Food Porn: Mango’z Jamaican Restaurant

For as long as I can remember, 577 Forrest was an ever-changing restaurant building.  When I was younger I always thought it was a great location and could never figure out why it was empty.  But Elmwood can be deceiving and that youthful and naive version of myself didn’t understand the high costs and the high turnover of the strip.  Restaurants come and go pretty easily downtown, so I tried to hold back my optimism when I found about Mango’z opening several months ago.  But after being open for almost 2 months and purchasing a Groupon deal, Alli and I decided to visit and see how good this place was.

Quick Info:

  • Restaurant Type: Casual, Buffet
  • Cuisine: Caribbean
  • Location: Elmwood
  • Prices: Lunch $8, Entrees $12-15, Beef Patties $3.50

We’ve only had a couple visits to Caribbean restaurants since starting Buffalo Eats and my only experience with Jerk Chicken came from a Chicken Wing I tried at Wing Fest this year (so, consider me an amateur in this area).  Buffalo isn’t exactly exploding with Caribbean restaurants and the only one that really stands out to me is South Buffalo’s Curly’s which is really more “Caribbean inspired” fine dining (if I’m missing a great Caribbean restaurant in the area please let me know in the comments).  But some of our online friends were giving the food some praise and I had been wanting to visit for weeks so on a calm Sunday afternoon we decided to swing by.

When we walked into Mango’z it just happened to be right as the lunch buffet (and thus the lunch special prices) was ending.  The one side of the restaurant was closed off and we sat in the dining area with a large buffet, two coolers of drinks and roughly a dozen tables.  There’s nothing fancy about this place, but it was clean and you could tell they put a little work into fixing it up and hanging some wall decorations.  The woman working behind the counter was very eager to show us all of our different options, she literally took us down the entire line and described all she had to offer and how spicy each selection was.  I appreciated this as I’m not too familiar, yet, with the cuisine.  From what I can tell, their lunch menu is almost identical to their dinner (entree) menu, except the price is nearly half for lunch.  Since we arrived after 3pm (and our Groupon didn’t qualify for lunch meals) our meals were at diner entree prices, which means our check was ~$40.

Even though the price tag was a tad high, the amount of food you get is still pretty impressive.  After picking a rice (Jasmine) and a vegetable (sweet potatoes and plantains), I chose a large breast piece of Jerk Chicken.  Considering all of the food came from a buffet tray, I was surprised on how fresh it was and my chicken was quite juicy while the skin was still crispy (I was worried it would be soggy from sitting under heat lamps).  I had forgotten how spicy jerk seasoning could be and was a bit taken aback by the strong punch with the first bite; it left a nice tingle in my mouth.  Both of my sides were pretty mild; the baked/boiled plantains still had a sweet flavor but I still prefer them fried up and crunchy.  Alli got a very similar meal, but instead of the regular Jerk Chicken she ordered the Orange Jerk Chicken.  Almost identical in every way except her chicken had a sweet sugary orange flavor while still providing the kick from the jerk seasoning.  Overall, for food that came from a buffet it was quite good.  But since it was my first time and, again, I’m not a expert in all things Caribbean, I will reserve further judgment after a future visit.

We also sampled their beef patties which are nearly identical to Puerto Rican pastellio’s that we’ve had many times.  The main difference was Mango’z patties weren’t deep fried and were instead baked.  While this is a healthier option, I love the oily crunch you get from a freshly fried pastellio.  Their patties also come in a vegetable option, which I tried.  I enjoyed the vegetable filling, it reminded me of a good Chinese restaurant egg roll.  Alli tried what was supposed to be a spicy beef filled pattie, unfortunately it was not very spicy and slightly mushy.  We checked to make sure we weren’t served the mild pattie….we weren’t.  Alli was quite disappointed.  Their patties are $3.50 each, definitely not super expensive but a dollar or so more than what you might pay for something better elsewhere.

So, for the most part, we had a good meal at Mango’z but I was surprised that our check ended up being so high.  I’ve heard bad things about their service but I have no complaints about ours, though we were the only ones in the restaurant and the lady who served us seemed excited that she had customers at all that day.  If you are interested in trying out Mango’z without dropping a ton of cash, I’d definitely try to stop by for lunch (and maybe skip the beef patties).

Photo Gallery:

Mango'z Jamaican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Food Porn: Mango’z Jamaican Restaurant

  1. Julie, the co-owner you talked to, is actually super nice, and it seems like she’s equally chatty with everyone. The prices — you’re right — I’d eat there more frequently if I knew it’d only cost me $10 instead of $20. Her homemade slices of red velvet cake are awesome, but a slice runs for $5.95. A slice!

    Get the Jamaican ginger beer next time! It’s real potent but clears out your sinuses and has a pleasant buzz to it.

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