I felt compelled to write given some complaining below (and I am not connected to Mama Zu in any way, other than as a customer). Look - everybody in Richmond knows this place is great. Yes, this isn't a fawning staff - but it's pretty fast paced in there and actually it's kind of fun. Some people use Edo Squid as a substitute - and Edo is good - but there's nothing like the real McCoy.
There's plenty of parking. There's a small lot beside them, but everybody parks on the street and walks over. I've never had a parking problem or anything close to a problem. They have certain weird rules - no reservations unless you've got 6 or more, and if your entire party isn't there when it's time to be seated your reservation can - and many times will - be shunted aside. The reason is that they always have people waiting to get in there, so you snooze you lose. Yeah, cash, checks or AMEX - it surprised me the first time. So I got an AMEX card. You can use it at Costco too (which also doesn't take VISA).
For groups they serve family style. Frankly, it's a good thing because the portions are very generous and it's all good. A couple of pastas (the orricetti (sp?) is amazing, their legendary eggplant Parmesan), a fish (the Rock Fish - delicious!), a meat dish - and everybody is happy. You want to do it up, get some of their calamari and/or white pizza as an appetizer - you will be impressed. The food top to bottom is great. I've taken many guests from big cities there who know great restaurants and the feedback is "100% OMG Great!" When Chicago and New York folks take notice, maybe just maybe you should too. 4-5 entrees for 6 people is more than enough - otherwise you're taking stuff home. Lots of great wines at reasonable prices.
I go to Mama Zu to entertain, for special occasions, or when I just need to go. It ain't Oilve Garden. But then ... Olive Garden can't hold a candle to Mama Zu! And I mean by a very, very large margin.
Any way you cut it, Mama Zu rocks out. Go, and go again.
To the poster about gift certificates - yeah, I can understand that maybe people weren't ready for that. Maybe MZ ought to set up an online thing for that. But regardless, this is a great spot.
I selected "Other" for the theme of this restaurant because there was no category named "Hell on Earth."
I'm never going back to this place again. Ever. I am so freaking upset right now I had to ask my husband to take me home. I waited in the car for 20 minutes while he was inside desperately trying to get a gift card for my father for Christmas. My husband and I had kind of enjoyed the food once before and thought, although the place is a dump and the parking is terrible, that my dad might enjoy something on the menu. My dad is difficult to please and only eats Italian food, and if I hadn't gotten him dozens of Mama Cucina's (delicious place btw) gift cards before, I wouldn't have even tried for something different. The hostess told my husband upon his arrival that a gift card "would be awhile" and haughtily walked away without another word. He waited. And waited. Then he left to tell me it didn't look like it was going to happen. I kindly asked him to go back, and try again, as this was the LAST stop on my xmas shopping list and I was eager to get it over with. He went back and a manager told him Amex wasn't accepted for gift cards. "Cash only - if you've eaten here before you would have known that." What a d*ck. My husband walked out, but I swear I would have punched the guy in the face because I don't have the patience for rude service staff like my spouse. Sorry, it's 2010 and I don't have $100 in cash on me in the city of Richmond waiting to be stolen off my person. BOYCOTT MAMMA ZU. Let's make the owner lose out on some business this winter - it's not acceptable to have people like that on the floor. Time to pack it up and get the heck out of Richmond. Go to Mama Cucina's in Innsbrook instead. The food is better too. Seriously. I'm not just saying that in my fit of anger :)
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish is the one NOT THERE. Try Mama Cucina's or a box of Kroger pasta and some generic spaghetti sauce.
We had to wait for over an hour, then were told that we had to order "family style" since there were more than 4 in our party and finally they only take cash, checks and American Express. What kind of place takes personal checks but not a debit card ??? The food was good but not worth that much hassle. They have no diet soda but they do have teaspoons in the iced tea (but there were no sweeteners on the table, luckily I carry Splenda with me)
Favorite Dish: The eggplant was very well browned but not at all greasy, quite good.
This is an authentic Italian restaraunt hidden in the Oregon Hill area. It's a no frills experience. The menus is on a chalk board and the wine is served in jelly jar glasses. Don't let this deter you the food is absolutely awesome!
Favorite Dish: I've never had a bad dish here. Order what you like it will be great.
Hole in the wall Italian joint. Some people say it's the best in Richmond, but I don;t agree. It's o.k. and the neighborhood is full of toothless men wearing wifebeaters.