We made it out to the first night of soft openings for the all-new Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs last night. The new Italian eatery is run by the Patina Group.
The two story restaurant features art deco theming that resembles an old airport terminal.
We ate in an offshoot area called the First Class Lounge.
The menu has a solid lineup of Italian offerings and wines. A folded brochure-type menu offers appetizers and entrées before opening up to a large list of wines and mixed drinks.
We tried a variety of mixed drinks that ranged from strong to sweet.
Enzo’s Escape – $14
Antica formula vermouth, knob creek rye, lexardo cherry, angostura bitters
By far the strongest drink we tried. This was pretty much straight whiskey. With a nearly medicinal taste, this was a sipping drink that would earn a pass from me on future visits. This drink is actually part of a “seasonal” part of the drink menu. Our server said that seasonal means for roughly the next month.
Sicilian Mule – $14
Caravella orangecello, tito’s vodka, q ginger beer
A ginger beer was a nice offering with a hint of citrus. While it was a nice drink, keep reading for our favorite.
Ligurian Sunrise – $14
Caravella limoncello, maestro dobel tequila
Another nice citrus drink that had a hint of a lemon taste.
Mt Etna Palmer – $14
Amaro averna, solerno blood orange, ketel one, fresh lemonade, black tea
This was my favorite of the drinks we tried. A variety of citrus flavors made for a refreshing drink without the heavy kick found in a drink like Enzo’s Escape.
European Mai Tai – $14
Fernet branca, cruzan rum, cointreau, lime juice, simple syrup, pistachio orgeat
A nice Mai Tai with a hint of lime.
To start you off, there is a decent lineup of appetizers. Here’s what we tried.
Caciocavallo Fritto – $13
Fried sicilian cheese, spicy tomato, pomodoro sauce
These were essentially balls of cheese and they were delicious! Soft to the bite and packed with cheese, the highlight of this dish was actually the pomodoro sauce, which had a bit of a spicy kick to it. I’d probably like to see this dish come in around $9 to give it a glowing recommendation.
Arnacini di Carne – $14
Fried rice stuffed with meat ragu, peas, and mozzerella
Another fried appetizers comes with bits of meat ragu, but mostly feature rice. A creamy interior finds rice in every bite, but you have to look closely for the carne part of this appetizer. While the portion size is big, I still think this dish is about $2-3 overpriced.
Calamari – $16
Fried calamari with hot peppers and spicy tomato and garlic aioli sauce
We aren’t big fans of calamari in the general sense, but those who ate it said it was good and the portion size seemed big enough to validate the $16 price tag.
A relatively limited menu (when compared to the list of drinks), provided some wonderful entrées. Built on pasta and meats, the meals featured some excellent ingredients and were prepared nicely.
Busiate Con Granchio – $27
Spiral shaped pasta, lump crab, yellow cherry tomato, parsley
This was the only dish that really missed for us. While some at the table noted citrus flavors, I noted a seafood taste that wasn’t offset by any other flavoring. Small portions of crab and a lack of a punch of flavoring means that this dish earns a pass from us.
Spaghetti Alla Chitarra – $26
Burrata and meatballs
While I wouldn’t classify this dish as a “miss”, we won’t be ordering it again at the current price point. The pasta came out a bit overcooked. That said, the meatballs were delicious and the burrata cheese was loaded with flavor. Those two elements saved the dish as far as flavor is concerned. A good dish closer to $20.
Nodino Di Vitello – $34
Veal chop, pomodoro, mozzarella
This was delicious! A large portion that turned out to be mainly veal with very little bone or fat. Large helpings of mozzarella meant that each bite was accompanied by enough cheese and pomodoro sauce to really earn the price tag of $34. We can definitely recommend this dish.
Petto Di Pollo – $27
Breast of chicken, pomodoro, mozzerella
Like the veal, this is a large portion of chicken and will more than satisfy your hunger. Large portions of mozzarella and a healthy amount of pomodoro (like the veal) leads to a favorable opinion on this dish as well. With a $7 difference between the two, I’d go with the veal though.
N’Casciara Al Forno – $24
Classic sicilian layered baked pasta, meat ragu, peas, zucchini, caciocavallo cheese
This dish turned out to be the pleasant surprise of the night for us. A layered, baked pasta turned out to be a wonderful variety of pasta and a meaty ragu (much more meaty than the Arnacini di Carne). Don’t be turned off by the zucchini if you don’t like it as it’s only the three thin strips pictured below. We loved the caciocavallo cheese in the Caciocavallo Fritto appetizer and were very happy to see it included in this dish. At $24, this is priced wonderfully and the dish ended up being dense and heavy enough to fill us up, no problem.
To end our meal, we tried an entire section of the dessert menu. Surprisingly, a traditional Italian dessert ended up being our least favorite.
Cannoli – $9
Sheep’s Milk Ricotta, Chocolate Chips, Candied Orange
This was surprisingly disappointing. Largely lacking in flavor, neither the cream or shell presented a memorable flavor. For us, the candied orange was also too soft. The only redeeming factor was the chocolate chips, and that doesn’t make this a dessert we’ll be ordering on a repeat visit.
Cassata Siciliana – $10
Traditional Sicilian Ricotta Layered Sponge Cake
More sponge cake than ricotta, this cake fell under the good-but-not-great category. Keep reading for our favorite dessert.
Enzo’s Torta – $10
Chocolate and Mascarpone Cheesecake
While the consensus on this was favorable, it took a couple of bites to truly enjoy this multifaceted dessert properly. The mascarpone was a nice addition to the cupcake, and the chocolate frosting and shaved white chocolate gave it a nice dessert flavoring.
Affogato Di Vesuvio – $12
Crema Gelato, Espresso, Chocolate Whipped Cream, White Chocolate Snow
This ended up being the winner of the desserts we tried. It really ended up being more espresso than anything, but that flavor combined with the chocolate elements brilliantly. Equal parts creamy and substantive, we ended up drinking this large portion like we would a coffee. We’ll definitely be enjoying this on a return visit.
Maria and Enzo’s is a solid offering from Patina Group. Featuring excellent ingredients and flavorful dishes, we can definitely recommend Maria and Enzo’s for an upscale Italian dining experience at Disney Springs.