Husband and wife team Samuel and Carmen Sta Maria opened Mama Fina’s in Elmwood Park over 13 years ago, specializing in sisig, a traditional Filipino chopped fried pork dish. The original Mama Fina’s offers not only pork sisig but also chicken, tofu, tuna, milkfish and squid variations on the classic to appeal to people who don’t eat pork. Carmen, who also goes by Aming, told a local New Jersey outlet in 2017 that her sisig recipe is secret.
Samuel tells Eater NY that after building a following in New Jersey, expanding to Manhattan felt like the natural next step.
The NYC location offers a very similar menu with all the same sisig variations and sizzling dishes that are the restaurant’s specialty, Samuel says. Breakfast plates with garlic fried rice and eggs are available all day. Filipino-style spaghetti, crispy pork belly, and crispy short ribs are also available. Dishes unique to the NYC location are the pork sisig sliders, which come with fries, and the “pulled pork with crunch,” a shredded pork sandwich served on a brioche bun topped with crunchy pork skins.
Mama Fina’s is open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.