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Mama’s Trattoria – a review

By Joe Canberran - 10 December 2007 5

Most people know of Mama’s Trattoria in Garema Place. I, like a fair number of those people I would assume, haven’t been there for years as resent times have seen numerous other establishments open and I tend to try to go somewhere new when I can. Friday last saw me revisit Mama’s with the following results:


The initial encounter was not promising. It was packed and although that usually indicates quality I often see Starbucks and Macca’s full as well so it isn’t always the case. With a school dance troop or some such performing in Garema Place you couldn’t hear yourself think at the tables outside and so the young waitress seated us at one of the free tables hidden inside around the back corner. It was a little stuffy but a smidgen quieter. Unfortunately that didn’t last as about two minutes later a slightly older waitress came in and moved us as apparently those tables were not being used as the tables out the front had taken them to their load limit.

After having the three of us moved to a tiny two seater table we then, when attempting to order, were informed by the young waitress that initially mis-seated that she only took drinks orders. 10 minutes later we eventually got the attention of the waitress that re-seated us. We were in a bit of a rush hoping to be out by 9 to catch a film. With only 45 minutes left to our deadline I was a little apprehensive that we would be able to make it. With nervous assurance we were told that we “should” get our meals in about half an hour leaving us just enough time if we ate quickly.

Taking our chances we placed our orders and waited for our meals. Waving down the young bloke cleaning the tables we got a bottle of water. 10 minutes later we got glasses. And then cutlery for the third of our party.

People started to thin out inside and a table for three became free which we promptly pinched.

Then came dinner. Arriving in about half the time our fearful waitress predicted we ended up having time to spare. Now it’s hard to impress me with Italian. I was brought up in a family were Italian food was a staple and there are just so many good Italian, as well as lots of run of the mill ones, in Canberra. Despite my apprehension due to the (lack of) service the meals were great. Only having mains due to our rush (well garlic and olive tapenade breads as well) I was well impressed. I had a creamy bacon tortellini. Not watery, no too heavy, smooth flavour. I scoffed, cleaning the glaze off my bowl with the last of the bread. My companion had a peppered beef penne. “Sharing” her dish I generously finished off hers as well. Two very different dishes but both were fantastic. My final dining companion had a prawn scaloppini. By all accounts it too was magnificent and I had to take his word for it as he, much like me and mine, devoured every last morsel.

Finishing the experience with the phone line for my credit card payment being interrupted by a phone call and having to be redone it was, all and all, a great meal. The staff, when located, were very nice abet inexperienced, overworked and rushed off their feet.

Cost was about $15 a pasta main.

Mama’s Trattoria is in Garema Place and is open 7 days. Phone – 0262480936.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Mama’s Trattoria – a review
Fletcher123 4:08 pm 11 Dec 07

A good post. Can’t say I’ve eaten there for about 4 years, but my experiences there (since the mid 80’s have all been similar. Good, solid Italian fare, reasonably priced, evened out by a really long wait and slightly dodgy service. All part of the experience…

lisagrace 9:00 am 11 Dec 07

Mama’s is one of my favourite Italian restaraunts in Canberra, I agree the service can be a bit cr@p, but the meals are very tasty and very big for what you pay! and on a ablmy summer night when they have bands playing in garema place its awesome to sit outside with a glass of wine, some good pasta and good company – love it 🙂

Ingeegoodbee 7:28 am 11 Dec 07

Sounds like the kitchen at Mama’s has lifted it’s game. Service still seems the same.

Eyes 11:54 pm 10 Dec 07

I take it the prawn scaloppini did not finish off your companion.

ant 10:38 pm 10 Dec 07

Wow, this place is still open? Your review was good, my mouth is watering. I like good Italian, I steal the recipes (where I can), from the taste. Takes some hit or miss, but you get there in the end.

I’m glad it’s still open though, it was very populr in the 80s.

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