Folsom foodies, rejoice! One of the city’s newest dining destinations, Mantra, is certainly worth celebrating. While some may be deterred by the bold “vegan and vegetarian” tagline, believe me when I say that meat quickly becomes an afterthought once you savor the menu’s mouthwatering, punchy flavors.
Fueled by the success of their sister restaurant, Sanskrit, Mantra’s vast menu features fresh, creative plates made using high-quality, healthy ingredients.
All five senses are immediately engaged when you walk through the door. The smell of Indian spices; the soft, soothing sounds of Indian music; and the clean, minimalistic space adorned with rich colors and eye-catching portraits truly capture the culture, making it clear you're in for a special experience.
To drink, we ordered a classic mango lassi (a mango and yogurt shake) and a churned bliss—a savory beverage made from buttermilk, spices, and herbs. Both were good, but the lassi was a clear winner in our book.
To eat, we started with chana bhatura, a puffy, deep-fried bread served alongside chana masala that we’ll certainly order again. It was a fun way to kick off the meal; imagine a soccer ball-sized puff of delicious, thinly rolled fried bread that you tear and dip into an incredibly scrumptious chickpea curry.
For a splash of freshness, we tried the beetroot salad, which, to our surprise, was served warm with a mix of chopped beets, grated coconut, and some chile that left me sweating and questioning my decisions in life. Be careful of the chile; it is CRAZY hot, but the salad was still sweet and delicious.
Soon after the feeling returned to my taste buds, the showstopper arrived: kanjipuram masala dosa. The dish was beautifully presented—a thinly rolled dosa shaped into a large funnel with a centerpiece of dipping curry—and something I’m still dreaming about.
Finally, the kerala veg korma came with our pick of two types of bread: paneer paratha and a piece of kerala parotta. This creamy, slightly sweet (thanks to coconut milk), vegetable-laden curry—filled with carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, and peas—was so good, but our ambitions exceeded our appetite and we had to take it home. Fortunately, it was equally amazing the next day!
If, like us, you have no idea what any of the dish names mean, don’t fret: The service at Mantra is as wonderful as their food, and our waitress was quick to recommend some crowd-pleasers. The meal was so memorable, in fact, that we planned another trip with family not even a week after.
Isn’t the dream of every foodie to find a little-known gem with fair prices, a pleasing environment, and lip-smacking cuisine? Mantra boasts all of this and could easily become our new go-to Indian restaurant.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-9:30 p.m. (Sunday & Tuesday-Thursday); 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-10 p.m. (Friday-Saturday); closed Monday
TRY THIS: Mango Lassi, Paneer Tikka Salad, Chana Bhatura, Railway Peppers, Street Corn Fries, Kerala Veg Korma, Kanjipuram Masala Dosa, Mini Tiffin, Samosa, Hakka Fried Noodles, Cheese Dosa, Carrot Halwa
DRINKS: No alcohol
HEADS-UP: Entire menu is vegetarian and vegan; ample gluten-free options; kids’ menu; follow the restaurant on social media for specials; daily lunch combos include curry, dal, vegetables, biryani, and one chapati; catering available; plastic-free packaging
by Ryan Martinez
photos by TAYLOR GILLESPIE
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