My husband and I were famished after sightseeing all day at Hearst Castle and driving back to Santa Barbara area we could not wait to find a good restaurant. I searched Trip Advisor on my phone and found Mama's Meatball in San Luis Obispo. We didn't have reservations, but when we arrived, we were greeted and told it would be a few minutes to be seated. We were also advised that there were issues with their credit card machine and could only take cash that evening. Not a problem. The restaurant is small and the kitchen can be viewed from the dining area as the pick up window is near the front of the restaurant. It was bustling and full that evening, but a couple of large parties left after we entered.
After being seated and given the menu, we had a difficult time deciding because the menu was fairly extensive. We also had trouble reading the menu and had to use the lights on our cellphones to read the small print in the candlelit restaurant. Still, no huge problem.
My husband finally decided on the Eggplant Parmigiani, one of his favorite Italian meals. And I was torn between the Gnocchi di Zucca, (pumpkin gnocchi) and a salmon dish. When our lovely waitress mentioned that I could add chicken or another protein to the gnocchi, I went with the pumpkin gnocchi with chicken. A basket-full of mini-garlic rolls arrived and we dug in. They were warm and fresh and just right on the garlic and herbs. Our dinners arrived not too long after and looked and smelled divine. The pumpkin gnocchi was excellent -- with a delicate sauce and the pumpkin not overwhelming. Just perfect! The added chicken was good -- grilled a little dry, but the delicious sauce helped. I tasted my husband's eggplant parmesan and fell in love with that dish too. We were both very impressed and pleased with Mama's Meatball and wish we had a wonderful Italian place like it in our neighborhood. I could hear diners at a nearby table mention that they come there often and love everything they have tried.
We turned down dessert because we were still relishing our dinners and didn't want anything sweet after that. But it was mentioned that my birthday had been celebrated with our trip to California and our sweet waitress set us up with a huge slice of cheesecake with strawberries. How could we resist? It was wonderful and very kind of her to surprise me and we appreciated the gesture and the cheesecake.
I would not hesitate to recommend Mama's Meatball and hope we can return when we are in the area. the food and the great wait staff there made this Mama very happy!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.