Green Mango Thai Bistro, 11226 4th St. (at Milliken), Rancho Cucamonga
My unholy love for Mix Bowl Cafe in Pomona has been well-documented. It’s Thai fast food, essentially, not far from home and casual enough — with its bright lighting, colors and neon and its T-shirt-clad servers — that a lone diner can eat there without feeling self-conscious.
On the other end of the spectrum is Green Mango, which opened in 2007 cater-corner from Ontario Mills (but in R.C.) in a space formerly occupied by Mi Tortilla. The family owned restaurant is decorated in teak direct from Thailand, and with its straight-backed chairs, square plates and staff in traditional dress it feels slightly elegant.
The menu, too, is lighter on the noodle and rice dishes Mix Bowl favors. There’s a nice range of entrees: chicken, duck, pork, beef, curries, seafood and vegetarian.
I’ve been to Green Mango a half-dozen times in its year or so of operation, in groups of two to five, but have never written about it. So on Thursday, I went in for a solo lunch. The place was, thankfully, busier than I’ve seen it. It may, finally, be catching on.
Since my last visit, the lunch menu has expanded from nine items to 30, and prices dropped a bit, with the lowest special at $5.95, which may be helping.
I got Panang Salmon ($8.95), which was chunks of salmon in a red curry with coconut milk, mildly spicy. Quite good, and as with all the lunch specials, you also get a small salad, a wonton, a scoop of rice and a cup of soup. Candidly, these sides are smaller than before, and not as good, either. A cream cheese wonton? That’s too American for a restaurant like this. But for the money, you get a filling meal.
In past visits I’ve had Jade Curry Chicken, Pad Thai (both $7.95) and, for dinner, Pra Ram Long Soung Prawn ($15.95), which is sauteed prawns with garlic, peanut sauce and sauteed spinach. The Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice With Mango ($6.95) dessert is delicious.
There’s no special need for me to mention the amusingly named Angry Beef, Angry Chicken, Drunken Noodle and Dancing Crispy Duck entrees, but I can’t resist.
Oh, and I can attest that Green Mango is a good choice after a movie at the Mills. Boston’s, BJ’s, etc., are packed, with lines out the doors. Green Mango is quiet and you’ll be seated quickly. It’s not as popular as it deserves to be but hopefully it’ll be around a while.
While I haven’t made a comprehensive survey, it’s up there with Thai T in Rancho Cucamonga and Swasdee Thai Cuisine in Chino Hills as the nicest Thai restaurants in the Inland Valley.
Although I still love Mix Bowl best.
* Update, February 2014: I went back to Green Mango for lunch and to take photos, ordering ginger pork ($8, below), which comes with salad, soup, wonton and rice. The entree was very good, the rest acceptable. I couldn’t get a good shot of the dining room without being obtrusive, but at bottom is an abbreviated view of the large-party area, which has sunken seating, and there are photos on the restaurant’s website.