Mamma Luisa

A simple “what’s your favorite restaurant in town”? uncovered Mamma Luisa, a gem I had missed on previous visits. A long time resident somewhat reluctantly revealed this delicious Italian located at the far end of Thames Street in a residential neighborhood.

Opened in 1992 in a former residence, the restaurant has three charming and intimate dining rooms. Although there is no bar, there is an upstairs “waiting” room if your table is not quite ready. The room I dined in was steps down from the entry way and had only 5 tables. Two of them were in small alcoves that looked out onto the street. Gold painted walls adorned with kitchen artifacts and ivy, a single pink rose on the table and crisp linens and tableware created an atmosphere that was at once homey and elegant. With opera playing in the background, candles flickering on the table and wonderful kitchen aromas, the setting is ideal for a special night.

The cooks are all women and most are vegetarians (there’s also a vegetarian menu). As such they understand how to slow roast vegetables and it was evident in my first course, an amazing pasta fagiola, one of the best I have had. Served with hot bread and evoo, it was a great start.

My entree was a grilled veal chop served with a porcini mushroom sauce and rosemary roasted potatoes. The chop, which often comes overdone, was expertly cooked and the mushrooms and rosemary were a delicious and earthy compliment. I skipped dessert, but my server brought some homemade biscotti to enjoy with the rest of my wine.

Speaking of wine, this is a terrific list with mostly Italian choices from the major regions in the country. I enjoyed a delicious Barbera D’Asti “L’Orme” 2003 at only $32. There a few Amarones and Barolos on the list for under $80 which is unusual. Love the Gavis and Orvietos represented and some nice selections from California and Spain.