Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

It sounds like there should be a punchline to that question- but the answer is anything but a joke.

This week I was able to spend some time (okay, almost 5 hours) at Carmello’s in Old Town Manassas.  Y’all recommended Carmello’s on our Reader Recommendation Restaurant Guide, and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since!  Andrea from Real Housewives of Northern Virginia set up a tasting, and from the moment we walked in, I was completely sold.  
Walking into Carmello’s you’d never know that you’re feet away from the Train Depot. Its warm colors and gold chargers invite you in, and even the sign glistens.  This would be the perfect location for a wedding or rehearsal dinner meal, and they are able to offer multiple room sizes to meet group needs.  Joining our dinner were Denise from Let Mommy Sleep/Mission Sleep, Rebecca from 3 Tiny Tyrants/Maguire Media Group, Laura from BeltwayBargainMom, and Micaela from SuperNovaMommy.  
Denise, Me, Micaela, the awesome manager Jacob, Rebeca, Laura, and Andrea
Rebecca selected a bottle from their extensive wine list for us.  There was what can only be described as the Cheesecake Factory Menu worth of wine on their list, but she picked out a fantastic red.  Twice 🙂 (Please note- all photo credit is to Real Housewives of Northern Virginia who shared with me since I forgot to charge my phone before dinner) 
We were able to tour the restaurant.  This is the wine room.  Just for the reds.  

We had so much fun chatting with the manager, Jacob.  He selected a few dishes for us and I quickly shocked everyone since I love to cook and will try just about anything because I had never eaten ANYTHING that we had. I decided to try to handle it cultural-exchange style and just eat it 🙂 It was all amazing, and I think I’m in love with scallops.  (Yeah, say that you’ve never had a scallop before at this table of women and you get 5 horrified gasps followed by two “Well you can pass them over here if you’re not gonna try them!”)

Okay, cell phones don’t do food justice (sorry Andrea). This is shrimp and scallops over saffron rice with artichokes in a delicious creamy sauce.  I had never had a scallop before (gasp!) and am very selective about my shrimp, and since I’m not a seafood lover, let me say I loved all the seafood dishes here.  Everything was fresh and not the least bit “fishy”.  Next we had veal medallions wrapped in bacon with a mushroom sauce, also over rice.

 I had (shocker) never had veal.  Also, let me confess to typically eating my meat “Well done, please, and then cook it a little more”.  I didn’t lick the plate….but I thought about it. This literally melted in your mouth.

Next we sampled the seafood ravioli, which had salmon (never had) and lobster cream sauce (never had lobster, either).  The salmon was probably the most out of my comfort zone, but the lobster cream sauce and I are now BFF’s and I’m following it on twitter.

Now, all of this is very fancy and amazing, but it’s of course special occasion/date night food.  And, when you have your next special occasion, this is where you should go.  Besides the food being amazing and the manager being friendly and knowledgable, the staff was attentive and I didn’t see a single table that wanted for anything from water to clean forks.

But if you just need a little cocktail hour, Carmello’s has you covered, too.  This delicious Pizza Margharita (yeah, I’d actually had this before!) Is actually from the adjoining bar, Monza.  If you’re looking for a place for lunch, a light supper, or drinks with the girls, Monza has got to be it.  In addition, let me share something with you:

On Mondays, Monza has $5 martinis from a list about a mile long.  We sampled the pear, root beer float, grapefruit, a few I can’t remember, and the awesome bar tender Jeff’s espresso martini, which, if it were available at Starbucks, would land me in AA.  Meeting up with a few friends after work (even if work involves chasing toddlers!) at Monza would be epic. With the same warm and upscale feel, but substantially more flatscreen TVs (playing the hockey game!!) Monza is a great guy-friend or girl-friend meet up.

Also, now that summer is approaching, keep in mind that on Friday and Saturday nights, the patio is open and the side street shut down to accommodate live music.  What a great way to spend a warm summer night!

Carmello’s- Entrees $23-30, elegant warm atmosphere. Going to the Hylton Performing Arts Center? Call ahead and bring your tickets and take advantage of their $35 Theatre Special before 6pm (Appetizer/Soup/Salad, Entree, Dessert).  Plan Carmello’s for your next occasion and you definitely won’t regret it!

Monza- $5-$17, fun upscale atmosphere, great for meeting friends! Don’t forget the $5 martini Mondays, and that pasta is $4 off before 4pm, so a late lunch is an option!

Denise, Rebecca and me.  We like to segregate our Blondes and Brunettes when we dine out 😉


My group was provided with products or services for this review, however it represents my honest opinion, and I’d have written the same thing either way.  Just saying 🙂