Mangos (Jaffna).

A pure vegetarian North & South Indian restaurant, cafe and bakery, Mangos is one of those famous Jaffna joints that warrants a visit and a mention. Jaffna really doesn’t have a lot of eating options suitable for the average foreigner, as the area hasn’t as yet started catering to the slow influx of tourists.

The restaurant is just a hop away from the famous Nallur Temple and the even more famous Rio Ice Cream Parlour. This makes for a nice leisurely walk in the scorching sun – spend the morning at Nallur Kovil, then have lunch at Mangos and top it off with a saccharine sundae at Rio’s.

Food

The food seems to veer heavily toward South Indian vegetarian fare. Their portions are also huge and of great quality. We ordered vegetable biriyani, which was actually easily enough for two people to share. It came on a traditional thali plate covered with a fresh banana leaf, and three little bowls filled with accompaniments – a spicy vegetable pickle, freshly cut onions in curd, and a sweet payasam for dessert.

At Rs. 250, the quantity and the quality of the biriyani and its side dishes was definitely worth it. It’s at the perfect pricing that seems dirt cheap to foreigners and remains affordable for locals. We ordered a lime juice which wasn’t as spectacular, sadly. It was about Rs. 150 which didn’t seem worth it in comparison to the food.

Service & Ambience

The place itself isn’t too delightful. Simple cobbled floors teamed with clean wooden furniture and busily whirring fans make for a pretty simplistic design. The restaurant itself is quite clean and well-maintained for its range, and seemed to be quite popular as a lunch time destination even at about 2:30 PM. It’s clearly one of the stops on the tourist package tours. The bathroom is not for the faint-hearted, however.

The service was very, very good. Bustling and attentive, the manager and the staff knew the menu like the back of their hand and very incredibly friendly. The manager even took a few minutes out of his activities to help me plot out the rest of my day’s itinerary. He appears to be a neighbourhood stalwart, with a number of contacts and services under his belt.

Conclusion

Good, hot vegetarian South Indian fare in a superbly incredibly central location. Expect efficient and friendly service, and enjoy the dessert that comes with the biriyani.

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