Located in Henrietta (Rochester), NY, Mamma G’s Ristorante Italiano occupies the former location of Infantino’s Market Restaurant (and Friendly’s before that) not far from the intersection of E. Henrietta Road and Jefferson Road, near Calkins Road. It is easily visible from the street, thanks to a large post sign displaying their red and green logo.
Parking is plentiful and conveniently available in a private lot next to the restaurant. A small asphalt ramp to the front walkway enables easy handicap accessibility from the parking lot. Because it is on a busy road near the 390 expressway and interstate 90, exiting the restaurant to the left can be tricky.
The entrance to Mamma G’s includes a small vestibule with an additional interior door, which keeps out the wind on a chilly day. I noticed that the entry alcove is outfitted with a ceiling heater, which blew warm air on us as we entered and exited – a nice touch on a chilly, late winter afternoon.
We were greeted promptly upon our entry, but there wasn’t a true host/hostess stand. The first thing I noticed upon entering the restaurant was the open work area in the center of the dining room, facing the entrance. In this multi-purpose area, the host greets guests, and the servers prepare salads, fill beverage glasses and plate desserts.
Perhaps a row of strategically placed plants or mini-privacy screens could enclose this work space, preventing diners from viewing these behind-the-scenes type of activities. Honestly, this open layout was rather distracting.
At the back of that same open work area, the servers communicate with the chef through a small service window. Neither the kitchen nor the chef were easily visible from the dining room, as is often seen in “open style” restaurants.
Seating consisted of a mix of booths and tables and chairs. Booths lined the perimeter of the dining room, while tables and chairs dotted the rest of the landscape.
The flooring in the open work area appeared to be a beige laminate. The dining room floor, however, was outfitted with a forest green carpet in a nondescript pattern. The walls were painted a lighter shade of green, while the darker green upholstery on the booths and chairs matched the carpet.
From our table, I could see that Mamma G’s offered a self-service coat rack in a hallway in the back of the restaurant. Strangely, it was situated directly across from the restrooms, which is an unfortunate placement. I would have expected a coat rack to be near the exit, so customers would be reminded that they hung their coat there, as they passed by it on their way out.
The lunch menu at Mamma G’s included several sections, some of which were labeled in Italian. It included appetizers, Prima Piatti (meaning “before the meal/course”)i, Risotti (meaning Risotto), 2nd Piatti (meaning “Second meal/course”), Salads, Soups and Desserts. Soups were offered in both a bowl ($8) or a cup ($5), which seemed a little above the average soup price for the area. We were also given a separate Panini Menu, which I assumed was specific to the lunch crowd. It included five panini options, ranging in price from $5-$10.
Our waitress expertly recited several lunch and dessert specials, with great detail. However, I would have liked to read the specials either on a menu board at the entrance or on a printed daily menu at the table.
Our server quickly brought us a basket of sliced, home-made Italian bread, which I thought was a nice touch for a lunch service. It was fresh and crusty, and it didn’t last long – we quickly gobbled it up.
On this lunch visit, I was interested in trying Mamma G’s pasta, so I ordered one of the lunch specials – Linguine with Green Peppers and Clams. I added on a Garden Salad with Italian Dressing, all for $15. I was happy to have linguine which was not drowned in a heavy, cheesy cream sauce. Instead, this linguine (which appeared to be home-made, although I did not confirm this), was tossed with a silky sauce of earthy olive oil, tender clams and diced green peppers. Halved cherry tomatoes added a splash of acidity and color. The linguine was cooked perfectly al dente and the plump and flavorful chopped clams clung to it nicely. Seasoned just right, I really enjoyed this dish. It made me realize how much I miss a hot lunch, as opposed to a deli sandwich or big salad.
My garden salad was fresh and crisp. It contained a variety of salad greens, as well as halved cherry tomatoes, a few slices of cucumber and a handful of croutons. I noticed that our server added salt to the salad as she prepared it. I prefer not to have added salt in my food, as I have become used to a low-salt diet over the years. The Italian dressing was zesty, but I found the salad to be a bit overdressed. I would have consumed less dressing if it had been on the side, as I had ordered it. Still, I enjoyed the salad.
My lunch companion ordered off of the Panini Menu; she ordered a Panino con Pepperoni and Uova, which is a scrambled egg and green pepper panini sandwich. Instead of french fries, she opted for a medley of grilled zucchini and eggplant. All of this for only $7.00 – what a great lunch value!
She remarked that this meatless menu choice was perfect for a Lenten Friday lunch. Not only did she enjoy the panini, with its flavorful peppers, but she also said that the side of grilled zucchini and eggplant was the best grilled veggies she had ever eaten. I was impressed with that revelation. I agree that the veggies looked delightful, with their inviting grill marks and perfect amount of blackened char. She said that they were cooked well, in that they were not crunchy or crisp. Instead, they were gently pliable.
I don’t usually have dessert with lunch, but I couldn’t resist the home-made zeppoli. Zeppoli are an Italian pastry, traditionally consisting of a deep-fried dough ball, filled with a custard, jelly or a similar filling, and topped with powdered sugar. Mamma G’s zeppoli were light and airy, filled with a creamy custard and topped with whipped cream, and a dollop of blueberry sauce. A little larger than usual, this dessert was an extra treat priced at only $3.50 each.
Just when we thought that the sweet treats were done, our server delivered two freshly baked almond biscotti, alongside our lunch check. They were starting to sell them and she wanted us to give them a try Hey, that’s so much better than the fresh orange slices or packaged fortune cookies you get with your check at many Asian restaurants!
My lunch companion said that the biscotti were baked twice, giving them an extra crunch. They would most certainly be perfect for dipping into a hot cup of coffee. However, they were tasty on their own as well, loaded with almonds.
We were happy with the service at Mamma G’s Ristorante Italiano. We were greeted and seated promptly, and with a friendly smile. The host (whom I think is also the owner) showed us to our table and politely described the specials for the day. He is a soft-spoken person, causing us to learn in and concentrate on his words – he is obviously passionate about the food.
When our server saw that I was twirling my linguine with a fork and a teaspoon, she quickly brought over a tablespoon. Interestingly, the host offered me a tablespoon just a minute later, then realizing that the situation had already been rectified! Both the host and the server checked on us during lunch, refilling our water and offering a refill of our bread basket. Also, my friend liked their flexibility in substituting grilled vegetables for the french fries – and at no extra charge.
Other than my salad being served dressed, rather than with the dressing on the side, I have no complaints about the service.
This was an enjoyable lunch outing. We were very happy with our food, the service and the staff’s friendly and welcoming attitude. Mamma G’s Ristorante Italiano is suitable for casual lunch or dinner with your family, co-workers or friends. With the look of a casual family restaurant and the food of a more formal Italian eatery, it offers the best of both worlds. I would like to go back to try Mamma G’s tomato sauce – perhaps a dinner visit is in order.
If you go:
Mamma G’s Ristorante Italiano
2133 East Henrietta Rd
Rochester, NY 1462
Website: unable to find a website at this time
Email: unable to find an email address
Business Hours: Mon: Closed, Tues-Thurs: 11 am – 9 pm, Fri-Sun: 11 am – 10 pm
Meals Served: Lunch, Dinner
Children’s Menu: No
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Requires Reservations: No
Table Service: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Not that I saw
Parking: Free and plentiful in a private lot
Valet Service: No
Bar Seating: No
Coat Check: No, but available self-serve coat rack
Date opened: February, 2015
Date visited: Friday, March 20, 2015 (lunch)