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Avoid Mama Mexico

We'd been driving by this place for months and were looking forward to trying it out. Man-oh-man, do not go here.

We started with some pomegranite margaritas. They were pretty good and strong. The kids had virgin strawberry ones that they liked too.

The guacamole was pretty good and fresh. The guac guys go around with a tray and make it at the table. They swing it around a bit too much though. There were a couple of flying avocados while we were there.

We ordered simple bean and cheese nachos. The kids wouldn't touch them because they had drizzled some red sauce all over them. It came out to about $1 a chip. Total rip-off.

I got chicken enchiladas mole poblano. Retch. It is like they made it with Hershey's syrup. $24.

The kids had fajitas. $20 for a very small plate of mostly onions and peppers. Pretty lame.

Our bill was $120 for two adults and two kids under 6. The bright side of the place is that the service was very good. We were never short on water, chips, or salsa.

However, when you consider the amount of money sucked out of my pocket, this was probably the worst mexican food I've ever had in my life. I will never go there again. I will pay big money for good food when it is worth it, but bad food that is expensive is infuriating.

As soon as I recover, I am going back to the guys at La Batalla in Bergenfield and will beg for forgiveness. The same meal would have been better there and would have cost only about $30 (excl. alcohol).

If I want fancy mex, I will drive the extra 5 miles into the upper west side and go to Rosa Mexicano. I've never had a bad meal there.

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  1. And where might this gem of a restaurant be???

    1. Oops... Sorry... Englewood Cliffs, NJ

      There are two other Mama Mexicos in NYC, but I can hardly imagine that they would be that bad.

      1. i'm not surprised at all. i've never been a fan of the manhattan branches of mama mexico, so when i heard they were opening a suburban outpost, i figured it would be terrible - dumbed-down, overpriced, and underwhelming. so sad given that the restaurant that used to be in this space, yong su san, was once a destination korean eatery (though its heyday had long since passed by the time it closed down).

        incidentally, rosa mexicano is supposed to be opening a branch in the new wing of riverside square mall...oops, or should i say, "the shops at riverside". LOL

        i'll bet anything that the new rosa mexicano will be just as bad as mama mexico, only even more expensive.

        2 Replies
        1. re: surly

          I too am dissapointed to hear the neg. report. Any chance they're just ironing out the kinks and it will improve? My bus on the way into nyc passes this place. The Korean restaurant was torn down and the Mexican built bottom up on the same land. These guys must have huge amounts of cash just watching the way they built this over the last year.

          1. re: michele cindy

            Normally, I give new places a second chance, but I see no reason to check these guys out later due to the price of the meals. However, I think a lot of it is just plain boring recipies.

        2. whatleyc-
          I love LaBatalla as well, but if you want to give something else a try there's always Mexicali Blues Cafe. I'd even put their enchiladas mole poblano a few notches above LaBatalla's. Unfortunately I'm not so sure it's a place for the kids, as it is as much a night spot as it is a restaurant. For more details you can see my earlier post:


          1. I appreciate the heads up. Just past it yesterday, on our way to the Best Lasagna in the country - Fort Lee Pizza on Lemoin Ave in Fort Lee NJ. I was thinking about heading over, it's quite flashy, but I will now avoid it.

            2 great options for quality Mexican, that I personally pre screened, are Guadalahara's in Westchester, Route 9 in Briarcliff Manor NY, and El Bandito on Route 59 E in Spring Valley NY. Both are a tad pricey, 30-40 per person, without alcohol - but consistently excellent. Taquito's al Carbone at Guadalahara's is a 4 Poblano rating by ME!! Also try the Queso Fundido, prepared tableside, and oozing with cheese and chorizo. How could it be wrong?

            1. I've never been impressed with Guadalajara. The service is iffy at best and it's just so noisy. I've been DYING to try El Bandito! I was scared of it at first, due to its proximity to that divey nudey bar next door, but everyone always raves about it. Just goes to show I can't judge a Mexican restaurant by its cover. Or something.

              1 Reply
              1. re: marmite

                I used to like Guadalajara the couple of times I had went there about a year or two ago. I went a couple of nights ago for my birthday. The freshly prepared guacamole was good. I ordered the Enchiladas Tres Amigos, which I had liked in the past, and I didn't really enjoy it this time. The cheese enchilada was very salty. The refried beans were also watery. I'd give it a try again before totally discounting it, but definitely would try a different dish.

              2. I'd put El Bandito in the 'middling' range. The pre-meal quesadilla and post-meal shot of 43 are nice touches, but it's very noisy, does tend to get expensive and the food is basic. Not too far away, I much prefer LaHacienda in Suffern. Haven't tried Dona Maria yet (also in Suffern) but will soon.

                1. Yes, this was definitely an overpriced disappointment! We went as a group for lunch to the Englewood location and even without alcohol the tab was about 40 pp (luckily it was a work function). They push the specials (my lunch entree was 30, outrageous when menu entrees are 10-20 ish and when it was just okay) and the guac (which was made tableside and was okay, but the waiter recommended we get 2 or 3 for the table, while one was fine). And for some reason the push for bottled water just made me laugh.