Not long ago, a reader of our weekly newsletter wrote: "Greetings! One of my favorite Asian restaurants in the Tucson area is Mantis @ 8250 N. Cortaro Rd. I keep going back there...small place, always busy and tucked in that mall/shopping area with Walmart nearby, on the same side. I recommend you try it if you haven’t and I’d love to see what you think! Thanks for your interesting publication, I can hardly keep up with the history articles. ? Your friend, Priscilla Warren."
Well, Priscilla, Neighbor Roy and I went to Mantis on Friday for lunch. It was hard to find, I'll say. The Pavilions Shopping Center is very large and complex. When we arrived we had to wait a while for a table, but once seated, the service was very good. First, we ordered an appetizer: Fried Shrimp with sweet and sour dip. Soon we ordered lunch. Roy ordered his usual, Lo Mein with house noodles and I ordered my favorite Chinese dish, Sweet and Sour Pork.
While waiting for our food we could look about. The place is very small, maybe 9 tables at most. The walls were nondescript with a few framed pictures. There was only one waitress, a very tiny Chinese gal who was really hustling tables.
Our food came up fairly quickly and I'll let Roy tell you about his experience. "We dined in a small Chinese family type restaurant in the Walmart center in Marana. Difficult to find as it is small (only 9 tables). The best advice I can give is that one turns South, into this Center at the Bank Of America entrance to the Pavilions Shopping Center from Cortaro Road, make a hard left and another left as thought you were going to exit, turn in to this stand-alone building and this is the place (next to a dentist office). Or you can Google-it -Ms. Karen
The restaurant is small, plain and nondescript. The restaurant has only one waitress. Despite this; the menu is extensive, and does offer both Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. We ordered an appetizer of 8 Fried Shrimp which arrived with a sweet/sauce. The shrimp were large and we enjoyed them. For my main course, I ordered the house Lo-Mien. I chose this dish in all Chinese restaurants to see if the noodles are housemade and not store-bought, makes a great difference in the taste and talents of the cook. In this case, the noodles were fresh and housemade. The dish had a large selection of chicken, beef, and shrimp, The serving was large and tasty. Despite having only one waitress and a small kitchen, the waitress was attentive and the food was hot and excellent. I would give it 3 & 1/2 saguaros. It is worthy of a repeat visit to try other dishes."
My Sweet & Sour Pork was also very tasty, albeit, the pork cubes were a bit chewy. Both Roy and I cleaned our large plates. I agree with Roy, Mantis Gourmet Chinese is worth a return visit. We rate it at three and a half Saguaros. And we thank Priscilla for the recommendation.
Mantis Gourmet Chinese Food
8250 N Cortaro Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743