by Ryan MacDonald
In its slogan, Mama Petrillo’s restaurant promises to make you “Italian foods as you like them.”
But unless your pallet craves Italian food blander than what you might find in a bottle of Prego, you should not pay this place a visit.
The hostesses and waitresses at the new restaurant provide first-rate service, greeting their guests with an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the menu and the business.
The kitchen serves pizza and specialty dinners, including seafood, chicken and veal, as well as pasta dishes.
There are also a variety of side dishes, sandwiches and antipasto salads, plus a comprehensive wine list.
Servers present all of the dining options with knowledge and confidence.
But good service does not make a great restaurant; at least not in this case.
With its pseudo-Italian décor that is marked by murals of “countryside” landscape, the atmosphere inside of the restaurant does not do much to enhance the dining experience.
Inside, it is comfortable-yet-industrial, leaving the guests feeling like they are dining at a pizza joint rather than a restaurant.
The interior lacks any romantic resemblance to the Italian countryside.
Guests will find it difficult to feel intimate once seated, as the dining area resembles a cafeteria with many tables set up in the middle of the main floor and booths surrounding the perimeter. Italian music is played, adding only to the mood and atmosphere.
The most popular recipes on the menu, including the homemade lasagna and chicken cacciatore, lack impressive flavorings and seasonings.
Although these dishes are not entirely appetizing, they are somewhat enjoyable.
The lasagna, which is the most popular item on the menu, comes served with bread and soup or salad.
The pasta dishes are smothered in marinara sauce with layers of noodles and meat beneath, and although the flavors spark some enjoyable tastes, the overall composition is nothing extraordinary or unique.
This dish can be ordered a la carte or as a part of a complete dinner; the individual item is $8, with the complete dinner costing $9.
The overall dining experience at Mama Petrillo’s does not garner a recommendation because it can be easily forgotten upon leaving the front doors.
The dishes are similar to comfort food; they are easy to eat, but they are nothing to savor.
The gourmet tastes of Italy have been lost in the recipes, and in this homegrown restaurant, nothing seems like a specialty.
Mama Petrillo’s is known for its pizza, and that is the best item you will find on the menu. Pizzas can be made-to-order, with nearly any topping and thick crust as an option.
The chefs will make them any way you desire. Prices range from $8 for a small to $20 for a large with several toppings. Personal pizzas are also available.
All lunch and dinner prices range from $7 to $15.
Dessert offerings include spumoni cake, mud pie, baked New York cheesecake and truffles for about $3 a piece.
The restaurant is located at 2123 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne. There is an additional site in Temple City. Take out is also available.
Mama Petrillo’s is a family-owned restaurant, which has been operating since 1961.
The hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lunch is not available on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call (909) 596-5600.