous describing the menu and later admitted that he forgot items on the Specials menu. To his credit, he interpreted our requests well and suggested Spaghetti Carbonara to my wife and Penne Pastore to me. He described how the Pastore sauce was made, demonstrating some knowledge and passion for cooking.

Twice, first while taking our orders and later, while waiting for our food, our server suggested a bottle of wine, a bit emphatically, to the point where I almost felt embarrassed for not ordering it. He repeated the offer a third time when our dishes came out, and only stopped when he finally got it, that we were not going to order wine. We felt uncomfortable with the hard sell.

During the interim, we were presented a small basket of fresh baked bread accompanied by a bare and caped bottle of (good quality) olive oil for dipping our bread in. I noticed that upon receiving theirs, a patron sitting at the next table exclaimed out loud, "where do they serve oil in a bare plain bottle?". That was my sentiment as well. One may do this at home, but in a ‘good’ restaurant? –What is that, cheap presentation?

The food was Good. --with a capital G. --Not exquisite, nor superb, nor fantastic, but indeed good to very good. The Pastore sauce was crafted by an experienced cook. It had the layers of flavor described previously by our server; it also had character, and complexity. The pasta was cooked to perfection in Italian 'doneness' tradition. My wife liked her dish as much. Whereas I complimented the balance between tanginess and sweetness in the red sauce, she complimented the balance between cheesy and pancetta flavors in her's. I agreed. However, we noted that the portions were modest, just enough. Not a bit more. Not generous at all. I made a mental note: “Don’t come to this restaurant hungry for a hearty Italian meal"

We declined deserts after the meal, but ordered espressos instead. These were good, and plain; unadorned, without the traditional mini biscotti, the lemon twist, sugar cubes, or the crystallized sugar stirrer. I made another mental note: “Plain -NO FRILLS. -There is no wowing of the customer with any extras here; -no show of Italian generosity.”

Throughout the meal I became increasingly disappointed by a vague feeling which formed clearly in my mind after leaving the restaurant. The disappointment came from the combination of several factors; the small portion, the sloppy wrapping of the bread in an old, discolored, and fuzzy cloth, the tired homey appearance of the interiors, the cheap furnishings, the hard sell of overpriced wine, the bare capped olive-oil bottle, and the bare espresso. Those attributes clearly defined a restaurant, which, while serving good Italian food, lacks generosity and heart. -That is called stinginess.

My final mental note: "Great Italian food has to have Heart. That means shop the best ingredients to create great flavor and work hard to create good structure. This, in order to convey that which is at the base and center -the heart and essence- of Italian cuisine: GENEROSITY.

I did not experience Mama Luisa Italian Restaurant’s heart.

Next time, read my mental notes.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank J L P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Massapequa, New York, Usa
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent experience”
Reviewed 24 May 2014

My husband and I decided to visit Newport to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. My husband asked around and was told this is the best Italian restaurant in Newport. It is by the far the best I have had anywhere. We were greeted by friendly staff, who sat us upstairs by the window. From start to finish, we enjoyed every mouthful.

The restaurant is off the beaten track, down at the other end of Thames, away from all the touristy things. We didn't have a problem parking, although I can see where it may be a problem.

I highly recommend this if you want great food at a reasonable price.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Heidi C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
87 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Italy in Newport”
Reviewed 18 May 2014 via mobile

Nice two story house made into a restaurant on Thames far enough down from the busy busy area. Dining rooms are 5 tables in each in a very intimate setting. You actually talk to other diners. Now about the food. Could not have been better. Had a sautéed shrimp and scallop pasta dish and my bride had butternut squash ravioli. Both dishes and service were excellent

Helpful?
2 Thank Lameass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
288 reviews
139 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
“Fabulous”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

We made dinner reservations here on a Saturday night, while in Newport visiting the mansions. Please be aware that if you call to make reservations for a Saturday night, they do take your credit card to hold the spot.

Nonetheless, parking does stink, but there is a little parking lot in the back of the restaurant if you are driving. Quaint little home converted to house this restaurant. Very old world feel. We were seated in the dining room to the left of the stairs. Tight and cozy quarters, so please don't speak too loudly. Our waitress was a doll. We had the pesto and mozzarella appetizer which was killer! Not to mention the fabulous fresh and hot bread. For dinner we had spaghetti with marinara sauce and their special of whole wheat fusilli with sausage, sweet peppers and onions. I felt like I was home with my own mom cooking in the kitchen. Hard to please a real Italian but they managed to impress me!

While too full for dessert, I can tell you that every one of those cakes looked amazing, wish I had saved some room. Not too pricey either, but even so, still worth it. Two people with app, dinner and some wine, under $75.00 before tip. You will love it here, we did!

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CFS16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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