Oakland >Food & Dining > Mama's Royal Cafe
This homey cafe between Oakland's Temescal and Piedmont areas is a neighborhood favorite for hearty brunch portions and quirky napkin art.. For high-quality hangover helpers, Oakland residents come from around town to this tiny eatery decorated in hand-drawn napkins and kitschy '50s artifacts, where weekend brunch often means an hour-plus wait shuffling around the sidewalk out front. But ask any of these hungry regulars and they'll tell you the food is worth the wait--innovative omelets or eggs Benedict paired with seasoned homefries, monster burgers and sandwiches, a choice of dishes from the rotating daily specials. And rather than making up for quality with quantity, the proverbial Mama supplies both: generously heaped plates are made from top-notch ingredients like Acme bread, Hobb's bacon, Niman Ranch beef, New York sharp cheddar and the like. And the ultimate test for diner-style meals? The coffee is from Peerless, it's bottomless and it's exactly what you need on a late Sunday morning.
Three times is NOT a charm! Can't get it right! Hairy potatoes and wrong meals! YIKES.
My husband and I went to Mama's Royal Cafe. What a huge & costly dissapointment. We waited 20 minutes to be seated (not bad). I ordered the corned beef hash, and my husband ordered a bacon & cheese omelette. After waiting 15 minutes for the food to arrive, my husband saw that he had received a completely different omelette. After waiting to let the waitress know for over 5 minutes we told her of the mistake. She apologized and told him that it would be really quick for him to get a new omelette. She took the plate and left. By this time, my meal was getting cold, and my husband told me to start eating. I took my time, but by the time his new omelette arrived, I was halfway finished with my meal.
His new omelette was fine, but there was a large hair in the potatoes. The waitress finally appeared again, after another 5 minutes of staring at the hair. Again she apologized and offered to get him another meal. My husband's appetite was rapidly dissapearing, but he decided to give the place one more chance. He asked the waitress if the french toast or the pancakes were better. She recommended the french toast, as the pancakes were unimpressive. He ordered the french toast & one hot link. By this point I was completely finished eating. When breakfast #3 finally appeared (10 minutes later) it was not the french toast that he ordered, but the unimpressive pancakes. Couldn't they get it right after three tries? My husband told the waitress that this was not what he ordered, She apologized and said, well, you will like these, and I am giving you some of this for free. He ate a little of the pancakes (which were indeed unimpressive) and the one link, and asked for the check. When the check came, the only thing we were not charged for was the ONE HOT LINK. After spending over an hour without any food, shouldn't his meal have been free- especially since it was not what he ordered anyway? After spending 22 dollars on a bummer of a meal, we agreed never to go back there again!
service was terrible. my girlfriend and i waited for 2+ hours to be seated and to get our food. although others seated around us arrived a long time after we did, they were served and finished their meals before we even got ours! although the waitresses are polite once they finally serve you, they are mostly oblivious and neglectful, no matter how many times they pass your table. if you don't mind the extremely long wait, the food is delicious. you may want to consider having a light snack before you go.
I've been coming back to Mama's for 29 years. I was introduced to Mama's when I was a college student and the food still holds up. I only come for breakfast on the weekends (not brunch as there's no champagne or beer, boo hoo). Wonderful, greasy home-fried potatoes (with sour cream) and eggs, with veggie specialties and applewood smoked chicken sausage and chroizo; definitely not a place for a diet. The wait is lon to be seated AND to get your food. This didn't used to be the case, kitchen management must have changed around 1999 or 2000, which is when I first noticed excruciatingly long waits for food. (Come on, we've already waited almost an hour for a table, don't make us wait for our food as long, too.) Aside from that I find the wait staff polite and efficient, and the decor funky and arty. It's my kind of place.
Service SUCKED. We waited 1hr + for a group of 6. The menu was good, but was overshadowed by the terrible service. We had to ask our server repeatedly for our oj. Then when the breakfast arrived, they only brought 5. We informed our server immediatedly that we were missing an entree. After several inquiries the entree arrived 45 minutes later. Our server offered NO APOLOGY or made any attempt to make amends. Unfortunately, we recommended this place to our 4 friends who came. Never again.
Distinctly Oakland Breakfast. A couple of different friends on the east bay recommended this place, so it was time to try Mama's Royal. My wife and I went on Friday around noon for a late breakfast, and the wait was only minimal. Some of the restaurant interior details reveal that this place used to be a chinese restaurant called Royal Cafe. The atmosphere is comfortable and has a distinctly Oakland feel. (This is actually a good thing!) The menu and specials offer a vast selection of breakfast items, including blueberry pancakes, omlettes, benedicts, and oatmeal. We shared an eggs and veggie sausage special, with ACME sourdough toast, and home fries, an order of french toast, and a bowl of warm buttery grits. All the food was super tasty, as was the coffee. After tip, the cost of all that food was $25. We'll be back to this Oakland gem.
cool spot to go for breakfast. I love Mama's!! The staff is eager to please and the whole place has a relaxed feel to it. The food is delicious and well presented. The wait for tables is lengthy but worth it.
Best Breakfast in Bay Area. Best breakfast in S.F. Bay Area... period! Anybody eating here had better be prepared for a long visit, as there is usually a line going out the front door, with people waiting to get in. The wait is certainly worth it. Breakfast and lunch just like Mama used to make it (if Mama was a graduate from a culinary arts school!) If you don't see it on the menu (unlikely,) just ask for it! Four star eats!
if you've got the time and the money.... great scene, good locals, great service, plus above average all natural breakfast food, but the long wait and the cash-only policy make the very pricey food seem a lot less worth it when you are tired and hung-over from Saturday night and just wanna eat. smartly, a Chinese-American couple has opened a breakfast joint across the street that steals a lot of people out of line at Mama's. Good, yes, but not *that* good.
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