You might think the best Italian restaurant in America would sit in a famous area like New York’s Little Italy, but you’d be wrong, according to Yelp.
In Yelp’s list of the highest-rated restaurants in the US, the top spot actually belongs to Mama D’s Italian Kitchen, a family establishment in the sunny town of Newport Beach, California. Though to be fair to New York, Mama D herself is actually from there.
According to the founding story, Mama D (Diane Davidson) cooked for her husband and 7 children in New York before moving to California because the family loved the beach so much. That’s when the Davidsons decided to open a restaurant using her Italian grandmother’s classic recipes. There are a few Mama D’s, but the original restaurant in Manhattan Beach opened in 1992, and the Newport location in 2005.
So what should you get at Mama D’s?
For starters, people rave about the stuffed mushrooms, which are filled with seasoned bread crumbs, herbs, and tiny mushroom pieces. If you’re more in the mood for seafood, try the lightly battered calamari. And don’t forget to eat the garlic bread.
“I’d go there to just fill up on the garlic bread,” one Yelp commenter gushed.
For main course and pastas, there are so many to choose from, but the Sausage and Chicken Capri Fra Diavolo, and pink sauce in general, get great reviews (it’s spicy but not overly so). And people seem to favour Mama D’s seafood and meat offerings equally. Both are delicious.
You might not have room for dessert, but if you do, try the tiramisu (“even people at the table that don’t care for tiramisu loved it,” one person said
One tip: get there early. You can expect to wait for an hour if you go there during peak dinner time. And don’t be scared off if you think it’s a tad pricey.
“Prices seem a little high until you realise you’ll almost always be taking home a full meal’s worth of leftovers,” one commenter wrote.