I rode by Mami Nora’s Raleigh location on Wake Forest Road probably more than 100 times, always wondering about its Peruvian cuisine and if it’s interior was as funky as its bright yellow and red exterior. I finally decided to stop in for lunch a couple of weeks ago and have been back twice since then (one of those visits was to its Cary location). So far, I have loved almost everything I’ve ordered.
First, a little bit of history. Mami Nora’s got its start in Durham in 2007, and later expanded to its second location in Raleigh. It recently opened its third restaurant in Cary. Mami Nora’s is famous for its rotisserie chicken, which has a special marinade and is roasted in imported ovens from Perú. The ovens use wood charcoal — no gas or electric heat is needed. This delectable chicken is paired with traditional South American sides, such as fried plantains, yucca fries or black beans, to name a few.
According to Mami’s website, the “free range chickens are hormone free, local, and free of all major FDA allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, milk, soy and gluten). We purchase our produce from the Farmer’s Market whenever possible.”
You can order one of Mami Nora’s five made-to-order plates, which include Lomo Saltado, Pollo Saltado, Chicken Salad, Arroz Caufa and a Veggie Plate, ranging in price from $6.99 to $11.95. Or, choose the delicious chicken, which comes with two sides and dipping sauces. Mami Nora’s menu makes it easy order.
Step One: Choose Your Pollo.
- Quarter Dark (leg + thigh) — $6.99
- Quarter White (breast + wing) — $7.99
- Half Chicken — $8.99
- Whole Chicken — $15.50
Step Two: Choose Two Sides.
Regular sides include white rice, black beans, house salad, cole slaw, hand cut fries and chicken soup. A la carte prices are $2.75 for a regular serving and $4.25 for large.
Premium sides are also available (add $.50) and include yucca fries, tostones (fried green plantains) and maduros (fried sweet plantains.)
Step Three: Choose Your Extras.
This is where you order specialty or traditional fountain drinks and desserts, which include caramel flan and alfajores (caramel cookies).
(*Note: These three yellow menu images are from Mami Nora’s website.)
So here’s a rundown of what I’ve had so far.
Rotisserie chicken, quarter white. Absolutely excellent. This chicken is moist, juicy, tender and perfectly spiced. It’s so hard not to order this because it smells so wonderful when you’re walking up to the restaurant.
Black Beans. I thought these were quite good, and even better if you add some of the spicy green sauce to them.
Corn. This was the one menu item I thought was just okay and nothing special — to me it tasted like it came out of a can. I wound up mixing it with my black beans, which helped. Sorry, no photo.
White rice. I tried this on my second visit to Mami Nora’s, just because I saw so many people order it the first time I dined. And I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure what makes this rice so darn good, but it is and I would definitely get it again.
Chicken Soup. Those of you who read my blog know I’m a soup-aholic (thanks for the term, Melissa D), so this was a definite try. Nice and hearty with lots of chicken and veggies, all it needed was some salt and pepper. This is the soup I want when I’m sick. Take notes, Brad.
Yucca Fries. Yum, yum, yum. These are so tasty – crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. I took this meal to go, but luckily tried a few of these beauties while they were still hot, before I left the parking lot. They weren’t as crispy once I got home, but still quite good. I’ll eat these in the restaurant from here on out. Well worth the extra $.50.
Manduros (fried sweet plantains). My absolute favorite, bar none. Unbelievably awesome. Get these, get these, get these! I wish I had some now. And definitely worth the extra $.50.
Sauces. I preferred the spicy green sauce over the yellow mustard-mayo sauce, but both are good.
Next time I visit, which will be soon, I plan to try one of the made-to-order plates and a dessert.
I think the flow of the Cary restaurant is much better than the one in Raleigh, at least when ordering (it’s newer and cleaner as well.) The Raleigh location is quirky, inside and out, and has covered outside seating when the weather is cooperative.
The staff at both locations are quite friendly. You order at the counter and go get your food when called, so there’s minimal interaction, especially when compared to a place with actual servers. Lunch is always busy, but the lines move quickly.
- Price: Quite reasonable, both in terms of quality and quantity.
- Service: 4.75. Everyone seems friendly and nice.
- Food: 4.95. Wonderful chicken and sides.
- Recommend: Absolutely. I’ll go with you!
- Kid friendly: I saw some kids who were chowing down and I would not hesitate to bring Gabe and Lexi.
1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb
Eat, drink and be merry!
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