Monday, July 11, 2011

Mango Thai [Vegetarian] Restaurant, Mesa, AZ

Mango Thai Restaraunt
Mango Thai [Vegetarian] Restaurant confuses me. On their Facebook page,, and a paper menu it is stated that they are a vegetarian restaurant. However, when I arrived with my dining companions, we were asked if we wanted the 'regular' menu or the 'vegetarian' one. I asked for the vegetarian one and my companions, who are omnis, wanted the regular ones. Don't get me wrong, the vegetarian menu was huge, and a full menu in its own right, but I just didn't understand why they would have a 'regular' menu if they were now a veg restaraunt. Wouldn't the vegetarian menu BE the regular one? Nevermind the two giant vegetarian signs in front of the entrance advertising vegetarian food, as you can see in the photo.

From their Facebook page:
"At Mango Thai, we are pleased to offer tantalizing dishes whose origins go back thousands of years of Thai and Vietnamese vegetarian Cuisine. We practice strict vegetarianism in our restaurant.Our staff has recreated the authentic recipes and that were one served exclusively at the royal court. The skilled chef created extraordinary vegetarian recipes with the appearance,texture, and taste of your favorite meat, poultry,and seafood dishes.

All "meat","poultry","seafood", menu items are made from vegetable protein products and 100% vegetable oil. All dishes have no cholesterol. It is our pleasure to serve you and we hope you enjoy your dining experience."

A "vegetarian restaurant" is different than a "restaurant that offers a lot of vegetarian dishes". So, yeah, I was confused about their food identity. I let it go and sat down to peruse the giant vegetarian menu. After struggling to pick from several dishes including the Golden Shrimp Flame and the Mango Curry, I finally ordered; Tom Yum Soup as an appetizer (I've been wanting to try that for some time now), and the Lemongrass Chicken as my main dish.

Tom Yum Soup

As we waited for the food, I took a look around. There was a couple there, but otherwise we dined alone. I was expecting a "new" place based on what I had read, but if it was a new restaraunt, they had simply bought out an old restaurant and kept it as-is. The decor resembled many hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants I have been to, only a bit more worse for wear. The cultural elements were cool; Thai statues, bamboo, paintings, etc. But the tablecloth was stained and the chairs looked like they were from the 60s, rather than the 80s/90s as is common. I try not to be a snob, so if a place is clean, I ignore the aged look. But then my water glass was  dirty, and I started wondering... I am sure it was the dishwasher, but they still should have checked the glass first. Especially since we were practically the only customers. I sent it back for a clean one, still hoping that the food would be as good as I saw a couple reviews for.

Did I mention their air conditioning had apparently gone out? The fans and the early hour made it tolerable for me, but one of my companions was very uncomfortable, and it started getting hotter the longer we were there. I wouldn't hold that against them either, but it was displeasing, especially since they didn't even warn us there was an issue. This is summer in Arizona, people.

My Tom Yum Soup arrived. It was rather tasty. Hot and sour Thai-style clear soup simmered with mushrooms, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chili paste, cilantro, and steamed tofu. I can't make any comparisons to other places on this dish, but it was good.

And then my Lemongrass Chicken arrived. Stir-fried soy chicken with chopped lemongrass, onion, and served with rice, cucumber, and tomatoes. I was so disappointed. While the sauce was fine, the soy chicken was not good at all. It tasted like some really bad, old school mock meats. Maybe I've been spoiled by Green and Loving Hut, and other newer and improved mock meats, but this stuff was not good. And almost the entire dish was onions and mock meat, served with barely steamed broccoli. I realize this is totally my preference at this point, but I like my broccoli cooked more, and less stalk-y. I wasn't even expecting broccoli to begin with since it wasn't under the entree description, instead I was expecting tomatoes, cucumbers, and rice, which weren't there. They did remember the rice much later and asked me if I wanted it, but at that point I was beyond rice and declined.

Lemongrass Chicken

One of my omni companions liked her meal, the other one, who can usually eat anything, could barely even eat hers. Such a mixed bag with the food, two entree dislikes and two likes,  but I can easily say that the taste of the Tom Yum was not enough to fix any of the other problems.

I feel really bad about this review. I don't like dissing vegetarian restaurants, but ultimately, I felt like I had to share my experience with the vegcommunity. I love Thai food. I really hope this place figures itself out and makes some changes. I'd really like to give it another chance. But at this point, I won't go back until someone else tests it out and tells me they had a good experience.

I can't imagine that you will go there after this review, but if you do, you're probably better off trying something with tofu instead of the mock meats. And maybe you should try their $5 weekday lunch special, so you don't waste too much money on something you might not like.

Mango Thai [Vegetarian] Restaurant
Ranking: **

***** awesome! Highly recommended.
**** hey, this is pretty dang good.
*** not bad at all.
** eh.
* bad. Keep looking for alternatives.


Mango Thai [Vegetarian] Restaurant
1440 S. Country Club Dr
Mesa, Arizona 85210
(480) 964-3944

Monday - Saturday 11:00AM-9:00PM
Sunday Closed

1 comment:

4legsgood said...

Eeek - thanks for the head's up!