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“Mama's Hawaiin BBQ: WOW!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mama's Hawaiian BBQ

Mama's Hawaiian BBQ
850 E. Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 792-2350
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Ranked #327 of 1,619 Restaurants in Tucson
Cuisines: Barbecue, Hawaiian
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
75 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Mama's Hawaiin BBQ: WOW!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

I've never tried Hawaiin BBQ before, but I consider myself a BBQ fanatic. I adore Brush Fire BBQ (brushfirebbq.com) to the extent that I would eat there even if I wasn't hungry at all. So when my bestie suggested trying Mama's Hawaiin BBQ near to the U of A campus, I was more than ready to get my Que on.

Mama's has ample parking, which can be rare on Campus, and right away there were smells of BBQ heaven before we even reached the door. Mama's is a converted fast food place where the menu is posted on boards above the kitchen window--but don't let that turn you away from some of the best Hawaiian food in town.

We basically ordered every meat (except for the shrimp) on the menu by way of the Big Kahuna Plate and the Kalbi short ribs; so we tried the chicken, pulled pork, beef, and ribs cut Korean style. Our combos came with two scoops of white rice and macaroni salad. On the side we had Teriyaki and Hot Sauce (it seemed to be a stewed tomato, pineapple, chili petine mix). They also serve Mahi fillets, tofu, various Hawaiian hamburgers, Spam dishes, and wings.

This being my first foray into Hawaiian food, I was a little skeptical: the plates I saw coming out to customers didn't seem to have anything on the meats, and why serve white rice with macaroni salad? I thought for a minute it was weird to serve a couple of starches right beside each other. But then I dug into my own plate, and let me say, the macaroni salad was dangerously scrumptious, and the white rice was a perfect compliment to the robust flavors of the meat, whether it be the chicken, pork, beef, or ribs. There was a distinct and balanced flavor to each of the grilled meats, not too heavy, not too thin.

The Teryaki was of the thinner variety, but subtly flavorful when drizzled over everything: the meat, rice, and macaroni salad. The "hot sauce" was not just delicious, it snuck up on you with its heat. We were stuffed, but had enough room to enjoy some pineapple upside down cake which was dense, tart, and just plain delicious.

I've asked other people who are familiar with Hawaiian BBQ, and 99% of them say Mama's (at the U of A and in Sahuarita) is a hands down favorite. Even as I type this, I am ready to go back and try it again and again.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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22 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

The food is really great, especially the shredded pork. My husband is a big food snob and he loves them. I also use them for catering at work all the time, they are extremely reasonably priced and have great presentation.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cotopaxi, Colorado
Level Contributor
506 reviews
385 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 194 helpful votes
“A bit of the islands on Speedway”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2011

We saw this new restaurant on Speedway and thought we would try since we have enjoyed Hawaiian food. It is a converted fast food place and runs on the same lines. So three dots for atmosphere. However, it is a nice change from the usual burgers. I had the beef teriyaki while my wife had the chicken katsu. There were spam dishes available.

The service was good, both orders came out quickly. They also offered free wifi. Four dots for service (it was fast food style). There were large portions. The beef was a little tough in places but there was a lot of it. We also got rice on the side. Everything was cooked well and tasted good. So four dots for the food and value. Over all four dots, we would come back.

  • Visited November 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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