Mama's on Washington Square: Reviews

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Chocolate Cinnamon French Toast with FruitSlim Joe Burger with Red PotatoesShrimp Salad
Chocolate Cinnamon French Toast with Fruit, Slim Joe Burger with Red Potatoes, Shrimp Salad


Linda Bulgo
Name: Linda
Occupation: Entertainer
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Mama’s on Washington Square
Reviewed Mama’s on Washington Square: Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I walked into Mama’s Restaurant at Washington Square, and the nice man at the front of the counter told me I can look at the menu and then order from the person behind the counter. There are two menus, one for breakfast and one for lunch, and I picked breakfast. I ordered chocolate-cinnamon French toast with fruit and a cup of hot tea.

As I sat down right away at one of the fifteen tables, I looked around and couldn’t help but notice how I felt like I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen. It felt like a home with its bright and cheery colors: blues, greens, and yellows. I noticed the armoire with dishes in it. Sitting there, it felt like it was sunny outside, even though the day was overcast and looking like it was going to rain.

The waitress, who brought me my hot tea was very nice. There was another waitress walking around, and I couldn’t help but notice how friendly and helpful she was to the customers, welcoming them as they entered the restaurant. She mentioned to the customer next to me how good the jam was that was sitting on each table, and how he should try it.

When I was served my chocolate-cinnamon French toast with fruit, it only took about seven minutes to get. It looked wonderful! There were three slices of French toast with blueberries, bananas, and strawberries on them. There was also a little glass container with syrup in it, and a slice of orange with a slice of a strawberry next to it. A wonderful presentation! I thought I would try some of the jam the waitress told the other customer, so I put some of it on my French toast — it was great, boysenberry jam.

As I ate my breakfast, I looked around the restaurant and noticed how there were write-ups in a few of the frames about Mama’s Restaurant was the best breakfast places to eat at. There were many pictures on the walls, but these stood out for me.

The food was delicious, and it felt so comfortable just sitting there, looking around and admiring how at home everyone felt waiting for their meal.

As I walked outside I looked around at the neighborhood — Washington Square, where people were sitting on benches and walking around with their children. Saint Peter and Paul Church is right next to the restaurant. I thought about the heart in the sign’s name, “Mama’s,” and really felt why it was there.


Kiet Nguyen
Name: Kiet
Occupation: Police Sergeant
Location: Santa Clara
Favorite Restaurant: Hayes Street Grill
Reviewed Mama’s on Washington Square: Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I went here on a Tuesday afternoon with my daughter, and I was amazed at how busy it was. Luckily, I did not have to wait. There were several tables available.

There are rules to follow. You don’t get seated right a way. First, you have to go to the counter and place your order with the cashier. Then, you get seated and wait for the waitress to bring the food to you.
For lunch, I started off with the shrimp salad, which consisted of bay shrimp, tomatoes, avocado, and sliced egg with a choice of either Louie dressing or vinaigrette (my choice). The shrimp was pink and fresh and everything else on the plate tasted very good.

For the main course, I ordered the Slim Joe burger. It comes with grilled onions, ketchup, jack cheese and is served on a sourdough baguette with grilled red potatoes. The burger was delicious. The bread was soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. The meat was cooked perfectly, and the grilled onions added a bit of sweetness to the burger. I decided to pass on the jack cheese because I was on diet, but I am certain it would have made the burger even more satisfying.

For dessert, I stayed true to my diet and had a bowl of blueberries and a bowl of fruit (pineapple, strawberry, melons). Everything tasted sweet and fresh, which was a nice finish to a good lunch.

Parking was not bad. I saw a few parking spaces that stayed available for a long time. If I was in the area and in the mood for a burger, I would definitely stop into Mama’s.

I do plan on coming back for breakfast one day. The breakfast menu is really worth looking at. There are 11 special made-to-order omelets on the menu, including a vegetarian version and a French toast menu that includes buttermilk pancakes, dollar size pancakes, banana pancakes, and a kugelhuph, which is Mama’s home baked brioche bread with golden raisins, cinnamon, dates, and sliced almonds.

The restroom was interesting. I am at a loss for words.


Mary Choi
Name: Mary
Occupation: Health Researcher
Location: El Cerrito
Favorite Restaurant: Sahn Maru Korean BBQ
Reviewed Mama’s on Washington Square: Thursday, January 8, 2009


Mama’s would probably be my go-to breakfast place if I lived in San Francisco. Almost everything about my visit was smooth, including the parking and the wait. Me and Mama’s…it was like we were meant to be together.

As soon as I stepped inside the restaurant, I could feel the warm, friendly air. It was sunny and bright with windows all around, and my friend and I started chatting with the perfect stranger in line in front of us. He had traveled all the way from D.C. to eat there. Just kidding! He was actually in town for the Mac World thing, but he had been to Mama’s on a previous trip and had returned. He recommended the French toast. I thought it might be boring at first, but after learning that they were made from unique homemade breads, I decided to give them a try. I got the cinnamon one with seasonal berries and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.

The one thing that I wish they had were portable paper menus. The breakfast menu was hidden behind the line of people waiting to order, and it was not easy to view for us two short Asian girls.

I’d read that the wait at Mama’s could be horrendous, like up to two hours, but on this late Thursday morning, it was a breeze. I think the wait to order was about the same as the wait for the food to arrive, which wasn’t too long at all. Not the speediest, but definitely tolerable.

My French toast was just perfect with warm fresh berries on top. To sweeten it, I used the homemade jam instead of the maple syrup. I will SO go back to Mama’s for the jam. It was simply divine.

I had a few bites of my friend’s shrimp with eggs special. It was too shrimpy/fishy for my taste, and it also tasted like it had egg yolk in it, when my friend had requested that only egg white be used. She ended up not finishing the plate. I felt a little bad because the portion size was already a bit small. Even my large glass of orange juice was a little smaller than I expected. Hopefully she was full from eating the toast with loads of jam on it.

Service was flawless. Our waitress came by often to ask if coffee refills were needed, and she also very promptly brought the requested ketchup and Tabasco.

Mama’s is a petite and cozy restaurant that serves good food made with great ingredients. If you ever walk by and there isn’t a wait, and you’re even a little bit hungry, I suggest you stop and eat something! I most certainly would.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/alexdssf Alex Sarmiento

    Shortly after the episode with Mama’s Restaurant aired, I went to said restaurant. At the time, I normally got breakfast either at CCSF (where I was studying) or McDonald’s. On this occasion, I had a final exam later in the day, so I thought that I would kill some time at Mama’s. I enjoyed my experience. I had the Northern Italian omelette, some toast, and orange juice. That was the best omelette that I have ever had. I was taken aback by how popular the restaurant was. I knew from watching the show that there was a line, but until I experienced it I had no real idea. Would I go back? If I had the time, yes. If I still lived in the City, I’d go back at least every other week.