Eatery - Mama D's Italian Kitchen (CA)

3012 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Italian

I wanted to take a friend out for her birthday, and she suggested that we use the Yelp deal she got for $30 for $60 worth of food for Mama D's. I saw that the place got great ratings, and I'm always one for trying new places. I got there first and noticed that the parking situation was tiny but there was complimentary valet parking for the restaurant, so I left my vehicle to the hands of people I didn't know (valet's a strange concept sometimes...). My friend and her sister were still driving, so I put my name down first and waited outside for them. The staff gave me some bread while I waited - delicious! Then they told me I ought to sit down and pretend the rest of my group was in the bathroom or something because they were expecting a heavy dinner rush (it was a Friday night). That was nice of them to seat me first!

When my friends finally got there, we proceeded to get two appetizers to stuff ourselves after the bread. The bread, by the way, was excellent and garlicky as well as the garlic-infused oil they gave us. So anyhow, our first appetizer was the bruschetta. Interestingly, they had melted the mozzarella onto the bread. I only had one because I had just recently gotten over food poisoning so wanted to keep my tender stomach away from too much dairy but it was delicious. The tomatoes were fresh and the bread crisp. Not sure how it would've tasted cold though. Our other appetizer was the calamari. Oh my was that delicious. I'd put it in the top three dishes of calamari I've had for its crunchiness, good amount of seasoning, texture of the squid, and abundance.

My dish itself was one of the specials, the Pasta Puttanesca. I know everyone raves about the pink sauce but I was trying to stay away from dairy (which I'm sure is in the pink sauce since it's creamy). This entree I got was in the fra diovoli sauce; I had it with angel hair pasta and it was tossed with mushrooms, capers, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and olives. They're pretty much all of my favorite things. The sauce had a nice kick to it (the waitress had already told me there would be a tad bit of heat), and everything tasted so fresh. Loved it!

We couldn't finish everything so took some home. The staff wrote some funny messages on our boxes which is awesome. Our waitress was so kind - she made an effort to get to know our names and chatted us up often despite how busy everything was. Thanks Jodie for making our night splendid!