Portland >Food & Dining > Mama Maria's Restaurant
5234 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR | Directions 9720645.497316 -122.608160
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Foster - Powell
Top notch Italian eats: – I've only been to Mama Maria's a handful of times, but that's only due to it's location in comparison to mine. Ever single time I've been there the pizza (which is what I usually had) was one of the best I've ever had. I've actually got a list of my top four pizza places in Oregon, three reside in Portland, two of which are both off of SE Powell Blvd, amazingly enough, and Mama Maria's is number two. That means a lot coming from a self-proclaimed pizza aficionado such as myself. I love the atmosphere of the joint, it's more than just a bar with seating for those who'd like to eat, and the tables aren't just some old cut-up bare hard wood with butt-bruising chairs. The ambiance is enticing and intimate, and the service is always top notch. The only thing saddening about the place is that most of its customers get food to-go - what a waste! Anyway, to the rest of the food, I will admit that I usually stuck with the pizza, but once I tried a few other things, just to get a point of comparison. Anything with a marinara base sauce, was tip-top food, however the one disparaging point to make was about the alfredo - it was just as bland as I've ever tasted. Now to be honest and fair, I should've given it another try, because we all have off days, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay for that ever again. Even through that, I highly recommend this place, and if Russ is still the man in charge, that recommendation comes with a little three symbol to it's top right corner (cubed).
Good food, good price – This is a neighbourhood bar/restaurant, it is casual and not fancy. Pizza is very good and hearty, weakness is the bland crust. Other reviewers have gone over this however, so I would like to focus on their non pizza menu.
Salad is good, but not remarkable.
Minestrone soup is passable, but nothing more.
The heart of the menu is their pasta dishes. I like clam sauce and theirs is good, altho' not always available. The spaghetti with Italian sausage is excellent. The meat sauce is also quite good. The raviolli is also good.
This is a hearty, no frills menu: Plenty of good no frills Italian food.
Wait staff is friendly, this is a nice place to go for above average food at a good price.
Pizza with history – Rather than review the reviews, I'll stick to the pizza, which is what I've been doing since the Sixties when it originated from the deli counter of a long-gone pharmacy on the corner of S.E. 39th & Powell. It has, unfortunately, undergone what could be considered a natural transition from what was arguably the best pizza in Portland if not the state, to what is still a respectable pizza by most standards of opinion. The location is relatively convenient but caters more to the bar than the meager, often closed, restaurant proper which proves inconvenient to non-smokers.
Beyond that, it must be understood that pizza preferences are highly subjective, to say the least. I will say that I am somewhat more critical than most, and having enjoyed pizzas in 49 of our 50 states, this still rates a very good, in my opinion. But then, in my opinion, canned mushrooms ARE better on a pizza than fresh unless you're from California or New Mexico.
Good bread, bleh pizza – I dunno about these other reviews... the garlic bread is a buttery delicious treat as was mentioned. But the pizza is pretty bland and boring. The crust tastes like what you would expect from a frozen pizza, and they use canned veggies. Let me tell you, canned muchrooms do NOT taste good on pizza! :o Also they slice the pizza really weird. Some sort of zig zag pattern and the pieces are all different sizes, some of them literally less than an inch long.
If you like thin crust pizza, and don't like veggies, then you will probably be fine with it. :)
Also, there is smoking in the bar area, I don't see that mentioned anywhere. I don't mind it but some others might.
Your neighborhood pizza place! – I've been eating at Mama Marias since I was a kid and have yet to find anything better. Its locally owned by people who went to high school in the area and are continuing to give back to the community long after they've graduated. The pizza in unique and the garlic bread is to die for.
Mama Marias - Not just Great, it's Turbo – Pizza has never been this good. Ever... Well, probably.
Mama Maria's is the top dog in the pizza business, in my eyes. The pizza, while rather thin, is so full of flavor that its mind-blowing. Toppings are added liberally, which only serves to increase the overall taste from 'Great' status to 'Turbo-Awesome-Greatly-Great.'
The dining area is extremely nice, and is generally not crowded. Both small and large groups are readilly accomidated, with service that goes above and beyond the call of duty.
I have no complaints.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Mama Maria's Restaurant on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.