Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant

Food doesn’t always need to be ‘authentic’ to hit the spot. Our attachment to Mamma Mia in Mission Bay comes more from shared memory than what the sticklers of this world would tell you Carbonara and pizza should be like from an Italian Restaurant. This is the place  we frequented when we were first dating and where I met Mrs Peckish’s family (the Pekings) for the first time. In fact, all those years ago, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and as I walked past our waiter he gave me a knowing wink and said quietly “You’re in.” On this trip he was our waiter again and said long time no see, you guys must be busy. It’s that kind of place.

That said, we have a pretty standard order, Calamari, Carbonara, and a Special Pizza, small or medium depending on the appetite. I’ve tried to partake in the other pastas on the menu, but I’d rather have one of my own homemade jobs. Really, the reason why we come is the Carbonara.

We find plenty of charm in the calamari though. The batter has a delicate but assured touch, and the aioli pairs well. I’m always tempted to order it in the mains size rather than the entrée size.


Mamma Mia have a sign outside that says to beware, because their pizzas are habit forming. Be aware of the crust, as I imagine that will determine much of how you feel about their pizza. It’s thin along the base, becoming thick at the edges, so there’s a bit of soft doughy chew with a bit of crisp golden crunch. Generous topping is more the emphasis rather than really punchy defined flavours that you can easily separate. Subsequently the tomato base isn’t especially saucy. So if you like your pizza napoletana, or you like thin and crispy, this might not be your style, but if you prefer something in the middle with lots of topping, you’ll be right at home.


Similarly, the Carbonara isn’t going to please any purists, but for anyone with impure food thoughts, there’s still something to enjoy here. The six families of ham, mushroom, garlic, oregano, egg and parmagiano have sat down to hammer out a powerful alliance with the pasta for your taste buds. At $26 (or $18 takeaway), it’s certainly protection racket pricing, but it’s a proposition we find difficult to refuse.


This place is kid friendly, and kid popular, there were several groups of young kids who passed as we ate and nagged their parents for some Mamma Mia, even just a little takeaway. Which is probably a good way to try this place out. Pay a little less, and take the food across the road to the park and eat by the sea and watch the crowds pass by.

24 thoughts on “Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant

  1. Sometimes I am tired of food snobs who keep complaining that this or that is not authentic. I am only bothered if the place claims to serve authentic food but in fact they don’t. When something tastes good, it’s good. Period.

    1. I know right? Especially in a food review where sometimes they’ll spend half the article talking about their last trip to Italy instead of actually talking about the restaurant’s food.

  2. The calamari looks sick. Large ring sizes, but not too thick, and generously peppered? Oh, my. The pizza and carbonara look good too—pasta snobs, go home!

    Welp, if I’m ever down below in NZ I’ll definitely have to pop by Mamma Mia. They should give you both a meal on the house for PR-ing their place, what.

    1. Haha, I love talking up people I think are cool and I’m prepared to spend my money on. Just like if you ever decided to write a cookbook, I’d probably have a post a week showing the latest thing I’d tried (probably starting with the cookies for me, and the pasta for Mrs P. She had a good look and food lust through your blog yesterday) and a link to Amazon where people could buy it for themselves.

  3. That carbonara looks great. Its one of my favourite dishes to make but somehow mine turns out rather un-photogenic. Am still debating to myself should I put up the pictures that make it look like an omelette, or the gooey yucky looking thing? Or none of the above? Anyway, thanks for sharing the cute story for The Peckish’s attachment to this restaurant, so sweet 🙂

      1. I thought I’d update you that today I thought of a way that I could photograph my carbonara next time without it looking like spew… if I sprinkle parmesan cheese on top it should mattify the shininess. I’ll try it next time.

      2. That’s a good idea. I need to get around to making your sausage pasta again and trying to make that look a little more photogenic.That was really tasty and fuss free.

  4. La cucina preferita éproprio quella Italiana per me…Il primo piatto non mi sembra buono xche mi fa senso che è molto grasso , ma la terza posso quasi sentire il giusto!!! 🙂

  5. Great review. I love how you describe the pizza and the pasta.

    $26 is quite steep for a pasta and I am certainly one of those people who habour impure thoughts on food. Authentic is nice to try, but if it’s yum, I’ll eat it. But I can’t help but wonder when I’m chowing down on an expensive pasta: “Could I make a bigger batch of this at home for less?”

    1. That’s really the trade off, and I hope that came across. We have a lot of nostalgia for the place, and I cook less pasta at home these days to try to stay away from grains except when we go out for a meal. So that definitely factors in our decision to go.

  6. That calimari looks perfect! And the carbonara haha yes delicious indeed. Nothing worse than a pasta snob. I’m definitely a thin based pizza lover at heart but that ridiculously tasty thing looks like I should definitely hop the fence for a little bit.

    1. If you’re Italian and picky I couldn’t wholeheartedly recommend it to you. There are several options along that strip and one of the others might suit you more. But really, I think the options in the city will probably be more to your exacting standards.

    1. Not even guanciale, it’s pretty much just regular ham and mushroom. You’re also paying for the rent on the place, which is right on the waterfront at the most popular stretch.

      What can I say? Tastes like our early dating years.

  7. Forgive me, I don’t remember us dating but I do suffer from memory loss so who knows! I think you’re paying for location, location, location and nothing else as the ingredients cost nothing. Mushrooms????

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