If you’ve lived in Dayton for any amount of time, odds are you’ve heard of Mama DiSalvo’s.
The Italian eatery in Kettering’s central suburbs opened in 1979, the product of “Mama” Elena DiSalvo, her husband Rinaldo, and their family. The family claims a heritage from Italy’s western Abruzzo and Molise regions, and the family has kept its recipes as traditional as possible — made from scratch using imported ingredients and all the love an Italian family can muster — a lot. You may wait a long time for your food, but the entire experience will be very, very worth it.
Mama DiSalvo’s menu needs no explanation. The best Italian classics and the tastiest dishes are all there, delicious pastas and savory breads, linguini and ziti, fettuccine and gnocchi dishes, made absolutely perfect. The spaghetti comes perfectly cooked with a very sweet tomato sauce. Mama DiSalvo’s markets its tomato sauce in cans, and if you’ve never come in, it’s easy to wonder how they hope to compete with name brands. But this is a different kind of sauce. Thick with vegetables and very fresh tomatoes. The fettuccine alfredo is perfect. It is the best pasta dish I have ever eaten in this city. It’s got a sweet and savory alfredo sauce, just enough to coat the pasta (and chicken or seafood, if you like) every kind of good. It’s such a simple dish, and it’s mastered so perfectly.
The salads are deliciously fresh; served with sliced Parmesan cheese and with a tasty vinaigrette, it’s clear Mama DiSalvo’s achieves complicated flavors in simple dishes. There are pizzas of course, very authentic margherita pizza for example, served with fresh tomatoes and balls of mozzarella; even chain Italian places pale in comparison. Mama DiSalvo has truly brought a unique flavor to Kettering.
Mama DiSalvo’s offers an outstanding family-centered restaurant experience, the kind that chains and larger places just can’t muster. Family members greet you as you walk in the door, family members get you to your seat, and family members check up on every diner to ensure people are happy with their orders. The wine bar is located right by the door, so patrons waiting for a table during the invariable dinner crowd can enjoy a drink.
This restaurant is truly something Dayton can be proud to call its own. Any native will tell you that Mama DiSalvo’s is one of the best places to eat in the city, and certainly they are not lying. For a tasty meal and a friendly experience, it simply can’t be beat.
- Mama DiSalvo’s offers an unrivaled experience in nice food and wine. I would suggest dressing up.
- I’d also suggest leaving the kids at home if you’re going during dinner…they’re welcome, but the restaurant routinely has crowds and longer waits for a table at night.
- Any dish on the menu is excellent, but I would suggest trying the specialty pastas, and ask for good wine pairings.