mama mia trattoria brunch
Mama Mia's dining room.

Make no mistake: Portland has regional Italian food down. Want authentic Piedmontese? Head to Coppia. Hankering for Neapolitan Pizza? Take your pick of a whole host of spots from Nostrana to Via Tribunali. Regional Italian with a white tablecloth? Genoa's your stop. But our options for great Italian American food can be a bit harder to come by, and one outpost serving classics like manicotti, lasagna, and spaghetti and meatballs has recently risen to the top of the pack.

With a new owner, redesigned dining room, and a revitalized dedication to quality ingredients and handmade preparation, Mama Mia Trattoria has your Sunday graving cravings covered at the west end of the Morrison Bridge. 

In addition to making everything from mozzarella to ice cream in house, sourcing top-shelf meat and produce, and swapping the pre-grated Parm on the table for fresh Pecorino Romano from Sardinia, father-son owners Barry and Jared Brown are offering a new happy hour that you really shouldn't miss. What’s the draw? A long list of classic Italian American bites available nightly, priced between $2 and $5, to wash down with picks from a solid wine list.

The cheap eats are available in the restaurant's lounge, newly painted with a warm yellow and modern black, replacing the eatery's former green walls and gilded details. Starting at $2, diners can dig into a bowl of hearty vegetarian minestrone, fresh-baked garlic bread, or Caesar salad (made with Caesar Cardini's apocryphal dressing from the 1920's).

An extra buck will get you a fresh-ground, ultra-beefy 1/3 pound burger, fresh house-made spinach artichoke dip, house-made mozzarella caprese, meatballs topped with Grandma Mary's "Gravy" spiked with plenty of fresh oregano, or manicotti filled with ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan.

For the big spenders, the lasagna of the day, fried housemade mozzarella, calamari, or meatball sub will each set you back a whole $4. Save room for dessert: $3 gets you a damn good ricotta and mascarpone cannoli, and a full-sized slice of amaretto cheesecake or tartufo (housemade chocolate ice cream filled with candied hazelnuts dipped in chocolate ganache) are each just $4. 

Sure, the portions are smaller than Mama Mia'a dinner offerings (save the burger, which is truly the steal of the bunch) but you'd be hard pressed to find more comforting Italian American food made with fresh ingredients at these prices anywhere else in town. Buon appetito, indeed.

Mama Mia Trattoria
439 SW 2nd Ave; 503-295-6464
Happy Hour available Monday through Saturday, 4 pm to 7 pm, and Sunday from 4 pm to 10 pm