February 2013 View more


Anyone who has lived in this area long enough has surely, at one time or another, been a party to the tortuous parade of evening traffic on Route 59, that inadequate belt of asphalt that forms the strained waistband dividing the bulging expanses of Naperville and Aurora. Scan the forlorn faces of the drivers on any given night and you’ll see variations on the same expression over and over again, the one that practically weeps, “I’d rather be somewhere else – anywhere else.”

Thankfully, at just the point where this unfortunate promenade reaches its maddening nadir, in the suffocating span between the Metra overpass and the Fox Valley Mall, those commuters in need of a release valve will find a welcoming “somewhere else” just off the thoroughly beaten path. Tucked amid the bounty of chain restaurants and retail boxes is a small, colorful, yet unassuming little corner spot called OMango.

Indian For All


What used to be an outlet of the Southwest chain Moe’s is now a fresh new take on Southern

Asia. But before any knee-jerk reaction to lump OMango in with the bevy of Indian restaurants in the area takes hold, it’s worth noting that this really does look and feel like something different. While connoisseurs of Indian cuisine will certainly find plenty of interest on the well thought-out menu, OMango appears consciously geared toward bringing the new and uninitiated into the tent as well.

The layout is certainly different from many of the other Indian options in the area, with a decidedly casual vibe and an order-and-pick-up counter. But if traditional ambiance is sacrificed with the lack of table service or the absence of a typical buffet line, the mix-and-match possibilities offered by OMango’s affordable ala carte and combo meal slate makes it a perfect choice for families, newbies, and those looking to sample as many flavors as possible.


Old Favorites, New Approach

NMAG0213_TableForTwo_3First-timers to either Indian food, or just this particular take on it, will definitely want to pick up and peruse a menu before approaching the counter to place an order. Because while many of the traditional Indian flavors and dishes are duly represented, there are a number of curveballs (or googlies, in cricket parlance) worth exploring. For example, a diner looking for classic chicken tikka in a spicy vindaloo gravy could order a standard platter version of the meal, or choose to fold everything into a paratha wrap with a side of one of six house-made chutnies.

We mostly fell back on tradition in our selections, taking advantage of the choose-two combo platters to sample chicken in masala sauce, saag paneer and a wonderfully tender and flavorful mango chicken from the tandoor clay oven, all accompanied by rice and naan, of course. We also ventured onto the sides menu to try out a couple of OMango originals, a colorful quinoa salad and an order of the hearty and addictive paneer-stuffed naan sticks with makhani dipping sauce. Think you have to pass on the Indian dinner because the babysitter fell through? Set the kids up with an order of these and a couple of mango lassis (yogurt smoothies) and you’ll likely wind up with a satisfied table, a new family dining destination and an extra ten bucks an hour in your pocket.

Come to think of it, that kind of sums up the OMango experience for beaten-down drivers and world-weary train denizens as well – delicious food, an affordable evening out and, perhaps most importantly, a unique respite from the madness of the world just outside.