Mama's has been a breakfast institution for decades, and this neighborhood joint—with old wooden booths ornamented with original (non-functioning) individual juke boxes, and vintage posters, embroidered apron, and customers' napkin art on the walls—balances greasy-spoon ambience with borderline-gourmet seasonal specialty omelettes, scrambles, and pancakes. You'll see lots of cutting-edge tattoos, too. Mama's sits between the upwardly trending Temescal and Piedmont Avenue neighborhoods.
Whenever chef Rob's Oaxacan mole shows up on the specials board at Mama's, order it. Here, it tops eggs Benedict—my order customized with sides of grilled tomatoes and sauteed spinach in place of potatoes and fruit. More than picture perfect!