All three of us dined for the first time at the Mini Mango last month. We really enjoyed the experience. I personally feel that it was the best combination of your local tiny thai bistro, and an established Napa Valley restaurant. The setting was intimate, they did a nice job of fitting quite a few tables in the main dining room, and the service was very good. The main dining area has a small view into the kitchen and a large view to the outdoor, larger, heated patio area with tables. Very clean, very simple.
The only thing that wasn’t necessarily simple was getting to the table. To be fair I feel like I should be discuss this. Most people that come to Napa want or expect the red carpet to be pre-laid and surrounded by rows of vines. Not an unjust expectation, but, while they do have a terrific set of red drapes hanging over the patio and excellent service, you will most certainly find a line of guests in front of you and no vineyard views, even if you have a reservation. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
When going to a busy, bustling establishment it is not uncommon to think it is good or even great. Why else would people be there? When there are so many establishments that are almost barren and starving for business, is it better to take a chance on them? Not if you know what you like to eat.
At the Mini Mango, people don’t seem to mind waiting for the food. I found it to be hot, fast and elegant. We ordered just about one of everything. There were noodles slicked with a thin but typically rich sauce, shrimp spicy-smokey-sweet, pork covered, no glazed, with brown sugar glaze that was so sticky, it would stick, literally stick to your fingers but after melt, and then there were corn fritters.We were served the most perfect corn fritters. The fritters tasted like a corn candy. But better. The corn was mixed into a light batter that when fried, gave it a delicate salty crunch. A perfect patty of corn kernel crispy, crunchy like a chip. But better. The presentation, for all you that eat with your eyes first (you know who you are), was, again very clean, very simple, very true to their style.
As for the Mini menu itself, it is anything but and offers a sufficient array of options for everyone. This is, of course, providing that everyone likes food. There are small, medium and large size plates to accommodate your waistline as well as pocketbook. I haven’t even mentioned the exceptionally priced, uncomplicated buddha bowls. These will have to wait until you go see for yourself. Best $3.50, in Napa dining dollars, to be spent.