Mama Lion Ricardo Zarate Mama Lion

Mama Lion

601 S. Western Ave. (6th St.)
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Cuisine: Peruvian / Asian
This glamorous Koreatown supper-club/restaurant has two attractions: the menu from chef Ricardo Zarate and music.
Openings: Dinner Tues.-Sat. 6 p.m.-10 p.m.


Mama Lion, Los Angeles, CA

Mama Lion Restaurant Review:

About the restaurant: Mama Lion's aim is to put a contemporary spin on the supper club. We like the mix of design elements: brick walls, royal blue glass tables, blue velvet couches, brown leather sofas, high tables, low tables, curtains separating the semi-private room (actually the best place to enjoy the evening), high industrial ceiling, and let us not forget the center piece: a majestic bar.

Likes: The rich décor, a good showcase for chef Ricardo Zarate’s cuisine.
Dislikes: If you are coming for the food, keep in mind it can get noisy and dark to savor the dishes when the music comes into full action.

Food & Drinks: We have been following chef Ricardo Zarate in Los Angeles for a long time, so we were happy to hear that he has taken on the role of "Culinary Partner" at Mama Lion. That would be a good excuse to have his food again. Zarate hails from Peru, so he excels in combining Peruvian dishes with Asian influences. The kampachi ceviche with ponzu, rayu on an avocado mousse, or the kimchi chaufa (Peruvian kimchi fried rice with shimeji, aji huacatay sauce and egg sunny side up) are perfect examples. The tacos (pork chicharron or mushroom) are made with blue corn tortillas. The tonkatsu bone-in pork chop is fried as it should. The lomo saltado is made with skirt steak, giving character to this traditional Peruvian dish. Get your cameras (and taste buds) ready for the herb-smoked lamb chops served with gochujang, anticucho and pickled cucumber. After all this --- we forgot to mention the sea bass ceviche frito with chipotle leche de tigre --- we could not resist the eggplant tartare, and we are glad we did not leave without trying and finishing it. The sad part: there are no desserts --- and we know Zarate can make some good ones. A few wine and beer options are available, but we recommend taking a cue from the luminescent bar and ordering a cocktail. The spirits selection puts an emphasis on scotch and Japanese whiskey.