Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mama Voula's

11923 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 478-9464

A great find thanks to Gold and Chowhound, Mama Voula's continues the unfortunate Westside-centric trend in my blog. If minimal car usage coexists with Greek food this good, I can reconcile my environmentalism and gastronomic anthropology until the next dim sum craving.

We made a good run at the menu starting with spanakopita and three dips. Taramosalata especially notable but a nice mix with tzatziki and the eggplant one. Among the mains, loukaniko/sausage, octopus and meatballs are tops, with soft mashed-potato topped moussaka the comfort food option. Best dessert is the phyllo pie thing with custard inside called bugatsa. Greek coffee is very fine, swirl the grinds in the cup and Ron the waiter will tell your fortune. Price is surprisingly low-end for the quality, generous portions and friendly service.

Thanks to Theo for culinary expertise and May for the hats.

One simply has to order the marides/fried smelt at Mama Voula's. They are tiny whole fish about the size of your middle finger, fried intact so the fins stick out in an adorable way. Bite off the head first, it contains a hint of bitterness which isn't all bad. Then eat the body, succulent white fish inside a delicately crispy exterior. If you're a recombiner like Ian, make a sammidge with pita and dip of choice. Or combine with dip, bread and a morsel of saganaki/flaming cheese like Theo did. The saganaki is also superb, flambed in ouzo and squirted with lemon juice.

Which leads to the unavoidable conclusion - perhaps one is better off ordering nothing but appetizers at Mama Voula's. The main dishes are good, and particularly in the case of the Greek plate (gyro meat, dolmas, the funny Greek hummus, tzatziki, spuds, brocolli) very filling. But a meal made entirely of small dishes could maximize what the restaurant does best. Clearly future experimentation is required.


Blogger tanika said...

Hi my name is Tanika and I'm actually trying to do something similar to what you are writing restaurant reviews. I did it in the town I used to live in, but in a place as large as Los Angeles it is difficult to start. Thanks for showing me your page. I actually like Papa Christos so now I'm gonna give Mama Voula's a try especially since I live in westwood.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Theo said...

I went back to Mama Voula's last night with a friend and indulged in the tasty Greek food. This time we made sure to bring a bottle of wine- the restaurant is not licensed to serve alcohol but you can get a bottle of fine Spanish or French wine next door. The baklava was so tasty that I had to order two pieces, but the nice waiter charged me for one only. It definitely helps coming from the Balkans...

10:33 PM  
Blogger adam talib said...

I went to Mama Voula's with my girlfriend last weekend. It was excellent. They seated us relative late (for this part of the westside) at 9:15, and with the cold coronas from the liquor store across the street, the gyros went down excellently.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

mama voula's is no more :( tried to go last night but there was no greek food to be had

9:59 AM  
Blogger alan said...

I'm afraid I couldn't find it either. I hope it's not gone.

4:20 PM  

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