Mambo Italiano Cafe

Written by on June 29, 2013 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

*Please excuse the month-long hiatus. My dear, sweet father passed away peacefully on his 72nd birthday, 28 June, just ten minutes before midnight. My husband and I were at his side.

In this most emotionally testing time, our family has come together as never before, guided (I’m certain) by my dad’s example and inspiration with laughter, joy and comfort, sharing tears, memories and the most heartfelt hugs we have ever given and received. 

It is with mixed emotions that I embark on this culinary journey once again. This time, however, in celebration of a life; a life lived by the most dedicated, loyal, trustworthy, generous, humble and devoted servant of God. I love you, dad. Forever and always.

Mambo Italiano

( – Fairhaven neighborhood, Bellingham, Washington

How I heard of this place: Just over ten years ago, a new Italian place opened up in the historic Fairhaven district, and the reviews were all appealing. A friend and I made our way to partake of the portobello mushroom fettuccine, of which I continued to speak for nearly a decade.

Mambo Italiano seating


A few weeks ago, my husband and I were chatting with my mom and dad about what to do for my dad’s up-coming birthday. We had just taken my mom to another of their local favorite establishments for her birthday dinner, and when my dad decided it would be his preference to stay in town (rather than have a weekend away) for his birthday, we asked what he most wished to do. My dad has always been content in and grateful for everything that life has given him. He was most excited to go to the Olive Garden for their endless bowl of salad (he and I share a common love of their addictive salad), but remembered, after his heart surgery just six months prior, that greens had too much vitamin-K for the medications that the doctor carefully monitored for him. Then he remembered Mambo; a perfect and mouth-watering alternative to which he was eager to return.

In celebration of his birthday, and in honor of the most radiant man to have ever walked this earth, blessed to have been given the opportunity and the privilege of being a part of his family, we returned to Mambo Italiano.

Mambo Italiano menu

Type of cuisine: In March of 2001, Mambo Italiano Café opened its doors to Bellingham. Since the beginning, quality food and service has been the business. Creating a quality dining experience for our guests is something we continually strive for. We believe in house-made, handcrafted meals from scratch, with only the best quality ingredients possible. We take pride in our work and to us, Mambo is much more than a restaurant. From our family to yours, welcome to Mambo.”

With recipes passed down from generations, our food features classic and wholesome Italian food while also offering the essence of the northwest with fresh seafood starters and entrees. We have a passion for quality here at Mambo, so much so that we prepare all our sauces from scratch, bake all our bread and pizza dough fresh every morning, and prepare each and every dish to order.”

Ambiance: We have a small space to work with, featuring only a front room,

Mambo Italiano front room


Mambo Italiano bar


Mambo Italiano back room

and courtyard.”

Mambo Italiano courtyard entry


Mambo Italiano courtyard

What I ordered: In addition to the bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, both present at each table throughout the establishment, my husband was eager to dig into the Bruschetta ($7.75): grilled bread topped with garlic oil, prosciutto, fresh diced tomato, basil, mozzarella, parmesan, and a drizzle of house dressing.

Mambo Italiano bruscetta

For our main entrees, my mom treated herself to her and my dad’s favorite, the Lasagna Carne ($13.95) served hot in a baking dish oozing with Bolognese, mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses.

Mambo Italiano lasagna

My sister enjoyed my ever favorite Fettucine Portabella ($13.95): portabella mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, anchovies, white wine, butter and parmesan.

Mambo Italiano mushroom

A dear friend of ours and I each selected the server favorite, Gamberoni Mediterranean ($18.95 each): jumbo prawns, olive oil, tomato, basil, pine nuts, gorgonzola cream, white wine, and butter served over fettucine.

Mambo Italiano shrimp

My husband, the ever daring and knows-what-he-wants consumer selected the Smoked Salmon Penne ($14.95): smoked salmon, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, cream, butter.

Mambo Italiano salmon fettuccine

What I loved: The lasagna. Of all of the dishes on our table, while the prawns were cooked perfectly, the portabella fettucine creamy and abundant, and the broccoli a pleasant addition to my husband’s smoked salmon, my mom’s selection stole the show!

Why I loved it: The space is intimate, yet vast, the servers friendly and fellow-diners excited to engage in conversation. The food is abundant and flavorful and the atmosphere pleasant and whimsical. There is really nothing to deter me from enjoying the bounty at Mambo Italiano Cafe.

Mambo Italiano wall decor

Cost: Low to average ($8.95 – $22.95 per dinner entree)

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