This was only our fourth stop so far on the Tamale Safari but we feel like we’ve already found our “Tamale Mecca.” The menu at Mama’s Hot Tamales easily exceeds the variety and quality of other places. Read on…
Rants, Raves, and Reviews:
Tamale heaven is closer than you think. Just ask Mama – or any of the charming servers over at Mama’s Hot Tamales. We tried every Tamale on the day’s menu. From the Peruvian Spinach & Mushroom (made with The Peruvian pepper Aji) to the classic Mexican Pork -they were all divine.
Fresh, firm, savory and a perfect blend of spices, these Tamales are made with love. We were even excited about the chips and salsa…hot and flavorful with the chips fresh and warm. And be sure to stay for dessert -what else but more Tamales -a wonderful treat of pineapple masa that reaffirmed my faith in the concept that if I only had one food to eat on a desert isle, send in the Tamales and make sure that Mama made them.
Mama’s Hot tamales is one of those places you would never discover unless you lived or worked nearby or like us, were on a mission to discover great tamales. Hopefully Rosemary has already convinced you that this place is a must for anyone who loves tamales.
Now the bad news…
Mama’s is a tiny restaurant with short business hours and sketchy parking. We parked on 8th street at hour-long meters which really didn’t give us time to savor everything. You need more than an hour to try several of these tamales and a cup of their delicious hot chocolate. The restaurant is located across the south side of Macarthur Park but I think parking might be more plentiful on the north side of the park. The best bet is to take the Wilshire bus lines which stop right at the park.
I always thought that I made the best tamales in the world, but I humbly submit a tip of the hat to Mama’s Hot Tamales.
Masa: Rich, firm and savory. Nuff said.
Filling: Mama got it right -from traditional to creative, Mama’s fillings are tasty and varied.
Presentation: From the colorful fiesta style dishes to the festive decor, the corn husk classic fit right in.
Location: Not as bad as it seems, this bustling area of LA is easily accessible but best avoided on street sweeping Thursdays. A Sunday brunch would solve that problem!
Masa: Very good. They don’t use lard and the texture is quite light. As usual I could use a bit less Masa but I am not complaining too much here.
Filling: The best! I loved the variety. Even the sweet tamales were good and I hate sweet tamales.
Presentation: Pretty standard corn husks on a plate. These tamales are also large and 2 barely fit on a plate.
Location: Very stressful parking situation. If you drive, you will be about a block away.Metered parking is only an hour and the meter maids are out in full-force.
Mama’s Hot Tamales was established as an economic development project in order to provide education and job skills to nearby residents. It is an apprentice-operated business and part of the effort to revitalize the area surrounding Macarthur Park.
Mama’s Hot Tamales
2122 West Seventh Street (a half a block west of Alvarado St., and directly across
the southern border of MacArthur Park)
Los Angeles, CA 90057. Tel. 213.487.7474
Open: 11 am – 3:30 pm seven days a week