Mama Coco

Tue-Sat, 11AM-9PM | Sun-Mon, 11AM-8PM
753 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070
Nearby Places
  • Beside UPS Store
  • Near Blind Tasting Beer and Wine Bar
  • Beside Faith & Spirits
Quick Information
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Mama Coco : Authentic Mexican Cuisines ala Fiesta

Mama Coco Cocina Mexicana, a family-owned Mexican restaurant, offers a casual dining experience, blending authentic Mexican Cuisine and brightly colored Decor.

Co-owners Omar Pina and Monica Pilotzi, who have two kids, ages 8 and 14, have lived in Menlo Park for 18 years. This is the first time they’ve run a restaurant, but Mr. Pina is familiar with the business. He has worked at restaurants in Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I wanted to open my own restaurants for two two to three years, he said when I ate at Cafe Barone a few months ago, I looked at Mex to go across the street and thought it was a great location. I called the owner and she was willing to sell the space.

Under new ownership, the restaurant has undergone a huge transformation: freshly painted walls — blue, red, and yellow, influence by the colors of restaurants in Mexico, according to Mr. Pina — new floors, and a redesigned patio.

Ms. Pilotzi grandmother, Sotoro Tarano, is it inspiration for the restaurant’s name. Known as Mama Coco to residents of Mexico City, Ms. Tarano established the name (derived from her first name) when she fed home cooked Mexican Cuisine to people in her community.

“She raised 12 kids by herself,” said Ms Pilotzi. “She started to cook at home, invited a few workers from the street, and sooner house was full. She fed the whole Community, sometimes for free. She was everyone’s mama.” The restaurants menus uses Mama Coco’s recipes. Among them are Mama Coco’s empanadas, homemade turnovers filled with vegetables, cheese, and corn; and Mama Coco ensalada poblano, salad with peppers, avocado, lime juice, and salmon or shrimp.

It serves basic dishes like tacos and burritos, as well as more unusual entrees like salmon vs Cruz, pan-roasted salmon with Vera Cruz salsa semicolon and Coke Anita to Bill, suckling pig. The restaurant also serves wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Mr. Pina and Ms. Pilotzi said they design their restaurant for a family feel, adding to the patio and area for kids to draw and play. We want to bring families to the restaurant so they can start making memories, noted Mr. Pina. Customers like it because there aren’t many family restaurants around. Parents can bring their kids and still enjoy their food.

Ms. Tarano died in May, a couple of months before the opening. “She didn’t know about the name. We wanted to surprise her,” said Mr Pina. But the restaurant is lined with reminders every lessons, according to Ms. Pilotzi. “On the walls are picture frames with paper cutouts of Spanish words, including amor (love), tradicion (tradition), and Sabor (flavor). they’re things she taught us growing up.”

From Official Website | Facebook


Top Reviews

Anita L. | Yelp
What a find! Mama Coco is a very unsuspecting place located on Laurel Ave in San Carlos. But as soon as I saw they had queso fundido on the menu, I knew I had to give this place a shot.

My husband and I came here for a pre-dinner snack after work and got the queso fundido, the empanadas, and a bowl of their tortilla soup. The queso fundido was by far my favorite – super cheesey and flavorful and paired with a few warm corn tortillas on the side – total bliss.The empanadas were a close second – they were nicely toasted and full of cheesy flavor – these were my husband’s favorite dish. The tortilla soup was a nice lighter side to go with the heavier cheese dishes.

We ended up deciding to get an order of mole chicken enchiladas to go – when we dug into this later on, we were both blown away by how delicious this was. Mole tends to be a hit or miss for me, but this dish was definitely a hit. The mole sauce had just the right combo of ingredients to make it savory and rich without too much of one ingredient taking over. Would definitely recommend coming by to check out Mama Coco – we will for sure be back.


Dianna L. | Yelp
I had no idea!! I have passed this place a million times and have never stopped. Why have I never stopped!? This place was SO GOOD!!! Omg I totally had no idea I had this little Mexican restaurant right under my nose every single day. BEST fish tacos! The chips and guacamole were delicious. Did I mention the fish tacos? I can’t write a better review.

Next time I am trying all there margaritas and all the food. I’m bringing my husband, I’m bringing my daughter, I’m bringing my son, this way I can back several different times! Service was more than 5 stars. The girls working were so happy and polite. Outside area was very clean and good location. Can’t wait to come back!! Lesson learned, don’t keep walking by the small places, they turn out to be diamonds in the rough.


Steven W. | Yelp
We love this place, we frequent here since it’s close to home and consistently good. The staff is super friendly and we truly enjoy every interaction and dinner!


Malley D. | Yelp
I’d been wanting to try this place for awhile and finally got here with a friend a few months ago.

Since then, I’ve been 3 more times! I can’t get enough of their awesome margaritas – the strawberry and jalapeño are my favorite, though I’m still waiting to try the tamarind one. They put Gabon on the rims, which is amazing and so much better than salt!

The food here is also excellent, I’m partial to the enchiladas with green salsa, but have also had the burrito and have been with friends who’ve had the tacos and flautas. All excellent! I love that the enchiladas have a flavorful, not too spicy, sauce and their meat is really good! Obviously, I always have to get guac because it’s extra just like me, and they have a really wonderful guac and house salsa. Their chips are crunchy and taste freshly made – never too thin or stale like other places I’ve been too.

I got a to-go burrito for my husband last time, and he said it was excellent. They did a fantastic job of bringing it right as we were finishing up so it wouldn’t be all soggy.

Their staff is friendly, professional, and accommodating, and service here is very quick. 10/10 would recommend and already craving another trip in as I write this review…


Veronica A. | Yelp
Catching up with one of my best friends on work and life, what better place than Mama Coco. We enjoyed a carne asada burrito and chicken mole enchiladas. It was all authenticity delicious! Staff was amazing and service was great!


Karina W. | Yelp
One of my favorite spots in all of downtown San Carlos, and also a great spot to bring visitors to for some really good food with a casual ambiance. Love their decorated patio seating (which also features heaters for chilly nights). The staff is always super warm and friendly, and the food is always great (they have a lot of delicacy dishes that are less commonly found at other Mexican restaurants).

My favorite is their cochinita pibil (marinated pork shoulder cooked in banana leaves, served with a side of coconut rice and mango-jicama salad) – it’s so tender and flavorful- perfect for if you’re feeling extra peckish! Their drink selection is pretty wide- they offer an assortment of tasty margaritas, mojitos, and other mixed drinks!


Mark N. | Yelp
Excited to see Mama Coco in San Carlos! Wonderful friendly service and I LOVE their Cochinta Pibil. Can’t wait to return and try more things and maybe some Margaritas!


Sammy L. | Yelp
Oh man. Delicious food and amazing service! The whole downtown area of San Carlos is a foodie paradise. I have yet to really explore many of the eateries and bars but this year, I am going to eat my heart out in this area.

All the dishes came out hot and flavorful. The owner has a couple different locations and this one just had the one year anniversary! Through the pandemic it made it through and it’s not a surprise because the food is really good. It’s not your typical greasy Mexican taqueria, which is one of my favorite meals lol. This place is elevated and the ingredients are so fresh and the combination of spices is on point.

The cocktails and Mexican style beers like the chavela is so refreshing. If it’s your first chavela come here and order it with the Modela Negra, let’s just say you’ll be hooked.

That cheese fondue appetizer in the croquette is so good with the chips, rich cheesy goodness with a little hint of roasted green jalapenos. Cannot wait to come back!

Parking is a hit or miss here, just gotta be lucky especially on weekends. They take reservations, especially for big parties and I highly recommend it!


Emmy P. | Yelp
I LOOOOVE MAMA COCO!! I come here almost every Friday after reading time at the reading bug. My little kids loooove the chips and salsa and they are FREE not like the other two Mexican restaurants that charge $3 which is ridiculous. My kids demolish their kids meals EVERY TIME. I order different dishes and I’m never disappointed.

Their guacamole is sooo creamy and DELICIOUS and the queso fundido (melted cheese) is to die for!!! Any of their fresh margaritas with the tajin ring are just PERFECT!! All the food is sooo TASTY, colorful and filling.

The staff is friendly and the owners are HUMBLE and HARD WORKING people. The picture of Mama Coco at the restaurant is just so sweet!! I’m happy that I get to support a local/family own business like this. I encourage everybody to give them a try. You won’t regret it!!


Kelee Z. | Yelp
My husband and I enjoyed our lunch at Mama Coco’s yesterday! The very pleasant young lady who served our lunch recommended the fish tacos and I’m here to say they were fantastic! The fish was grilled, not fried, there were four tacos to the order and the fish tasted fresh! Good service and good food…. We will definitely be going back!


Patricia A. | Yelp
This was the best Mexican food we have ever had! We went with our grandchildren (ages 4 1/2 and 7 1/2) and their parents for our first dinner out together at a restaurant (outside) since the pandemic began. We started with a pitcher of margaritas. So good! Much better than standard Margaritas I have been served before at other Mexican restaurants. Everyone, including the kids, LOVED their meals.

The menu was varied and extensive. I had the Chicken Flautas. Wow! Great smoky flavor. Others had the Carne a la Tampiquena, the Cochinita Pibil Plate, and the Four Tacos. One of the kids had the Flautitas and one had the beef tacos. All of us were ecstatic about our meals! The service was friendly and attentive. We ate early due to the kids and had a wonderfully calm experience. We will be back!


Payal V. | Yelp
I was so excited to see this restaurant in San Carlos. I had been to the Menlo Park location a few years ago and loved the food. It’s a very casual environment with great food. The dishes are always comfort food for me.

I sat outside on a Friday afternoon. The restaurant has a tent set up outside along with some tables set up alongside the restaurant. I got the chicken enchilada verde. It comes with two enchiladas , rice, and beans. It was a perfect size serving and really hit the spot. I’m so happy to have the restaurant nearby so I can introduce the rest of the family to it. We love Mexican food and often times order in for our family dinners. I know we’ll be ordering from here in the near future.


Emily D. | Yelp
Haven’t written a review in awhile but I whole heartedly recommend this restaurant and we only tried their takeout!! The food was beyond my expectations dare I say favorite Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area…. We have never had takeout so delicious, everything was fresh and seasoned to perfection, the portions were amazing and will have leftovers, and my picky toddler ate everything which is a win!! We will definitely be back and am looking forward to trying many more items on the menu.

For reference we ordered the guacamole, chicken burrito, chicken enchiladas the green salsa is incredible, tortilla soup, kids flautitas, and last but certainly not least the churros which arrived warm and were gone instantly!! The ice cream that came with the churros was put in the same takeout container and it arrived liquified so I recommend keeping the cold ice cream separate from the warm churros but other than that the meal was perfection!! So happy to have found such a wonderful restaurant


Christina B. | Yelp
We ordered burritos at Mama Coco and weren’t disappointed. The chicken and shrimp burritos were both great tasting and thicc. Great place great service!


Chad F. | Yelp
We went for the first time, everything is excellent service, price, and the food… will be coming back! Our server Juanita? I believe her name is… very sweet and great service… im bringing flowers to her… she rocks!


Maayan C. | Yelp
Yummy, we will be back! Enjoyed the fish taco plate, guacamole, and horchatas. 4 fish tacos are great to share- the fish is lightly crispy and so tasty! The mango and jicama topping is refreshing and the crema has a nice kick. Outdoor seating is very inviting and colorful and the staff is friendly. Every other dish that came out to other tables looked like something I’d like to try so hope to be back soon.


Gema B. | Yelp
In love with mama coco Staff is super nice and welcoming Food portions was great! I ordered the fish tacos with rice and beans yummy and the guac was great too loved the chips Over all 5 stars can’t wait to go back and try more!


Robert P. | Yelp
It has been a pretty significant time since I wrote my last review and well I had to have an experience that inspired me to resurrect from my Yelp retirement. This establishment was it. It could be because I haven’t had my mother’s home cooking for quite some time or maybe because i was dining with close friends but i found the food especially acceptable.

As a group we shared the guacamole, ceviche de camaron and the empanadas. I’ll speak to the guacamole and the ceviche as both were common fare in my household growing up. Empanadas while very good, I can’t speak to my upbringing as they weren’t common in my particular part of the motherland. The guacamole took me back to mom in her molcajete laboring away at grinding avocados with the onions, and tomates. Very fresh, very delicious. No blender here my friends, this guacamole was made by hand. The ceviche was as I remember my father making, nice fresh shrimp, avocados, tomates, cebollas (onions) a hint of ketchup (well that’s my assumption). brought back memories for sure.

For my main dish I went with the fish tacos. You get 4 hearty tacos full of fish, cabbage, onions and dressing. Biting into the tacos it took my back to my visit to San Felipe in Baja when I was much younger. Now the impressive part here is that normally in Baja you fry the fish in a batter but from what i could tell the tacos had grilled fish but still quite rich and full flavor. I’m glad I was recommended this place and I highly suggest it.

The food is exceptional home cooking. Everyone at my table enjoyed their meals. A friend had the mole enchiladas and my goodness that mole was a dark, rich color just like I remember my grandma making. Definitely coming back to try that.


Jessica O. | Yelp
Every delicious dish cooked with love!

Came here with my 7 friends and we were welcomed like family and left with our bellies full! We started with chips & guacamole, Mama Coco empanadas and fish ceviche to start, each full of fresh flavors and beautiful presentation. And a whole variety of drinks to match, great menu 🙂

For my main dish I had their cochinita pibil with coconut rice and wow, that meat was so tender and flavorful! The rice was smooth and creamy (not sweet) and balanced with the pork nicely. I tried my friend’s mole enchiladas — now I know what everyone is raving about! One is chicken, one beef. I would order all of those dishes again and then some! Highly recommend eating here, friendly (and masked!) staff, clean, festive atmosphere, and home style food. Locally owned family business.


Roxanne M. | Yelp
This restaurant is fantastic. Wonderful warm, attentive service, spectacular, authentic dishes. The food is made with love, there’s no doubt about it! The best chili relleno I’ve had. So many tasty dishes to choose from. The outdoor dining space is super comfortable.


Lauren C. | Yelp
Good food, friendly service, family owned, great for kids, nice outdoor seating. My dad said it was the best and most flavorful Chile relleno he’s ever had. Peach margarita was yummy and spicy! Chicken burritos were spot on. Kids loved their burritos. Will definitely go back.


Susan K. | Yelp
I didn’t take photos. Let me describe instead. I love a good Cochinita Pibil. We were a group of 6 and no one really wanted to share with me, so they ordered other things (pollocon mole, flautas, suizas de maricos…) None had heard of Cochinta Pibil before.

My dish came, a beautiful generous serving of succulent slow roasted pork in savory sauce, fresh sectioned oranges on top, coconut rice on one side, mango salad on the other. Other dishes looked good too, the mole is red, different (fresher tasting) from the dark brown one normally finds. The suizas with the green sauce looked good too, but everyone (except the pescatarian) agreed that mine was the best.

I will be going back just to share this dish with my husband. I love to cook, but don’t think I could make this better at home, I will also get that jalapeño Margarita again. Not too spicy, just enough. Well done Mama Coco, you have a new fan for high end Mexican food…especially the pork.


David A. | Yelp
My wife and I ate lunch here today. Bottom line? Wonderful food. I had chicken enchiladas plate with a small side salad. My wife had Seafood enchiladas. My wife reported the seafood tasted fresh and there was plenty of it. The food not only tastes delicious but is very nicely presented and the portions are good size. The prices are moderate and the people that own this place are very nice and thanked us several times for our business. We will definitely be back to have lunch or dinner here.


Pam S. | Yelp
The service is great and the meals are delicious! The best Mexican place in San Carlos in my opinion! I’ve done both take out and dining on their outdoor terrace. I’ve had their chicken tamales, 2 taco special, and chicken enchiladas w/red sauce on different occasions. I recommend all of them. My husband loves their chicken burritos.


Ad W. | Yelp
Had some surgeries done and could not eat solid food for a while. My craving throughout the two months was the chipotle and mole enchiladas Mama Cocos has. The food here is amazing and the service is excellent. Been to the Menlo Park location a few times and the service and food is excellent there as well. I would highly recommend this spot if you are craving authentic mexican food with a one of a kind flavor that other restaurants may lack on.


Gabriel B. | Yelp
We ordered takeout from her multiple times when that was the only option. And it was always delicious. For dine in it’s even better. The beans taste really good on their own. The rice taste really good on its own. Everything together is absolutely delicious. You can tell that this is cooked with fresh ingredients. You’ll love it. I guarantee it.


Liliana A. | Yelp
The best mexican food in San Carlos I went to mamá coco yesterday I ordered fish tacos and margaritas the best by the way the environment and the waitress are so nice I will definitely recomend this place


María B. | Yelp
I’ve been here twice and the service is great. The waitress are kind and nice and the food is deliciosa (also de portions). Definitely, one of my favorite restaurants in San Carlos.


Jacob M. | Yelp
So we stopped by this place randomly and I gotta say, best Flautas I’ve ever had. That seems like a weird thing to say but they had just the right amount of crunch, the seasoning on the chicken was on point and just a sprinkle of green salsa throughout. Wife had the ceviche which tasted a bit sweeter than traditionally seen. Margaritas were perfect. Would come again. Clean plates and full bellies.


Anastasia F. | Yelp
This is a relatively new restaurant on Laurel street that we tried out yesterday for take out. The fish tacos I had were one the best I have tried so far. Definitely will be coming back for more other dishes as well


Takako S. | Yelp
I came across this restaurant when I was searching for Mexican food in San Carlos. It’s fairly new and I was very happy to have founded it Location is nice in Downtown San Carlos with easy parking nearby and patio dining was setup very nicely with overhead heater and safe distance in between tables. Fajitas Quesadillas was delicious The staff was pleasant and helpful. I want to go back already


Giana H. | Yelp
The best mango margarita! San Carlos needed a good Mexican restaurant and Mama Coco is a perfect fit. Angel our waiter was so sweet and treated us like family. We’ll definitely be back!


Jane T. | Yelp
The food is delicious! Everything is prepared with care and served with care. So much so that in the past 3 weeks I’ve been there 4 times! 3 for take-out and and last night for sit-down outdoor dining in their cozy little cabana area.


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