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“Great food - everything else eh....”
Review of Mela

Mela
Ranked #499 of 3,202 Restaurants in Boston
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Kids
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Delivery, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: South End
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
281 reviews
168 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“Great food - everything else eh....”
Reviewed October 23, 2011

We've eaten at Mela before and really enjoyed the place. This time we were a bit disappointed. Despite our reservation we were seated right near the door in the bar. Our waiter was very friendly at first, but less so as the night wore on and the place became crowded. He clearly wanted us to leave so someone else could have our table, but we wouldn't have taken so long if our drinks hadn't taken 20 minutes to arrive each time we ordered. There appeared to be no bartender -- just a waiter doing double duty. The food was wonderful, but feeling rushed - especially when we hadn't seen our friends and wanted to catch up -- was a bummer. And sitting right at the entrance felt like Grand Central Station: very frenetic . Another thing to remember is that this area has only street parking and most of it is resident permit only. So get there early, you'll have to drive around a while to find a parking space. Mela does not have valet parking.

  • Visited October 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank 2dtrav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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134 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    47
    54
    19
    8
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
washington, dc
Level Contributor
154 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Great food, nonexistent service, hectic atmosphere”
Reviewed October 1, 2011

We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table for three--- not surprising on a Friday night and not a problem if the food is tasty. Once seated we did find the food well worth the wait. Even the basic, less "sexy" items like chicken tandoori had a lovely flavor and were perfectly spiced. Mint chutney q bit spicier than most but also had a bright, crisp flavor. My Mister had beef with mushroom (I can't remember the preparation) which was delicious. Two starters and 3 mains for 3 people and we left stuffed.

Sadly, the service ruined this meal as it was impossible to get the waiter's attention for anything. We waited for menus upon finally being seated, waited for drinks, waited waited waited.... It took a good 30 minutes to receive mains once starters were cleared and I can understand the kitchen being backed up but we didn't see the waiter at all during that time, and after the meal we waited with dirty plates for another 20 minutes before stacking them into a tower as an unmissable sign that we were done and required table-clearing. Horrible service because it was completely inattentive.

The restaurant is quite pretty but incredibly hectic as the folks waiting for a table will stand wherever they please, even if it means you enjoy your meal with a stranger's backside in your face. It's very loud and some of the tables for two are in very awkward, high-traffic spots. I can't imagine taking a first date here.

There is a rather frazzled looking fella who was behind the counter during our visit. I took him for the owner or the manager. Whoever he is, he needs to hire a cashier, and spend less time racking glasses/dispatching carry-out orders and more time actually managing the restaurant, checking to see if guests have everything they need, keeping aisles clear of waiting customers, and ensuring service standards. This restaurant has a lot of potential as the food is really, really nice, but it's just not an enjoyable dining experience. I'm not local so I doubt I will be back but even if I lived here, I don't think I'd go here again (except maybe carry-out).

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank dcpatti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
85 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Bombastic and organic - try it!”
Reviewed August 25, 2011

We've just spent our second evening at Mela's; and they passe with flying colors. Simply great food (try the chicken tikka), excellent naan (take it with butter) and extremely pleasant staff (from Nepal; but thats ok ;-) Spend about four bucks more and you'll get an organic upgrade.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank uskern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Havre de Grace, MD
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Delicious Indian food explosion”
Reviewed August 1, 2011

Great value, great food, great service, great experience. I took my daughter and son for the lunch buffet. Great value at $9.95 per. Very attentive staff. Overall highly recommended.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank HdGresident
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keene
Level Contributor
20 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“You must try the lunch buffet!”
Reviewed June 14, 2011

I just found this place near my office a little over a week or so and I'm going to the lunch buffet for the third time! It's well worth the $10 for the buffet, but the regular menu seems a bit more pricey. Nice ambience.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank kam525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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