As a non-vegetarian, my favorite Vegetarian spots are the ones that are so flavorful and filling, you don’t even miss the meat. Mama’s Vegetarian is one of these spots.
This tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery, located on a quiet section of 20th St., is a Kosher vegetarian restaurant specializing in falafels. At lunchtime, there is often a line out the door but food is served quick. Step up to the counter to order and watch the friendly helpful staff make your sandwich or platter, as you wait. The staff is always there to make suggestions or even give you a sample to help you decide.
The most popular item on the menu is the falafel sandwich, available in regular or large size and on white or wheat pita, baked fresh daily. The staff fills the pita with their delicious hand-made falafel balls, which are the perfect combination of crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside, then adds the salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, hummus, shredded cabbage slaw and the tsaziki sauce. You can also have them make it spicy with their red pepper sauce. Priced at only $6 for the large or $3.50 for the small, this is a healthy and filling bargain. If you don’t like it all together, you can also have the falafel as a platter with all the same ingredients. Other popular items are the eggplants and latkes, available as sandwiches or platters, borekas available with potato, spinach or mushroom and the stuffed grape leaves. Daily changing soups are available in the winter. And the fries, named Best Fries 2010 by Philadelphia Magazine, are delicious – fried golden and crispy and served in a huge overflowing portion. Don’t forget to hit up the complimentary salad bar which features deep fried cauliflower, pickled vegetables, olives and hot peppers.
Next time you’re looking for a healthy, filling and cheap meal, take a journey to the Mid East and explore Mama’s Vegetarian. You won’t be disappointed.
Mama’s Vegetarian is cash only. Closed Saturdays.
18 S. 20thStreet
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