Mama Mia, a landmark Italian restaurant in Downtown Hollywood, may be more than 25 years old, but everything about it, with the exception of the name, is brand-new.
New owners Alexandra and Cedric Garnier relocated with their five sons from their native France to take over Mama Mia, at 1818 S. Young Circle. The couple hired a new chef and in January introduced new food and cocktail menus, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
"It was kind of a dream to come to live in the United States. We put all our energy, all our lives into this project," said Alexandra Garnier, who has an MBA from the University of South Florida and owned her own food company.
Born into a family of produce retailers, "All my childhood had been about good and fresh food," Garnier said.
The new Mama Mia reflects those same values, with everything from appetizers to desserts prepared on site, on demand, with only the freshest ingredients by Chef Antonio Orilia, who learned how to cook as a child from his Italian grandmother.
"This is traditional Italian food with a new twist and an added French touch," Garnier said.
The new menu features appetizers ($7 to $14) such as polpettes (meatballs) topped with ricotta cheese, calamari fritti, and hot or cold antipasti for two; a variety of salads ($8 to $14); a soup of the day ($7); and pizzas ($10 to $16). Among the dozen pasta selections ($13 to $22) are spaghetti carbonara, fettuccine Alfredo, gnocchi Bolognese, penne alla vodka and lasagne.
Entrées (served with spaghetti, salad or soup; $17 to $35) include chicken or veal Marsala; chicken Francese; pan-seared salmon filet; and eggplant, shrimp or chicken parmigiana. Desserts ($7) include tiramisu and cannoli. A children’s menu with kid-friendly choices is also available.
The bar menu features signature cocktails, wine, beer and appetizers. Enjoy 2-for-1 drinks during happy hour, from 4 to 7 pm Tuesday - Thursday, and 2-for-1 drinks plus a free appetizer from 6 to 10 pm on Fridays.
Entertainment is provided from 6 to 9 pm by acoustic guitarist Eddy Balzola on Fridays and standards singer Jimmy Valentine on Saturdays.
"I want Mama Mia to be involved in the arts scene in Downtown Hollywood," Garnier said.
The restaurant’s prime location on Young Circle, across from the ArtsPark in Hollywood’s historic downtown arts, music and entertainment district, "presented a big potential" when the couple was looking at business opportunities in South Florida, Garnier said.
Mama Mia is open from noon to 10 pm Tuesday - Thursday and noon to 11 pm Friday - Sunday. Takeout service, hotel delivery and catering are available. Mama Mia’s private banquet room can accommodate 20 to 50 guests. For more information, visit MamaMiaHollywoodFL.com or Facebook.com/MamaMiasFL, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 954-923-0555 for reservations or details on daily specials including an Italian buffet on Tuesdays, all-you-can-eat Maine lobsters on Wednesdays, and 2-for-1 dinners on Thursdays.