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“"Meh" for Mela”

Mela Indian Restaurant
Ranked #75 of 804 Restaurants in Asheville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $11 - $30
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Buffet, Reservations
Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville
Description: Located on Lexington Avenue in the heart of downtown Asheville, Mela Indian Restaurant specializes in North and South Indian food made from scratch with local and organic ingredients. We are certified by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project for using ingredients produced by local farmers. Come sample our lunch buffet which has a range of delicious options including chicken and naan cooked in our authentic tandoor oven, raita prepared with house-made yogurt, and seasonal vegetarian specialties. The atmosphere at dinner is warm and intimate; specials include such favorites such as pistachio lamb and spinach and goat cheese naan which are baked in our genuine tandoor oven. Mela welcomes children and offers a kids menu. In addition to dine-in, we also offer catering services. We have many options available - please contact us for more details. At Mela, our goal is to provide our community with a taste of traditional Indian cuisine. We hope you'll come and join us soon.
Reviewed October 11, 2013

My husband and I dined at Mela while visiting Asheville for the first time.

We've both lived in London and adore a good authentic Indian meal, so we decided to give Mela a try based on the outstanding reviews it's received.

The restaurant has a great atmosphere. It's modern, sophisticated and open -- a contrast to the usual neighborhood Indian places we're used to. It wasn't very crowded and we were seated immediately.

We reviewed the menu which seemed quite limited. There seemed to be some confusion as to who was covering our table. One server stopped by and took our drink order but declined to take our order for a starter. Eventually, another server stopped by to take our order. When we ordered the calamari starer, she put on her pouty face and said they were out of calamari. (This was before 7 pm!) She encouraged us to try some dough-based starter instead but we declined and ordered our entrees. We are accustomed to having some degree of flexibility in the level of spiciness in our Indian food....typically mild, hot, hotter, hottest...with some of our favorite restaurants. A couple even offer to bring us curry paste to mix in with the sauce if we want it hotter. My husband was craving seafood, couldn't get calamari, so he ordered the Shrimp Vindaloo and but didn't want it excessively spicy. The server said they couldn't modify the hotness and suggested he order a yogurt-based side to dilute the sauce (at an additional cost). He did as suggested. I ordered Chicken Tikka Masala. We also ordered nan.

My Chicken Tikka Masala was less than mild, not very warm and served over what could have passed for Uncle Ben's rice. My husband's Shrimp Vindaloo was also served lukewarm, but it was far too spicy for his taste. The addition of the yogurt side only served to make the dish colder. The nan was decent.

Interestingly, the way the meal was served was also inconsistent with how we've come to expect Indian food to be served -- i.e. family style for dishes to be shared. It was served like two separate entrees.

The food was mediocre and the service was uninspired. We will not dine here again.

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Thank sharonbN8570UP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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373 - 377 of 648 reviews

Reviewed October 10, 2013

terrific food, atmosphere. exceptional service. large, grand space... great for larger parties. the lunch buffet is the best deal in town.

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Thank aimoneart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Mela has been a family favorite of ours for the past 5 years. We have always had a delightful experience. The music and decor are really cool.

My wife is crazy about the Saffron chicken Kebab. I love the Vegetable platter. The Spinach goat cheese naan is prepared fresh to order and is outstanding.

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1  Thank alexmush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

We were near Asheville and googled for Indian restaurants and this one came up on the top.

It was a Saturday and the wait for lunch for a party of 6 was 20 minutes. The ambience and decor were good. The price for the buffett lunch was reasonable at $12 for adults ( with chai or one beer included). The appetizers were fresh. The vegetarian dishes were written authentically in Tamililian names (appalam instead of the common pappadam and semiya paiysam and Aviyal). The only two issues I noted as a South Indian were that the Aviyal was not that good and there was a long wait to get refills of the Nana and Paiyasam when they ran out. But the paiyasam was very good.

I did not eat the meat dishes since I am a vegetarian but a couple of people in my party who tried the tandoori chicken did not rate it high.

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Thank greenvillehybrid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

We arrived without reservations on a Friday night and were told there a 30 minute wait. No problem! We sat at the bar and were completely ignored by the bartender--not even a "I will be with you in a minute" until she had finished filling orders, then she took ours. She was busy working, but did not even acknowledge us or anyone else at the bar. After waiting an hour for our table, we were seated. We planned to enjoy entrees from the tandoor oven, but our waitress informed us that the kitchen was so backed up we would never get our food and instead encouraged us to stick with the specials. We followed her advice and waited almost another hour before our food arrived. She had misunderstood our order, and only brought one entree instead of two. Since we had waited so long, we just decided to share the one entree served. However, it was so cold (seafood and rice) that it was not edible. Obviously it had been sitting quite some time before it was brought to us. We also waited a long time to just get more drinks from the bar. The restaurant was busy, but no more than would be expected for a Friday night, but every single worker was just completely overwhelmed. During our wait time, we noticed other tables sending their food back to the kitchen as well.

Our experience was very poor service, order botched and inedible food. We paid our bill (yes, they did take 50% off of the one entree they brought us, although we ate one bite each only.) and went elsewhere. Very disappointed as this is a highly rated restaurant. The decor inside the restaurant is very nice.

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Thank Momsterof4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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