There are very few places you will eat where you feel like part of the family. I planned an 18 person surprise birthday party for my boyfriend. I had never been to Mama Catena but I trusted the reviews of my fellow Yelpers. From the time I placed the first phone call to Fran to plan the evening to when the last dish was cleared from the table, everything about our experience was flawless. The food is made from scratch and definitely made with love. Both Mama and Papa cooked in the kitchen and came out to talk to everyone in our party when they had a few minutes to spare. Old family pictures line the walls and the dining room only accommodates a maximum of 25 people. The servers went above and beyond to deliver excellent service. I am still amazed that all of us individually ordered off the menu and all of our food came out of the kitchen at the same time and the food was hot. The food is some of the best Italian you will ever have. Highlights are the Involtini, gnocchi, veal saltimbocca, and cazlone. I have eaten at almost every Italian restaurant in Cleveland and it doesn't get any better than Mama Catena on the East side, and Conte's on the West side. I look forward to going back many more times! Jen M. 04/12/2012 Yelp
This is not just an amazing culinary experience, but also a trip to rich Italian culture and an invitation into an amazing family!
Mama Catena's stands as some of the best Italian food I've ever had - without question. I ordered the eggplant rollatini - which came with homemade pasta and a delicious red sauce. The eggplant was amazing - perfectly breaded, seasoned and cooked to perfection. Crispy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside. Also, it was enough to feed a small family of four - great to have leftovers! The meal comes with a salad, and I highly recommend their homemade Italian dressing.
The family who owns this spot is truly an amazing bunch. We started chatting with them, and they were more than happy to entertain us with the history of the restaurant, their lives and travels, their family history in Sicily, as well as what inspires them to cook the amazing dishes they create each day.
In the corner booth, you'll see the matriarch sitting below a photo of her as a young girl in Sicily, enjoying the atmosphere and popping up every one and a while to help in the kitchen or visit with customers. Next to her is her husband, who she met as a child. They lived in the same village in Sicily and have been together ever since. Two of the daughters run the spot, and could not be friendlier. We shared some stories and gabbed with them over delicious dessert and coffee (the homemade cannoli's are HEAVEN!) Two hours later, we had made new friends who I'm am very happy to go and visit again. Hugs and emails were exchanged, and I'll be contacting them soon to set up a wine and food evening for friends!
Great food, new friends, and delicious wine - that's a trifecta in my book!
**Make a reservation - this place only seats 30, but the intimate atmosphere is what makes it feel like you're in their house, enjoying dinner with friends. Kimberly S. 02/04/2012 Yelp
As usual, another great experience here. Took my niece here for a, "girls' night" dinner. Food was amazing...we tried the pizza tonight. Very good. I had to get a side order of meatballs. 3 for $2.50? Pinch me. I'm in. And the bread they serve...that bread! It is so delicious. I don't know what they put on it but it's great...and addictive. They remembered me from when I had my boyfriend's surprise party there. Fran and Rena were both there and Mama and Papa were on their way out as we walked in. We are always treated like family and are engaged in conversation about a variety of topics. At the end of our meal Rena brought out a complimentary plate of fruits and nutella sauce. What a nice end to our meal. This place will always hold a special place in my heart and I always look forward to the next time I go.Updated - 6/28/2012 Jen M. Yelp
Nice, quiet and probably the friendliest family I have ever encountered in a family owned place. Rolled in looking for a hangover fix (nothing like lovin from the pizza oven), and wasn't disappointed. Met 4 generations of the family that afternnon, had some fun, and some great food.
Great pasta, nice sauces and the homemade bread was just to die for. I'm a sucker for good italian, and I know I will be back! Victoria H. 03/22/2011 Yelp
Welp Yelp, this place is legit. When you park at the strip mall, it appears unimpressive from the outside. But wait - there's a treasure trove of taste awaiting through those doors.
We were greeted and seated immediately. Our waitress Rina (ask for her - she's always there) ran through our questions that we had about the menu, which is largely in Italian words none of us really understood. Of course everything was proclaimed to be delicious, in typical Italian fashion.
After ordering, we were brought a delicious basket of bread. And this is the kind of bread that you remember and go back to a place to get again. I could literally see my friends eyes roll into the back of their heads from tasty bliss. It was a kind of bread I can't pronounce, drizzled in olive oil with slight hints of garlic. Rina then brought us a mini-cup of lasagna soup to sample. It too was delicious. I wish I would have had some more of that bread to soak up the soup that my spoon couldn't reach, but alas, I inhaled the bread too soon.
The salad that came with my sandwich was nothing too spectacular, but it was good enough that the plate was cleared. I guess that says something in itself.
The sandwich - the Focaccia - was delicious. This pesto aioli that came with it was awesome. It was a little on the small side, but when I finished it I wasn't too full... and that's a good thing when you have to return to work.
One thing about the atmosphere that I found kind of odd. They had a TV with a screen-saver like floating fish, and it played elevator music on repeat the whole time. That was their background music there - by the end of the meal, I was a slightly annoyed with that tune.
The prices were on the high side, but the food is worth it. The floorplan is small and intimate which makes Mama Catena's very date-night-worthy Wade W. 02/17/2012 Yelp