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“Favorite spot in Indy” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mama Irma

Mama Irma
Ranked #322 of 2,339 Restaurants in Indianapolis
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Favorite spot in Indy”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2014

This is the spot I bring friends too when they visit. Tucked away in Fountain Square (FS) neighborhood just outside downtown, the food is outstanding in a small fun restaurant. FS continues to add new bars and restaurants, drawing more locals to the area.

Have not found a dish there that I haven't liked.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Brian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    32
    17
    10
    2
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
92 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Very frustrating experience”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2014

I love Peruvian food and was anxious to try a restaurant to compare with Machu Picchu, which has always been a favorite of ours. This was a mistake; in fact, it became a nightmare. The first time, it took two tries on two separate evenings to get a dinner. The first time I showed up early evening with family but was sent away. They said that no children allowed after 6pm, although there was no indication anywhere of this policy, either on line or in the restaurant. On my second try I called first to confirm that the unwritten rules had not changed again and that a family dinner before 6pm would be okay. I wasn’t even sure if the rule meant that we could be served until 6pm or perhaps that we had to finish and leave by 6! I was told when I called that after 6pm actually was okay “unless there are a lot of people drinking that night”. That was bizarre.

At dinner, we told the waitress that we would eat family style, so we would serve from the serving plates onto individual plates. There were attractive plates at each seat, and we used them for our individual servings. Only after we had finished did the owner come to the table to tell us that those plates were decorative only and got clean enough to use for food. I had no way of knowing this, since they had known from the beginning that we would need plates to eat family style, yet these were the only extra plates provided.

I also mentioned that we had a Groupon. It was good for four people, but it did not specify any restrictions on what we could order. We had five people—3 adults and 2 toddlers—so we order 3 entrees, along with sides and alcohol. I have used many such Groupons before at other restaurants, and always if four entrees are required, the terms state so. This one did not. I would certainly understand if they want to specify a minimum number of entrees—many restaurants do. However, the certificate did not include that restriction, and they didn’t tell us when we ordered, even though I offered them the certificate before we ordered. As they brought the bill, they finally told us that we could not use the prepaid dinner certificate, because we had not purchased four entrees. This was in spite of the fact that we told them at the beginning that we had the dining certificate. We then ordered another entrée to go, because we had no desire to spend any more time in the restaurants. This was another mistake. We tried their fried chicken, which is listed as one of their specialties. It was actually very dry chicken tenders.

When we received the bill, I offered my American Express card, which according to the decal on the door was accepted. She hesitated for a few moments and then told me that she really could not take AmEx, because “they will charge me $3.00 for the purchase”. Even though they had a sign saying that they take AmEx, I didn’t argue the point but gave her another card instead.

I debated how much of a tip to leave. I resented leaving one, but this was not the waitress’ fault, and I did not want to take it out on her. During the time while I was considering what to do about the tip, the owner hovered over me, watching me preparing to enter the amount. Finally I asked her to give me a minute, and she said okay but continued to stand there watching what I wrote!

The food was generally fine, although the servings were small compared with the competition (Machu Picchu). The exception was I had expected something like the large portion of fantastic fried chicken that I had eaten previously at Machu Picchu, which is another Peruvian restaurant in Indy with much larger servings, better service, and better prices. The food was generally good, but it does not match up to Machu Picchu. The ceviche was fine, although not nearly as good as that at La Parada, a restaurant that I reviewed recently. The serving was smaller, with far fewer (and smaller) shrimp that did not have the wonderful texture of La Parada’s.

I should have taken a hint from the two negatives that were obvious even before we ordered dinner, including both rejection of our family for dinner on my first visit and the nearly empty restaurant the second time. The place was empty other than one other table that had one diner when we arrived and four by the time we left. At no time was there more than one other table occupied, even though we were there from 5:30pm to 7pm.

This was the most negatives that I have ever experienced at a restaurant anywhere. For the food alone, I probably would have given it a rating of 3 or 4, but the overall experience was terrible, which is the main reason for the extremely low rating. There are many wonderful ethnic restaurants in Indianapolis. Several are among my favorites. My strong suggestion is unless the atmosphere of Fountain Square matters more to you than the service or food itself, consider Machu Picchu, which is well worth visiting, in spite of the boring strip mall location. For all these reasons, I considered giving this restaurant a 1 (terrible). The experience was a nightmare.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank NanjingBob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis
Level Contributor
142 reviews
113 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Fantastic and authentic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2014 via mobile

Wonderful Peruvian food restaurant located just south east of downtown Indianapolis in the Fountain Square neighborhood. This small store front restaurant seats about 35 people and was very busy for Saturday lunch.

The menu has a variety of authentic Peruvian dishes made with the freshest ingredients. Our meal was excellent as was the friendly and speedy service. My lunch of Ceviche Mixto was a large portion and delicious, the best in Indy.

Thank Mama Irma for this local dining jewel.

Helpful?
Thank IndyGuyontheGo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Cozy and packed with flavor”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2013 via mobile

Very good food. We had the pesto linguini with steak. A lot of pesto (but can you have you much?), which made for an intense flavor. Also had the Tilapia )served raw with Peruvian spice, which include a lot of lime. The staff is personable. The restaurant is run by a family. Get a reservation. If not, You may not get a table. It's a small and popular place, and well worth the visit.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank jcarleton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Are we talking about the same restaurant?”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2013

After seeing this restaurant come up again and again on Groupon, reading positive reviews online, and generally being interested in trying Peruvian food, I decided to bite the bullet and check Mama Irma's in Fountain Square out. I am very fond of the couple blocks around the restaurant, and expected it to have a glimmer of the charm of the surrounding places. I understand that it is a locally-owned, hole in the wall kind of place, but I was disappointed from the moment we went in. The place is drab and boring, and going in at prime lunch hours, we were surprised that there was only one other table sat (who left while we were eating, leaving us alone). The waitress put us in a cramped corner despite there being no one else, and I was sat next to the fire extinguisher (which had broken off its plastic hook and was on the ground). The menu was small, which I like, with the option of seafood dishes, beef, and chicken. Since "mixed seafood" in the description is always a red flag for me (it's not that hard to write out the names of the fish, unless they don't know themselves), I opted for a land-option. It took a surprisingly long time for the waitress to get around to us- so long that we considered going somewhere else- and after being told that my first 3 choices were not available ("I guess we didn't order enough," she said), I settled on the Seco de Res ("the most popular," she said). Now, I am not experienced in Peruvian food, but what I got was day-old rice and a cheap cut of meat, for $11.25. I did not experience my beef "falling apart at the touch of a fork" because it was not cooked for long enough; in fact, I had a hard time getting through it with a knife. Dessert, the Mazzamora Morada, was indeed tasty, but not good enough to make up for the bad service, boring atmosphere, and meh food. Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing and the server had an off day, but I'll never know, because I have no interest in giving it another shot.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Jaclyn T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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