M Tempura

4.8
96 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Tempura
M Tempura is Durham's traditional Japanese tempura restaurant. For lunch: Our lunch options are strictly Pork and Fish Katsu lunch sets and not traditional tempura. Tempura is available only for dinner to allow lunch diners fast and efficient service. We plan on introducing vegetarian options to our menu soon. For Dinner: Our dinner service is strictly a set menu. We are a small restaurant with limited seating, so we ask that everyone who sits to choose one of the dinner options. We currently cannot accommodate shellfish, vegetarian (egg in batter), gluten, and seafood allergies. We apologize for the inconvenience. We plan on introducing vegetarian options to our menu soon.
What 96 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.9
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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Raleigh
18 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dining at M Tempura was one of the nicest food experiences I have had lately. The following things were awesome: location, ambiance of the restaurant, friendliness and knowledge of the wait staff, and the food!

D
Raleigh
9 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic meal and service. We will be back!

JL
Miami
7 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome place! Went for dinner and the traditional omakase was amazing. So many interesting and wonderful flavors. A fun way to have dinner, highly recommend this place.

Z
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

The food was OK but not that fresh. My friend feel uncomfortable after her first meal in it.

k
Raleigh
27 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was overall very good; the sea bass was excellent, and the fish very good in general. A few of the vegetables (esp the sweet potato and asparagus) were too big and would have been better sliced more thinly. I would recommend that they consider doing pumpkin or shishito instead of some of the vegetables. I also wish that they had some sort of tea that came with dessert; bancha would have been fine. I also regretted not being able to watch them cook, but I assume the hoods are local requirements and that they cannot have the same open arrangement that Japanese tempura restaurants have.

LW
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been to M Tempura several times and always had a wonderful experience. The food is excellent, the service is exceptional. Highly recommended!

N
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A true culinary experience. All amazing and unique flavors. Possibly one of the best dining destinations in the area. Not to be missed!

A
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and great dining experience.

DN
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Delicious food and interesting presentation. Very hot inside the restaurant, though.

JJ
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of the better meals I've had in a while. We ate at the bar with a group of four, and they seated us at the corner so we all could talk. The servers were friendly and knowledgeable and basically just fantastic. We all ended up ordering the traditional omakase. The best part of eating at the bar is that you are front and center for all of the cooking. Our chef Savanna was exceptional. Everything we ate was perfect and my favorite was the chilean sea bass with a close second being the shitake mushroom. Would definitely recommend.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Birthday date

KH
Raleigh
11 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been excited to try M Tempura for some time as I am a fan of the other M restaurants. The experience exceeded my expectations. My partner & I had the traditional omakase and it consisted of a diverse array of dishes, some tempura fried, some not. My personal favorite was the fried Mero seabass, but the tuna crudo was a close second. We also accompanied our meal w/ sake - which paired perfectly.

N
Raleigh
9 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time visitor but we will go again for sure. Small place but nicely decorated. Great service and interaction with the Chef (we sat at the bar) -- Savannah was terrific. Food was excellent and much closer to "real" Japanese food than what passes for that at other places. Highly recommended.

A
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Came to M Tempura for an intimate birthday dinner. Staff was so attentive the birthday girl that I was blown away. Five star experience!

S
Raleigh
10 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious. The sea bass in particular was extraordinary. The setting was intimate but not overly formal.

OT
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Friendly staff and fresh ingredients!

a
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Both the food and the service were excellent. Our table all ordered the Basic Set, which was a plentiful amount of fish and vegetables. We all particularly enjoyed the sea bass, the eggplant and the sweet potato. The meal is well paced, which conveys a sense of ritual and specialness. The entire experience was delightful--we'll return soon.

CW
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a good friend from NYC visiting me in Durham and wanted to impress! M Tempura was the perfect choice. Absolutely everything was delicious from the Chilean sea bass to the Chinese eggplant—from the taste cleanser honeydew sorbet to the final dish of the most gingery ginger ice cream you could imagine. Server explained each item. Pacing of courses was on the mark and we left dreaming about the udon soup!! I’ll be back soon with more friends I wish to impress!! Bravo to the chefs and servers!

L
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my first visit to M Tempura and it was delicious! We sat at the bar and our service was impeccable.
The tempura was light and the food was fresh and delicious! I would absolutely go back!

OT
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Visit my son

Report
OT
Atlanta
15 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was delicious and creative. The service was flawless.

MD
Raleigh
37 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

M Tempura was a fantastic place to go. We did the Traditional Style Omakase and it was the perfect amount of food per person - we left feeling quite full.

The service is fantastic, due to the small nature of the restaurant, the staff are able to pay close attention to you. Food came out at an appropriate rate and was very fresh. One of our guests had a shellfish allergy and they were able to accommodate this restriction.

The restaurant has nailed tempura; however, if there is any room for improvement, I would suggest that they vary the flavors of the tempura. To my taste, and I presume, that the batter is the same for each dish that is fried which can get a bit monotonous. I would like to see a variety of different sides or sauces for the tempura.

Will definitely be back.

Warning --> you may smell like tempura after leaving the restaurant!

KM
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Too pricey for the food. I appreciate the concept, but too much time in between each serving and many of the servings were too small and too hot (I burned my tongue). The menu could use a revamp because there are only 3 main options, with 2 of them being way overpriced.

G
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such an amazing meal and experience. sit at the bar so you can watch the action!!

T
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

A unique and fu. experience but, having done it, I probably won’t rush to come back.

JF
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We've been to M Sushi several times and somehow always had issues with the service. Not so here! Friendly, just attentive enough and the wonderful food was brought out in an expertly choreographed fashion. We had the the $43 Omakase. It was perfect for a couple of hungry men.

EN
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our 2nd time there, its gets better with each visit

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the basic dinner which was plenty. Wonderful variety of vegetables and seafood perfectly cooked.

ML
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I ordered the Dinner Traditional Tempura meal and it was absolutely sublime. It was authentic tempura. Not heavy or greasy but light and delicious. The fish (salmon, sea bass) was fresh and mouth-watering. The shrimp, scallops and vegetables were done perfectly. The pre and post tempura courses that come with the traditional meal were equally fabulous. And the final course of ginger ice-cream with crystallized ginger shavings on top set off the whole meal. I would expect this sort of restaurant in a large cosmopolitan city. To have it here in Durham is a gift. Chef Michael Lee is a true culinary artist. When you make your dinner reservation you chose your time based on whether you prefer the bar area around the chef's or a table. We did table and it was lovely. But all the seats were taken as the restaurant only seats around 30 total people, so take what you can get. You will have a meal to remember.

B
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This whole meal experience was really fabulous! The food was amazing, interacting with the chefs was fun, and the setting was intimate and warm. We will definately do again!

m
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Like M Sushi, the attention to detail and quality of ingredients is top notch. The young man who was a greeter and overall manager was the highlight of the meal. He offered us a better seat at the bar so we could see the tempura preparation. The person preparing it could not have been more unpleasant. Unlike to professional and upbeat, welcoming sushi chef's at M Sushi, this posture was not the case and food was kind of angrily pushed at us. This same chef appeared to have an issue with the manager and was whispering to her assistant - in front of us. Didn't want to see this let alone have it be the experience. Two other servers on the floor - outstanding.

TM
Raleigh
13 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

M Temura is an experience. It is expensive but worth special occasions. There is no bar.

d
Raleigh
10 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

My wife and I ordered whatever the lowest-price omakase menu was called, the "basic," I think, for $29, and with a tempura soft-shelled crab on top of that (1 for $14, which we shared), it proved to be almost more than we could eat. We didn't disagree with N&O critic Greg Cox's assessment that this must have been "tempura at its best," although we had never eaten tempura that came anywhere close to this in quality. So we had no runner-ups with which to compare it. As for all the different menus, each piece of tempura was fried separately and served as soon as it was cooked. The sequence was thoughtfully chosen, and the ginger ice cream for dessert constituted a wonderful finish to the meal.

EE
Raleigh
19 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We sat at the bar, which was fun because we could watch the chef work and speak to her occasionally. The food is done perfectly, with an extremely light batter and cooked very quickly to save the most essential flavor of each item. The tastiest items, such as shrimp and salmon, we're absolutely perfect. For more bland items such as Lotus root, I would have liked to have had something a bit intense, such as horseradish. We will definitely go back.

NC
Raleigh
41 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food. Really fun to sit at the bar and watch everything being prepared. Great service.

GM
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very pleasant little restaurant in a cozy alley very convenient to parking. The dinner menu is essentially prix fixe with three levels to choose from, and a few selections that can be added. The food presentation is beautiful and in the basic set we found a nice variety of tempura. The tempura batter is very light and crispy to perfection; menu items are served in groups of two or three at a time so that from the beginning to the end of the meal one is eating freshly prepared food (Very important when dealing with tempura). Flavors and textures were invariably delicious, with a superb ginger ice cream for desert. The service is relaxed and super attentive without being intrusive. Overall, one of the best experiences of the many good experiences we have had dining in the triangle.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food and great experience!

HH
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner at M Tempura was even better than I had been told. The service was spot on, the food was wonderful, and the small setting lent itself to a very pleasant experience. The service was incredibly well choreographed and the food was delicious. Highly recommend, but do expect to spend a lot of money!

PS
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was fantastic as always. Left full, fat, and happy

MK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food and service. Very quiet and not many people when I was there, so I don't know if that is a typical dinner environment or not. But still, very happy with the experience.

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