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Mantra - 24 Reviews - 122 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (215) 988-1211

Mantra

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122 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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(215) 988-1211
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Reviews

( 4 )
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( 3 )
( 1 )
( 14 )

Best

I have loved this place since it opened. I have had a drink or eaten here about a dozen times and it is incredible. Unlike many Rittenhouse restaurants that are all show with te...

Worst

I went to Mantra for happy hour and was very frustrated by the service. I understand when the place is busy you might have to wait, but you shouldn't have to wait 15 minutes, stan...

Terrible Dinner 3/2/2009

Went to Mantra last night to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday. We ended up leaving after getting appetizers because it was so bad. Warning: the menu on Mantra's website is not what they have at the actual restaurant. We went because each dish was supposed to be paired with wine. Upon arrival we saw that they didn't have anything like that. Our waitor said they were changing management and that he didn't know much. Also, the ambiance was non-existant. The lightning was too bright and the music was loud hip-hop, not what I expected. We ordered calamari and chicken dumplings because we decided to give them a chance. After waiting 20 minutes for the food I tried the calamari only to discover it was barely cooked and tasted very mushy, possibly still raw. I alerted the waitor and he explained that it was last batch of calamari they had which seemed odd to me since it was only 6:45. At this point we decided to cut our losses and get the check. I will never come back to this place, there are far better places don't waste your time. more

Worst Philadelphia Dining Experience Ever 1/25/2009

Do not go here. My boyfriend & I dine out anywhere from 2-4x/wk and I've never had such a miserable experience at a restaurant in Philadelphia. We arrived for an early dinner on a Saturday night and was first told they had no light beer (amazing for a 6pm on a saturday night and considering they have a bar). But that wasn't the worst part - we then order their Poo Poo Platter and a noodle dish. Nearly 40 minutes after ordering, another waiter comes to our table and apologizes saying they do not have the Poo Poo platter but we can order anything else on the menu. Perplexed we noted that all the appetizers on the menu are on the Poo Poo platter. The waitor was confused and ran to the back to speak w the chef. He returned saying the Chef could not make the platter but could make all the items on the Poo Poo platter separately. Does that make any sense? Then my boyfriend asked to see the Sake menu - the waitress apologized and said ""oh i'm sorry we dont have any Sake because we are becoming an italian restaurant"" Alright.....\r \r Waitstaff was confused - decor was bizarre - music was at a deafening volume. Considering all the amazing restaurants in Philadelphia this place is not worth your time or money! Pros: Location Cons: Service, Food, Having Food from the Menu!, Decor, Music more

NEVER EVER AGAIN...WORST SERVICE EVER! 5/13/2008

Every month I plan an event for my office. Being that Mantra looks so cool with the big picture window, I checked it out three times to see if that could be a potential spot for the next event. \r \r The service was terrible every. Single. Time. \r \r First, the owner seems to have a preference for clientele...mainly young, white women. He barely paid me and my girlfriend any attention and seemed to be annoyed whenever we asked for anything. He was quite dismissive. We did not feel welcomed at all. \r \r The second time I went there with a male companion. We were at the bar, having wine and conversation, when the bartender put a bowl of edamame in front of us and two other couples at the bar. We thought it was a bar snack, i.e. peanuts and pretzels. The owner rushed over after we had nibbled it and TOOK THE BOWL away, claiming the bartender made a mistake. \r \r Finally, the third time I went there with another male companion, the owner looked at us quite disdainfully and asked us for ID. We got up and left. \r \r I will NEVER go to this place again and as a publicist, I will certainly discourage any of my clients or my friends to frequent that restaurant. Vango next door is more personable and friendly. There are way too many places to spend your money at in Philadelphia! more

Very poor food 4/27/2008

I was a part of a large dinner party that went here, and goodness, what a waste of money. The ""crispy"" pot-stickers were not at all cooked correctly - nor were they cooked properly as they should be (slightly browned and crispy as the menu noted). Instead, they were dampish as if the shell of them were just placed on and someone decided not to cook them the rest of the way. Store bought sauce (or what certainly seemed like it) accompanied the meal.\r \r The salmon was... plain. The mashed potatoes upon with the salmon sat was... plain. The desert was phenomenally uninspired. \r \r I was deeply disappointed by this restaurant. Great SOUNDing menu. Very poor follow through. Pros: Good atmosphere Cons: Very poor food more

Are you serious? 4/16/2008

I wish I could give NO STARS! This place is horrible and I would NEVER recommend any clients, friends, strangers off the street- to ever go there! Apparently the owner made the horrific mistake of putting his spoiled arrogant son on the payroll! My friend and I went here after work for a couple of drinks. We thought we would try the mussels, well... HUGE MISTAKE. The mussels came cold and I noted to my friend that there were a bunch not opened! We mentioned to said 'bus boy' to send them back. He ran the food back upstairs, then came back with a plate and plopped it in front of us. I thought that was strange- do they have mussels on reserve, that he came back so quickly? After closer examination, I said I think he just picked out the closed ones and gave us back the original plate! My friend asked him straight out- whether or not he just picked out the closed ones. He looked us straight in the eye, smirked and said matter of factually ""Well maybe"". I almost wished that we got sick, because- I would have sued the college tuition out from under him and then some!! Maybe his father will teach him some work ethic and manners! We expressed our outrage to the manager and he assured us that the situation would be handled. However, I will NOT be returning. Can you image a restaurant KNOWINGLY fed you bad seafood! Be forewarned, very unprofessional and unsafe!! It's such a shame- it's a great location too. I'm counting down the days until this place closes!! Pros: great location, great bartender Cons: the owner's son..... enough said- oh and the lack parking more

best ribs in the city, coolest bar 3/14/2008

I have been dining at Mantra since it opened two years ago and my experience is always great. The crew is warm and friendly and the bar is the coolest of atmosphere's. I have worked in the restaurant business for over 30 years from Hawaii to Boston and while every house has its share of problems, this place accomplishes what most places only dream about. I envey the ambiance and the food is always creative and flavorful. From the steamed potstickers, to the firecracker crab cakes to the apple dumplings. I still can't get enough of their asian style ribs. I highly recommend this restaurant for a mid-week late night snack and libation. Pros: great bar, great food Cons: not open for lunch more

DEMORALIZING!!! 2/27/2008

I have one thing to say... There are FAR too many places to go in this city than to go back to this place and to be treated the way we were which was NOT good! I myself work in the industry... My boyfriend and I were running late so I made it a point to call and let them know...well all the person on the line was worried about was ""How far are you? When are you going to be here? What happened?"" I explained we were running a little late and now stuck in traffic, the response I got was ""Fine, get here as soon as you can"" following the phone being hung up in my ear. Upon arriving NO ONE was there to greet us anyway for about 5 mins. When I came in contact with someone I couldn't apologize enough... I was told it was no big deal and to relax but our server thought differently... he was very abrupt, basically nasty, and rushed us through everything... ""Look I'm not trying to rush you but I have to get your order in NOW! We ordered what we were not sure on since we weren't ready...only to find there were still more people being seated...Well why is it that You can take other peoples order after us? He then hovered over us while looking at the wine list and would leave for 1 or 2 mins and come right back and just stand there and stare at us. To top things off the food was terrible... bland and cold YUCK!!! I made sure my boyfriend gave a good tip only because I'm in the industry... but guess what.... it was not worth it and I regret it now!!! After our meal and upon leaving I kept apologizing to the server , why I don't know! Only for him to tell us that it was fine we did nothing wrong.... maybe it was that hefty TIP that changed your mind... I'm sorry we were a little late but we were very good customers, very apologetic, did not cause any problems, and tipped well, but guess what... WE WILL NEVER COME BACK TO YOUR ESTABLISHMENT AGAIN!!! Pros: ????? Cons: Service, Food, Being rushed and demoralized more

spend your money elsewhere 2/24/2008

I rarely ever have such a bad experience at a restaurant that i am compelled to take the time to write a negative review about the place, but mantra is that bad. The food is not horrible, but its also not very good. My main complaint is that the food is super over-priced and the service is terrible. The waitstaff is unresponsive and fairly incompetent. To top it off, the owner is a pig and was blatently staring at my date for half of our meal. Pros: Good location Cons: Way way way over-priced more

DANGER!!!!!! KEEP OUT!!!!! 2/13/2008

This place is despicable! Do NOT waste your time or money! We walk in and try to be seated but no one's around so we decide to get a drink at the bar while we're waiting. But the bartender was too busy drinking and downing shots with his buddies that he didn't even notice us. We must have waited there for over 5 mins. when the host finally came so we decided to skip the drinks since we couldn't get them anyway. As she was walking us to the back we passed some larger booths in the middle of the restaurant. Since there were 4 of us we thought it would be nice to sit at one of these. We paused and tried to get the hostesses attention but she was already standing by a smaller booth just staring at us looking bored and agitated. My brother asked the host if it would be a problem if we sat at one of the larger booths. She put the menus down gave us a quick smile and waltzed off.?!!?? Does she not speak English? Do we not speak English? We decide to forget about it and enjoy the drinks and food in the smaller booth. Ohh Nooo. The drunk bartender must have thought he was still pouring shots for himself and his buddies because our drinks were strong and disgusting. Don't get me wrong we like our drinks hefty, but if we wanted all alcohol we would have ordered straight shots. Aren't u supposed to taste some mint and limejuice or something in mojitos? On to the food, portions were small, that furry critter the other reviewer mentioned must have got to our food before us, not to mention most of our food was kind of cold, bland, and all the sauces tasted alike. Our server was barely available, didn't even ask us if we wanted desert and when he asked us how everything was we all kind of looked at eachother with that (everything sucked smirk) so he kind of just smirked right along with us as if to say (U poor suckers if you only knew) and walked away! Un-Believable! This place was not worth the almost $200 bill. They should have paid us to stay there. Warning-Do Not Do It!!!!!!! more

Small furry animal i can't mention!!!! 12/14/2007

We went there for an early dinner around 3pm, the only table in the place. The food was foul-rock hard wings, dry tuna in a cold brown sauce. When we told our waiter he said, ""Sorry 'bout that!"" and walked away!!!! Next we were treated to a cursing match between what one must assume was the manager and a waitress that walked in late. Then to top it off, as my eyes became more accustommed to the dark and i couldn't stare at my food any longer, i began to notice a furry little friend walking on the floor. And not a small furry animal that's tearing along like he's scared, this one's just moseying by like this is business as usual. So the small furry animal heads behind a speaker and finally the waiter wanders by to see what we're pointing at, and then he looks behind a speaker and says, ""Yep! There he is! Do you want dessert?"". When we say no and that we want to talk to the manager he says the manager is very busy right now (perhaps still brawling with the waitress) and plops the check on the table. We never saw him again, which is no big loss. So beware--hideous restuarant!!!! Pros: Possible petting zoo? Cons: possible hanta more

Going again soon 9/17/2007

Took my girlfriend out on a date here the other night, and had a great time. Originally wanted to go the Continental Mid-Town, but was a two hour wait at 9:00 PM so decided to go here instead. Good Idea. I really like the atmosphere, very trendy, and the service was fast. We were seated five minutes after walking in and were promptly served. Good selection of beer, could use a larger drink menu. We ordered the chicken quesadillas, and they were excellent. Just the right size to whet your appetite, but not too big to fill you up. I ordered the Sesame Sea Scallops, which were also pretty good. As other people have said, they seem to really like their sauce, and could use less of it, but the scallops were cooked perfectly. The g/f got a barbecue chicken thing that wasn't too bad, a little too much blackened though. One of the things that I really liked is that they didn't rush us at all. We were there for well over two hours just talking, and no one seemed to get annoyed at us. With some drinks the total came to $70, which for what we got, I thought very reasonable. The dessert menu did leave a little to be desired, but all in all, it was a wonderful evening. Pros: Cool decorations and music, KUNG-FU MOVIES!! Cons: Ease up on the sauce a little more

Amateur and unrefined - what is with the nasty brown sauce? 8/28/2007

I was visiting town on business and had a local friend recommend this restaurant. In a nutshell:\r \r Ambiance - Took on more of a lounge feel than a restaurant. Confused-looking crowd drinking by the bar. The bartenders and wait staff were drinking and 'shooting the breeze' with patrons, which sometimes involved spewing vulgarities. I'm no prude, but I don't need to hear that during my dinner. Menus looked like they had been drenched in beer.\r \r Service - Not bad. The woman who served me was pleasant and helpful in explaining the food on the menu. Food came promptly, although...\r \r Food - Terrible. I started with the Summer Jumbo Crab Kamikaze (with mango, scallion, and diced fuji apples). The crab may have been fine, but I couldn't tell - the entire dish was slightly glazed with a really cheap and generic tasting jarred brown sauce as another reviewer mentions below. Next up were the Grilled Sea Scallops and Asparagus (with orange-chinese black bean vinaigrette). This 'vinaigrette' tasted almost exactly like the aforementioned special sauce except this time the food was swimming in it. Scallops were large and juicy but oversalted. For a main course I tried the Tuna Tataki Japonesa (w/ shiitake ginger glaze, fragrant rice, baby bok choy). Ginger glaze? I don't think so. The brown stuff strikes again. The shitake mushrooms had so much of it that it resembled more like a soup with a few paltry pieces of mushroom swimming in it. The rice? Uncle Ben would be embarassed to be associated with it. The bok choy would have been fine but I'll let you guess what ruined it. I salvaged as much of the tuna as possible by scraping the gunk off. I decided to cut my losses and politely declined dessert - vanilla ice cream with hoisin sauce, anyone?\r \r This was one of the worst meals I've ever had in Philadelphia. Go find much better food elsewhere. Pros: Bar scene - if you're into the just-out-of-college thing Cons: Everything else more

THIS PLACE SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN.... 8/11/2007

I dont know where to start...I was lured by the well written menu and the mysterious decor, but folks, it all stops there. My husband & I were hungry after a wonderful spa day for our anniversary and craving lobster. Mantra was having a Maine lobster special for August and we wanted to try something different. When we were seated in the back room, I said ""hmm, AC must be down"" b/c they had rigged portable units that were unattractive. Not bad yet...we ordered crab kamikaze appetizer which was bland and less than mediocre. Then the entrees, we ordered 2 of the lobster specials, 1 was described as lobster & oyster stir fry, the other General H's from the wok lobster...to sum it up, the lobster was deep fried with batter (since when does a stir fry turn into deep fry?) mixed in a ""special"" sauce that tasted like the store bought brand ""KAME"" in a jar. The exact same fried lobster with special sauce was in each entree, the only difference is one was on top of rice with asparagus, and the other with mashed potatoes and green beans. Also, the oysters were not the ones from the ocean, but oyster mushrooms! They forgot to mention that! There was no mention anywhere about fried lobster...who fries MAINE lobster? I would have never ordered it had I known it was fried. You couldn't taste anything except for the horrible sauce. I expressed my frustration with the waiter and he apologized and said he would have his manager speak with us. Well, he returned and said his manager was too busy...too BUSY? we were one of 3 tables at 6 PM! How can you be too busy? Then he offered us complimentary desserts...a pathetic choice of 4 deserts for $5. If that wasn't a F U in the face, I declined and that was it. We were stuck with a $117 bill (with drinks). We are so disgusted that I am going through the hassle of writing this...I feel like a little girl that has been felt up by her teacher and no one would believe her. Seriously...DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR HARD EARNED $$. Pros: NOTHING Cons: EVERYTHING more

Great Place for a Happy Hour Drink or for Dinner 7/28/2007

I have loved this place since it opened. I have had a drink or eaten here about a dozen times and it is incredible. Unlike many Rittenhouse restaurants that are all show with terrible service and food, Mantra is the opposite: great service and great food.\r \r The servers and managers both go out of their way--- I once spilled my full beer all over my entree (my fault)-- the manager himself helped clean it up, and they brought a new drink and entree, no extra charge. They couldn't have been nicer.\r \r I would recommend the Roti bread or Scallops/Asparagus as an appetizer, and the Duck or Lamb Chops as an entree. I also like that they have a fun beer selection-- Japanese, Thai, and Belgium beers. Pros: Great food, fast service Cons: Wish they were open Sundays more

rittenhouse/home depot 7/26/2007

I'm not sure WHAT to think of this place. My husband and I have been wanting to come here for some time now but never made it. My sister flew in from Chicago, it was her birthday so we decided to take her here. We walked in and the place seemed a little hot but we just shrugged it off. Even though we had reservations we still had a little wait (about 15 - 20 mins). But before the host could even seat us she kept telling us to hold on as she was carrying huge empty cardboard boxes around the restaurant. Can't you at least take our name before scurrying along with your boxes? When she FINALLY got to us there was a little wait so we ordered drinks at the bar. My sister commented on how hot it was and just as she said that I was staring at this big industrial fan that was blowing on the bar. I should have known at that point to go somewhere else. We were finally seated but ""AGAIN"" across from another big fan blowing our words and hair everywhere. From then on everything else was a little annoying. Our server was very nice and helpful with the menu but the food was kind of slow arriving to the table. We liked the decor of the restaurant but couldn't shake off the heat and the fan that was blowing towards our heads only making things worse. We felt like we were in the air conditioning section of home depot. Then to top things off the music in this place was loud and out of place. I must admit, the food was good, diferent, but good. Normally we would order dessert, but we all knew it was time to go!!! I'm not saying this place is horrible and I wouldn't come back, but we felt a little unappreciated. Your guests are more important than boxes, and for goodness sakes put the air conditioner on for your customers. Pros: Food, service, semi ambiance (without fans and with air) Cons: Big fans, wait for food, host's carrying boxes around and ignoring people more

NO NO NO NO NO !!!! 7/16/2007

This place bites and I'm not just being nice. And let me mention further that for me to take the time to register just so I could share how BAD my experience was, means I was beyond disappointed! I'll start with the food which is just terrible. The menu descriptions SEEM promising but are just masquerading as sophisticated cuisine language. Seriously, I want to know WHO the ""chef"" is. For the record, they were out of scallops (which eliminated two of the dishes I wanted to order) so I went with salmon and shrimp with noodles sauteed in some sauce. What I got straight up just tasted gross. There was nothing even remotely good about the dish. It was like thrown together in a pile dumped over top some non-descript, goopy ""sauce"" I guess. Not good. My friend's dish was spiced Salmon over rice - pretty simple right? I mean, it was good if like your little brother made it but NOT, I repeat NOT at restaurant that has deluded itself into thinking it can charge up to $20 a plate for this crapt. I think that's the clincher; if it wasn't SO overpriced,I wouldn't be this mad but to have the absolute gall in a city that quite frankly, has a TON of great restaurants (in my humble opinion) - many 2 blocks away, this is just a travesty. And it's such a choice location...unbelievable.\r \r Regarding the interior, the place LOOKS nice until the middle of the restaurant - despite, the place being almost empty (on a Monday night), they proceeded to seat us in the back which was aiming for mystical and oriental, but just looked sad, dirty and a bad imitation of the real thing. The air conditioning was broken and they had giant fans blowing everywhere (I kid you not). Modern music was blasting out of a horrendous speaker system that sounded distorted for like 15 minutes until someone had the good sense to turn it off. \r Seriously - HOW DO PEOPLE GET AWAY WITH OPENING A RESTAURANT IN THE MIDDLE OF CENTER CITY THAT IS THIS BAD???????? There should be laws against it. Just DON'T do it ! Cons: Worst food I ever paid for, overpriced isn't even coming close, bad imitation decor more

Bad 7/9/2007

Don't be fooled by the trendy decore. Drinks were bad, service was bad, and the staff really needs an attitude adjustment. I'll never go back. Pros: the interior designer Cons: everthing else more

Terrible. 6/24/2007

I'm not really sure what ""Asian soul food"" is supposed to be, but I was really looking forward to finding out. The awe I felt walking into this gorgeous restaurant with really unique decor was quickly replaced; you certainly can't judge this book by it's cover. Even the 1000 point bonus reservation on OpenTable couldn't make this place worth it. My friend and I went in for service industry night, so you'd think they'd make sure to give us good service. ONE WOULD THINK. To start, my water glass was rarely refilled. Our appetizers - each of us had ordered a salad and a hot appetizer - were brought out all at the same time after a ridiculous wait (almost a half hour). Our cocktails took so long to get to the table that I had forgotten I ordered it (there were maybe 5 tables sat in the entire place). My entree - the short ribs - was incredibly disappointing. The short ribs themselves were pretty good, but the beans and rice served with it were bland and didn't even look appetizing. The glass of wine I ordered with my entree took forever to arrive, and was bad - and $9 a glass. Their atrocity of a wine list doesn't even have bottles that cost that much in the liquor store. I don't know why, but we decided to try dessert. I got the cheesecake spring rolls, which were way too dense and flavorless. And THEN, paying our check was like pulling teeth. They forgot the industry discount (which I had made note of in my reservation and then with the server when we were seated), and then took 10 minutes to pick up our credit cards. It's been a little while since my visit, so perhaps they've gotten their act together, but don't hold your breath. Pros: awesome decor Cons: everything else more

sloooooow bar service 6/7/2007

I went to Mantra for happy hour and was very frustrated by the service. I understand when the place is busy you might have to wait, but you shouldn't have to wait 15 minutes, standing by the bar trying to catch the eye of a bartender, without even getting being acknowledged, let alone served. If they are going to have inexperienced bartenders, they need more of them, and they need some basic instruction so they can be a little organized. For example, split the bar into two halves and stay in your half. Do more than one task at a time. And for pete's sake, look up and see who's been waiting forever, and give them a ""be right with you."" Beyond that, the happy hour specials are very limited and not well thought out, or even posted so you can make your choices during the long wait. The food was tasty, even if it took 45 minutes to show up. Pros: nice-looking place, tasty if pricy food Cons: inexperienced bar staff, long waits, loud music more

Fantastic!!! 5/8/2007

I had a magnificent experience! We had reservations on a Fri. night and got there early to have some drinks at the bar, the bartender was great. She mixed us up some cocktails of her own creation that were very tasty and she was also very informative to our questions and congenial to our needs even though she was obviously quite busy. The host on the other hand was a bit slacking, it seemed as though the bartender had to confront her on numerous occasions regarding our seating arrangements. Though when finally seated our server was very helpful and friendly and our food was fantastic. We ordered an array of appetizers that the bartender suggested. One of our favorites was a sushi salmon roll lightly crisped on the outside. In addition the entres she suggested were equally delicious. The decor and ambience of the resaurant added to our enjoyment. I would highly reccomend this place. Pros: food, bartender, server, ambience Cons: Host a bit slacking more
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Menu for Mantra




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Editorial

  • In Short
    Who's not down with Vietnamese? Take it a step higher with Cambodian fare, Thai influences and Chinese elements and a dramatic but oh-so-Philadelphia backdrop of a building and...

  • 6/25/2008 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

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    Master Card, Visa, Discover, American Express
  • Neighborhoods:

    Center City West, Center City
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