May 05 2013

Retake: Mantra Indian for a Delectable and Spicy Lunch Buffet

Outside of Mantra, Raleigh- Foodalicious Follies


You know how it is when you go to an ethnic restaurant but don’t see anyone of THAT ethnicity eating there?!  It’s rarely a good sign in my book.  So yeah, I was pretty happy when I sat down at Mantra’s lunch buffet and yes, there were Indian families all around!  I reviewed Mantra Indian right after it opened in 2011 and loved it but sure, it’s not an inexpensive restaurant to eat at. Mantra has been pretty experimental when it comes to their offerings and marketing, they’ve done dance parties, Yelp Elite events and have tried all sorts of offers but the “traditional” Indian lunch buffet was missing!   Over the past two years they would try it out from time to time but it would disappear (I’m guessing) due to lack of interest but recently I got notice from Mantra that the weekend lunch buffet had re-started, and with Indo-chinese which piqued my interest!


Indo-Chinese weekend lunch buffet at Mantra, Raleigh- Foodalicious Follies


So my first visit to Mantra’s new and improved lunch buffet was impressive.  I stopped in early and hung out at the bar a bit and at 11:45 am, the place was quiet but they already had the steam trays out.  My first run through I tried a little bit of everything.  Really enjoyed the garlic tofu, soft inside with a slightly crisped, savory outside.  The Indo-chinese chili chicken was stir-fried with green peppers and red onion, yummy!  There was definitely some spice in Mantra’s buffet, given the sniffles I had while eating. Add in all the carbs from fresh naan, basmati rice and papadum and you’ve got yourself a well-balanced meal!  Some of Mantra’s spicy chai will also keep you happy and then finish off with their creamy, mango mousse.  At $12, Mantra’s buffet is not cheap but well worth the money.  It’s hard to put a price on excessive deliciousness!

Example lunch buffet menu at Mantra:

* Basmati and lemon rice
* Vegetarian hakka noodles
* Garlic tofu
* Mutter mushroom
* Okra masala
* Cabbage poriyal
* Malai kofta
* Gobi manchurian
* Vegetable manchurian
* Butter chicken masala
* Kerala fish curry
* Chili chicken
* Tandori chicken tikka
* Naan, papadum
* Chai and mango mousse


I really do hope this buffet sticks at Mantra because once the weather gets warmer, I can see myself sitting outside on the patio, munching away on all these great eats with a tall, cold beer.  Service was solid with water glasses quickly filled and plates taken away.  My one and only minor complaint was a bit more heat/sterno under the buffet to keep things a bit warmer, but other than that what an awesome meal!  So yes, thank you Mantra for bringing your lunch buffet back.  It’s such a fantastic way to try out a wide array of flavors and food when you first check out a place. And as good as the buffet is, I can guarantee you that Mantra’s cooked to order fare is even better, bon appetit!


116 N. West Street, #100
Raleigh, NC 27603


Mantra Indian Cuisine & Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. G. Williams

    Coming soon, lunch buffet everyday, not just not the weekends! So hurry on back!!!….Thank you for your write up.

    1. Ron Wen

      Great to hear that the buffet is getting extended! One quick question, I heard that Chef Gamer has moved on. Is that true?

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