Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Road Trip Restaurant Review: Mango Mango in Amherst, MA

We love Sunday drives, and this past Sunday, we were blessed with a beautiful, sunny, almost warm day.  We decided to take a quick little drive and ended up meandering all the way out to Amherst.  It was almost 2 PM by the time we got there, and our usual western Mass stop, Cafe Evolution, closes up shop at 2 after serving brunch on Sunday.  (And what a brunch it is.  Their bread alone is worth the trip, and someday I will take pictures and share them.)  So we found ourselves looking into other choices.  Mango Mango showed up on our iPhone app VegOut, but it had no reviews, so we weren't sure how it would be, but we decided to be brave and try it anyway.  And boy are we glad we did!

Mango Mango is a counter-service type place, where you go up front and order from the big board, pay, and sit down, and they bring out the food when it's ready.  A group of folks left right when we came in (I can't tell you if it's because I was wearing sweatpants or because they had finished their meal), leaving us with the whole place to ourselves.  The restaurant does serve meat, but there are a large number of vegetarian items available, as well as a respectable number of vegan options and gluten-free choices, all clearly marked.  

Instead of engaging in a fist fight over who would order the tempeh taco, John was the better person and let me get it.  It came with either chips or a side salad, and being that I have been pigging out on chips lately like the emotional eater that I am, I went for the side salad.  We had a seat with our drinks (John got a soda and I opted for a Hibiscus Cooler, which was noted as one of their house-brewed teas), and only waited for maybe ten minutes before the food came out, which was a pleasant surprise.

John has been on a curry kick lately, which you will see when I post another restaurant review this week, and he opted for the West Coast Curry with tempeh.  It was served over short grain brown rice.  The flavor and spice on this dish was excellent, and it had potatoes and haricot verts, which I thought was interesting and unique and made this stand out from a regular curry.

Meanwhile, my salad and tempeh taco.  Ho. ly. Wow.  This was so good, I am going to have trouble verbalizing.  First, the salad was delicious and fresh, with what tasted like a ginger-sesame dressing that was wonderfully light.  I could probably have eaten a much larger portion of just the salad alone.  The taco is actually these giant tempeh chunks with what I would describe as a teriyaki-type sauce, with guacamole, lettuce, and tomato wrapped in a soft naan-like bread.  It was so great, I see myself wanting to go back weekly to get one.

In addition to the pretty great selection of options, I have to give this place major kudos for what they do with tempeh.   John has never been much of a fan, and I have had mixed responses to tempeh, but we went to Whole Foods after we ate and bought a couple packages because we fell so much in love with this tempeh.  (Now I just have to figure out how to make it taste that good at home.)  Combining that tempeh deliciousness with the speed of service, I have to think that they have a magic wand back in the kitchen that they are making the food with.

Mango Mango serves lunch and dinner, but if these are the portion sizes for both meals, I think it's probably more of a lunch place.  The price was fabulous, only $22 for both our meals and drinks, and it's BYOB, if you are into that sort of thing, which I am but only when I don't have to drive home.  One other nitpick, which shows how spoiled I am by the number of vegan-friendly places in my area, was that they didn't have a non-dairy milk or creamer for coffee, so I hope that they will consider adding that in the future.  Otherwise, this is a definite recommend!


  1. Yum! The tempeh tacos sound fantastic! I love discovering new veg-friendly restaurants, especially when they're "counter-service casual." I think I just coined a new phrase!

  2. Tempeh is so good when done well and so horrible when it's not!

    Hey, I am having a big vegan potluck May 21st which is a Saturday! I hope you and your husband can come! I'll give you more info when I know more! I live in Portsmouth and it's a big of a drive, but not too bad (I actually used to drive to you neck of the woods daily for a season when I did school photography!)

  3. I like that Bianca, I think I'll steal it sometime :) With credit of course. And thanks for coming by and commenting. You are one of the bloggers who I've always considered a can't-miss daily read, so I'm starstruck!

  4. Melody, I'm definitely going to put that on my calendar. Where there's food, there's me, haha. And that's our wedding anniversary! Honestly, being from Mississippi, the drive from Worcester to Portsmouth is small potatoes for me. The summer before I moved to Mass, I drove 1.5 hours each way to get to work (at my $10 an hour job -- hello! Wouldn't even be worth it with the gas prices now), so a weekend trip to Portsmouth is definitely in the cards. Thanks for the invite!