JeffKelso.Com -> Restaurants -> Mama Zu's

Mama Zu's

The only genuine Italian restaurant in Richmond. This is not your average Italian-American spaghetti and pizza joint. This is the real thing. I always feel like I am in a little tratatoria in Salerno and to hell with the tourists!
Quick Fact Sheet
Address 501 S. Pine St.
Richmond, VA
(Oregon Hill)  (Map at bottom of page)
Phone 788-4205   Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more.
Hours Lunch: Monday - Friday — 11:00APM to 2:30PM
Dinner: Monday - Saturday — 5;30PM to 10:00PM
Closed on Sunday.
Ratings $ ($6 - $18 person) Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
Food Real Italian with lots of garlic.
Payment Cash, Checks, and Amex (no other cards!)
Ambiance Very little. There isn't a no-smoking area and your clothes will reek of smoke and garlic.
Other Reviews Style Magazine
Web site Are you kidding?

This place does not look good from the outside. It doesn't look much better from the inside. You want nice decor, got to the Olive Garden. You want great food, this is the place. You should expect a wait, especially on the weekends, of up to an hour. Have a glass (or two) of the house red and read the chalk board. That is where you find out what is being served (there are no menus). The fare changes daily, everything is fresh.

The waiters and waitresses move very fast and do not have patience for people who ask self-evident question. However, they do know the food and wine and can be very helpful.

My favorite appetizer is the cold antipasto. It is an overload of cheeses, meats, and vegetables. One night we had cold asparagus that was drizzled with olive oil and we could not believe that anything that simple could be so good.

The main courses are so varied that it boggles the mind how they can store, much less prepare, so many items in such a small space. I love their Penne with Gorganzola and peas. The osso bucco is to die for. Facing down the memories of Mr Ed, I even had horse there once (like a gamey beef but very tender). If two people at the same table order the same item then it is served in a one big bowl.

There are no sandwich type items available.

Desserts are limited to cannoli and tiramisu, both made in-house.

The bar is pretty much limited to wine and beer with an emphasis on the Italian. Pass on the Italian beer (the Italians have many great culinary skills but beer making aint one of them) in favor of the Italian reds. They are wonderful. Trust your waitron's judgment. Bottles of wine are amazingly cheap.

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