Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Mama Mia

A Sensational San Miguel Restaurant

by Nancy Snipper


Dios Mios! I can’t rave enough about this place. It has everything going for it, and in a really big way. I was so enthused by the atmosphere – fun, exhilarating and food festive. As soon as you walk in, you just want to hit one of the 32 tables that together with the upstairs terrace can gather over 200 people – all eagerly imbibing the drinks that Mama Mia is famous for. The view from the impressive terrace provides a near 360-degree view of San Miguel’s colourful streets, rooftops and romantic mountains in the distance.  

This place which is enlivened with a trio playing Latin American music is definitely a hit. One look at the menu tells you your every food fantasy is about to become an edible reality. Suffice it to say that the choices are humungous as are the serving sizes. In fact, the whole world seems to spread out on your plate – and into your mouth.
The appetizers are tantalizing. Aside from the marinated beef, salmon, prosciutto and cantaloupe numbers that don’t begin to fill the list of starter choices, there are exotic salads, shrimp and octopus served in a variety of styles. I dared to try the magnificent Mexican pumpkin and huitlacoche in crepe to set me on heaven’s way.  My rich crepe consisted of an exciting creamy poblano and fungus mixture (corn fungus is akin to caviar in cost and delicacy of flavour). It was so filling; I almost regretted ordering a main dish – until I had my first bite of the marinated shredded arachera – tender flank of beef marinated to perfection. My plate also offered guacamole beans and salsa with taco chips.

 The arachera was so wonderful; I immediately wanted to meet the chef – which I did. Nicolas Cortez is a genius. With 20 years of restaurant cuisine experience, Chef Nicolas shares his kitchen secrets with at least a dozen busy kitchens staff members, including other co-chefs: Areli, Jose Luis and Lorena. I was amazed by the fact that despite the huge crowds that dine here, there is no dishwasher. There simply isn’t time to wait; it’s as if Mama Mia is feeding every foodie fan in San Miguel.
What’s more, the waiters are wonderful. I marveled at how they were able to carry so many big serving plates at one time. They were so much fun too. Mine were Raphael and Dante were angels. I wanted to adopt them. Dante even found time to take these photos for this review.
 I spied the arrival of an enormous, hot pizza on a plate the size of the table itself. Wow!  Mama Mia‘s menu offers oodles of different kinds along with an equal bounty of pasta dishes. But then again, you may feel one of their seven soups, or one of the four sumptuous seafood servings – there is shrimp and octopus, Pacific tuna, salmon; and let’s not forget the variety of chicken creations: Parmesan, Florentine, and breast stuffed with Prosciutto and cheese.
The wine and spirit list is as vast as a Mexican vineyard. I opted at the very beginning of my meal for a mango-strawberry margarita. Can you believe that there was a perfect dividing line between both flavours? There were two straws in this double coloured drink. The size of this drink was gigantic – typical to Mama Mia’s munificence!
As for desserts… name your dream one.  Mama Mia has it!
Located two moments away from the central Jardin square where all the action is, Mama Mia awaits you with open arms.
The address is: Umaran #8, Centro. Call (415) 152-2063.