I wonder how many reviews have already been written about Mamma Zu. I bet it’s in the triple digits. I think it’s the most famous restaurant in town.
I had spaghetti and meat sauce for lunch last week. It cost $8.50. It was regular. I was hoping for better-than-regular. Mamma Zu is one of those places where people are happy to be treated poorly in exchange for the right to brag that they’ve had some religious food experience there. I’m pretty sure that it’s Richmond blasphemy to say that I don’t love Mamma Zu. But, I don’t get it. I’ve eaten here a few times and I’m still not a radical convert. I can be wooed with great price or great quality. I’ve never hated anything I’ve eaten here. Â The food has been decent every time, but has it really earned all that hype? I do love the less-than-pretentious atmosphere that they don’t try to create.
I also recently visited Mamma Zu with 5 other people for dinner. Bad idea. I don’t recommend this restaurant for groups larger than 4 people. They crammed us around a small table and only came by every 10 minutes to see if we were still alive. I’m a sucker for good service.
Clearly they’ve done something right to have become the institution, so I’m willing to believe I’m just plain wrong.
I do suggest that everyone visit Mamma Zu. Try it for yourself. Brag about the visit. Tell me if it’s regular or better-than-regular.
I gave it 169 out of 199 points.
Mamma Zu is at 501 S. Pine St., Richmond, VA
it is hard to live up to the hype of the place, but no matter my expectations, I am always more than satisfied. that being said, they don’t work miracles. they don’t make the mundane magnificent. now my wife is amazed by the eggplant parm, penne gorgonzola, and spaghetti ala amatriciana. All 3 dishes hold up by themselves, but still I am a sucker for the NY Strip, soft shell crabs, lamb shanks, osso bucco, and sweetbreads. I love there over oiled and garlicky greens or broccoletti. There are always a few interesting apps (gizzard salad, blowtoads, calves tongue), and when in doubt, they have my favorite pizza.
Tomorrow is my birthday, and there is no question where I would like to spend it. Its there.
I will tell you, that I think there is good value to be had at Mamma Zu, but it is not cheap.
That's a great endorsement! Now I'll have to try the pizza.
What a bunch of Bologna! Regular is high praise when applied to San Marzano tomatoes, Grana Padano Parmigiano, DeCecco spaghetti, Cretan olive oil, Fiorucci pancetta, sweet butter, prime beef. Try that at home for $8.50, add Billy Bread, butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, etc. You must be one of them aristocrats, or a half cocked square whitebread foodie. You and “the marinara” need to get in touch with me for your pizza party, I wan’t to pin the tail of the donkey.
Yes, I am a very privileged, born-into-money, adventure-free square. You have pegged me well.
I do it all the time at home and I don’t have to put up with your ugly restaurant, most of your rude workers and especially you.
And with one little comment you lost a river city resident who has been excited about trying your restaurant. You sound like you are a big fan of smelling your own BO and excrement. There are many other restaurants on my list.
And by the by, aside from just being a dickish response to a review, it’s a pretty ineffective rebuttal. You can have all Rolls-Royce parts, but if you have no idea how to build a car, it’s not going to be a great end result. Buying the best paint does not make you a great painter.
Been there 3 times, I don’t get the hype. Mama Zu is not for everyone and probably not for me.
I very much doubt that the comment above is really from Ed Vasaio.
What kind of idiot goes to mamma Zu and orders spaghetti with meat sauce?
This kind of idiot. Duh.
That’s just ridiculous. Despite being the most legit meat sauce ever, it’s a side dish.
I feel like “The Zu” is not the kind of place to go to if you’re just going to order the cheapest thing on the menu. If you’re looking to be blown away by a side dish or a salad, you’re at the wrong place. I’ve been there only a handful of times over the last seven years and have never been disappointed. Every time I go it’s with a group (3-6) and we order pretty much one of everything. It’s not easy on the wallet (or the waistline), but it’s the best way to get the best experience out of that place.