$20 for $50 Worth of Modern Indian Fare at Mantra

University South

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In a Nutshell

  • Modern, elegant Indian fare
  • Elegant dining environment
  • Vegetarian selections
  • SF Chronicle's best of 2007

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Apr 20, 2011. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per table, 2 for tables of 4 or more. Not valid with other offers. Tax and gratuity not included. Reservations encouraged. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Although Columbus famously "discovered" India by landing at Lexington and Concord and proudly ringing the Liberty Bell, the actual location of India remains a mystery. Today's Groupon offers the best lead the world has had in centuries: for $20, you get $50 worth of modern Indian cuisine at Mantra. The Palo Alto restaurant's elegant Indian fusion fare has received a plethora of awards, including the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants of 2007.

Mantra's menu infuses modern Indian cuisine with fresh California influences and a bounty of vegetarian fare, resulting in a cast of familiar favorites alongside newfangled flavors. Start with a small plate of scallops marinated in peppercorn and fennel ($12), the vegetarian grape-leaf-wrapped goat cheese ($8), or, for a bright beginning, the cinnamon-stick lamb "lollipops" ($10). Classics such as the chicken tikka masala ($17) take their esteemed place among original entree creations including the chili-marinated pan-roasted sablefish ($22), served over tomato-basil biryani, asparagus, and mozzarella and drizzled with a cardamom and peanut-infused red-curry sauce, or the Rajasthani duck ($22), rubbed with red chili and served with braised Napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms. The cinnamon-and-clove-marinated lamb chops "Vinhaleaux" ($22) reforms renegade shepherds, while the paneer "ravioli" ($19), which folds cauliflower, paneer, and cumin into a puff-pastry envelope, pleases vegetarians.

The swanky eatery's full bar stocks an eclectic selection of wine, beer, and vintage cocktails. Sip the lemony-gingery Pimm's cup served on the rocks or the James Bond–inspired Vesper martini while you take in the stylized décor; the eatery is housed in the repurposed Bijou Theatre. Its high-ceilinged dining room is adorned with colorful art from esteemed Indian masters, while the adjacent lounge is awash in a warm glow of autumn-shaded lighting. Reservations are recommended.

Reviews

The San Francisco Chronicle, Metroactive, and Gayot recommend Mantra:

  • Mantra...is one of the most striking, adventurous restaurants to open in Silicon Valley in a long time. Mantra serves inventive French and American food that speaks with a moderate Indian accent. This isn't fusion but rather a more subtle blend of surprisingly compatible flavors and techniques....most of the food I tried was quite good, some of it even transcendent. – Steve Holbrook, Metroactive
  • All said, Mantra is worth a visit. Chopra is succeeding in building a culinary bridge between India and California. The restaurant brings flash, glamour and a dash of Bollywood mystique to Palo Alto. – Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle

Citysearchers give Mantra a near-perfect 4.5-star rating, more than 200 Yelpers give it 3.5, and 77% of nearly 100 Urbanspooners like it:

Merchant Location Map
  1. 1

    University South

    632-636 Emerson St.

    Palo Alto, California 94301

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