Middle Eastern Food Right in the Heart of Philadelphia
Mama’s Vegetarian may seem like a hole-in-the-wall kind of place, but trust me – it is not. First step into this tiny establishment and you’re hit with the smells of Jerusalem. Falafel is being fried, fresh Israeli salad is being diced, and the unlimited pickle bar is staring you down.
The cool thing about this place is that it’s fully certified Kosher, but doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a holy, Jewish-people-only place. So it makes no difference if you have a religious friend, or a friend who loves authentic falafel – this place is caters to all. Speaking of catering, they will honestly cater any type of function for a reasonable price and the outcome is always professional and satisfying.
So down to the food itself – avocado combined with hardboiled egg sandwich is my personal favorite. May sound weird, but hey don’t knock it ’till you try it.
My personal favorite – avocado, hardboiled egg, 1 falafel ball, tomato, cucumber, and cabbage all stuffed inside a white pita with delicious hummus and tahini sauce
I’ve heard from countless friends and family the falafel balls themselves are the best they’ve ever had, (my opinion doesn’t weigh in much here considering I’ve never liked falafel – shhh, don’t tell) so if you’re looking for something traditional – choose the “Mama’s Large Falafel Sandwich.” Besides the strange combo of avo and egg, and the classic falafel stuffed pita they also offer latkes (YUM), fried eggplant, and sometimes grape-leaves. No matter if you get a sandwich or platter (sandwich is pita stuffed with whatever main ingredient and then your choosing of toppings, whereas the platter is practically an opened face sandwich with the main ingredient and toppings on a plate with the pita on the side), you MUST order the french fries. They’re delicious and addictive!
I like to tell people who have never been, please don’t expect 5-star royalty treatment here. The ordering process is similar to Chipotle or Subway. Get in line, order from about 5 or 6 options, tell them what you do or don’t want in your pita (or platter), and pay. Helpful tip: the restaurant is cash only. Though they do have an ATM inside to aid those who refuse to carry anything but plastic in their wallets. Other than the taste of the food, the prices are the best part of Mama’s. Expect a large pita, large order of fries, and drink to total about $11. You can’t beat it!Plus, the staff are the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. They’ll be serving you in t-shirts, and cargo shorts with smiles stretched from ear to ear.
So if you like a well-stuffed pita and are already over Maoz and Pita Pit (both are soo last year), you MUST try Mama’s Vegetarian right in Philly’s Center City district!