photo credit: Sandy Noto
In theory, spending time with your family is a comforting, life-affirming experience. In reality, you can only take so much of them questioning your life decisions, accidentally emailing you computer viruses, and texting you every single morning to make sure you’re wearing a coat “in this weather.”
When you want fantasy, we’re-so-happy-to-see-you family time instead of “don’t you think it’s time for a haircut?” realness, stop by Mango Pickle for dinner. It’s like spending time with family, if family were uncomplicated, always supportive, and served consistently amazing food.
With its small orange storefront, twinkly lights, and neon pink sign, this place is a beacon of color in a stretch of dark brick buildings in Edgewater. It’s already pretty lovable on the outside, and stepping inside only enhances its appeal. Because for some reason, everyone there (even your fellow customers, we swear) seems excited to see you.
The food is contemporary Indian, so you’ll find classic dishes updated with seasonal ingredients. The menu does have staples, but the preparation changes based on what’s available: the fall variation of their samosa, for example, is filled with red khuri squash, potato, and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. The clay pot chicken, cooked in a tandoori sauce with potatoes, is so comforting you’ll completely forget your Dad thinks that Facebook posts are a legitimate news source. It’s also incredibly spicy, so be prepared with a side order of their excellent naan or basmati rice. One drawback is that since the menu changes frequently, you can’t get too attached to any one thing.
Beyond the food, the service is a big part of what makes Mango Pickle special. It’s obvious that everyone working here cares a lot about this restaurant, and wants you to love it as much as they do. If you’re interested in a dish, they’ll grab someone from the kitchen to come and tell you about it - and that person may talk for so long you’ll start to worry they need to get back to work. It’s kind of like talking to your aunt Susan, but with more details about delicious food you’re currently eating and less information about her dog’s daycare progress reports.
A focus on seasonal ingredients makes the food at Mango Pickle stand out, but ultimately, it’s the inviting environment that makes us truly love this place. Come for delicious Indian dishes - but also “family” that won’t forward you emails from TeddyBearDream2346 at 1am, then ask why you never replied.
The samosa dough here is a fantastic vehicle for the vegetable filling, which remains fresh-tasting and doesn’t get reduced to mush. And the date and cilantro chutneys served alongside only make it better.
Bhel Puri is typically a mixture of chickpeas, puffed rice, topped with sev (crunchy noodles made with chickpea paste), but when we were here the dish also included butternut squash and apples. It’s outstanding - spicy but also a little bit sweet.
Get these if you love fried things. Onions and bell peppers are deep fried in chickpea flour, and served with a mustardy yogurt sauce. Actually, you should get them no matter what. Learn to love fried things.
The kabob is made from ground lamb, and while the lamb is juicy, it’s also oversalted. We prefer the dishes that have a bit more spice.
This is one of our favorite things here. The masala sauce has the perfect amount of spice, and the chickpeas stay perfectly firm.
Chicken in a masala butter sauce, with cremini mushrooms and dried tomatoes. It’s a very good dish, but not the best chicken dish here.
Clay Pot Chicken
This is the best chicken dish here. Tandoori rubbed chicken thighs are served in an incredibly spicy broth that you should should do everything in your power to finish - we suggest soaking it up with naan.
Tandoori Spiced Salmon
Another spicy dish, but not as hot as the clay pot chicken. The seared salmon is cooked perfectly, and served with kohlrabi fritters and a yogurt sauce to mellow out the heat.