M Tempura

4.8
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118 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 118 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.9
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Quiet
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JM
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Interesting, memorable dining experience. Mulitple presentations of small portions add up to a full meal.

g
Chicago
18 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our second time there. Food is amazing and creative.

NB
Raleigh
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The M Omakase was well worth the price. The seafood was fresh and tender, and the vegetables held their own. The flow of service was excellent and made for an enjoyable evening.

OT
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The M restaurants are always so amazing. From the ambiance, to the staff, to the cuisine, M Tempura was amazing. Because the dinner is a set menu, be sure to set aside about 1.5-2 hours from beginning to end. They bring out each course 1-2 times at a time to ensure you eat it when it’s still piping hot. My only hang-up is that the grease smell stays on you, your hair, and clothes! Maybe they can figure out a new air filtration system down the road. All in all, I HIGHLY recommend this place!

P
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Too much background noise - AC and recorded music, neither of which was needed

Both the warm saki and tea could have used thermal containers or warming plates - in the room’s chill air, they cooled far too quickly

A
Raleigh
10 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Fantastic experience in a unique atmosphere— highly recommend.

D
London
17 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicate flavors beautifully presented! M Tempura is a smaller, intimate space with small courses of tempura items brought to you by excellent and knowledgeable servers. The pacing is perfect for enjoying each taste and each diner is given a set of seasonings such as lemon, shaved radish, and sea salt to help customize to taste. Standouts were the shrimp, lotus root, sea bass and sweet potato, and don't miss the ginger ice cream for dessert. Diners choose from a series of pre-set menus with the option to add on additional items, and there's an impressive sake menu too-- our server was able to make some great suggestions. Book a table at the bar for a front row seat to watching the chefs!

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent food and service. Excellent presentation. The ambiance was hindered by the very oil smoke filled air. The noise was due to all of the fan units. My hair and clothes stink pf pil

C
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing. We really enjoyed the experience.

OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The wait staff was very very friendly and attentive.

JW
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food And great service! I love the way the mark cones out in courses. It makes you feel like you are on a journey and you get to enjoy each piece individually. Such a great experience.

GD
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food! You can enjoy inspired Japanese fare at M Tempura and it compares to meals I’ve had in Tokyo and Osaka!

Highly recommend you consider this great restaurant!

MW
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

For any occasions

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A great treat!

S
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

We made a reservation at M Tempura to celebrate our anniversary and it was a great decision! They were prompt with getting us seated and taking drink orders. We opted for the traditional omakase, which is the middle of the price levels, it did not disappoint! All of the tempura bites were perfect, the sea bass was cooked just through so juicy still. I opted for the udon noodle soup while my husband went for the soba noodle soup, they were both delicious. The meal ended with a ginger sorbet that was just the right amount of sweetness to cap off the meal.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time eating at M Tempura. We brought our grand daughters and everyone was wonderful from the minute we walked into the restaurant. A really unique dining experience. We will be back.

AS
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful evening - delicious food and great service. Atmosphere is perfect for date night

PC
Raleigh
17 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unique dining experience. Loved the pace of serving food. Left feeling satisfied but not full.

OT
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food and excellent, personable service. I felt the M omakase was worth the price.

HK
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The dinner service was definitely a great experience for my wife and I. Since it's our first time being here after hearing so many god things about the restaurant, we gave the signature set a try. We were not disappointed. From execution to the flavor and ingredients quality, everything was elevated to a whole different level. Both of us were taken from one surprise to another, and we are intrigued through out the 2 and a half hour of the dinner course. The only thing that chips away 1 star from my review is the smell of oil that stays on our clothing and hair and filled the restaurant, and somewhat overloaded our sense of smell through the dinning experience. Nevertheless, that did not affect how our taste-buds were impressed.

BM
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Loved it, only issue was the slight odor of fried food throughout the restaurant, but expected since you’re eating fried food

KS
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

M Tempura provides a very unique dining experience. We sat at the bar and got the "M" Omakase menu. Although the first course of ricotta & roe was a bit odd, the sea trout was fantastic & the best course of the night. On the second course of the tempura (softshell shrimp), I unfortunately received the additional inclusion of a VERY long hair battered & fried into the piece. As I was sitting at the bar, the tempura chef observed the event, took my plate & provided me with a new one. She did take the plate into the kitchen & promptly returned to her station after washing her hands. The remainder of the meal was without incident. The lotus root was another highlight. It would have been nice to have the full slice of root, but we were only given half a piece each. After the tempura, we both got the skate with squid ink noodles. The sauce with the skate was good, but the skate itself was quite bland & flavorless. The noodles also seemed to be lacking something. The meal closed with a lovely small scoop of ginger ice cream. The manager presented our checks (separate) & did say "I took something off for you". Interestingly he discounted both our checks (even though my companion had no hair in his food), but I was really quite surprised that NOBODY ever actually verbalized acknowledgement of the hair event & actually said to me "I'm sorry". Obviously this was not an malicious event & it happens, but I think it would have gone a long way to actually hear the works "I am sorry that happened". The tempura chef & her sous were young, but were responsive to questions, skilled & seemed to enjoy their jobs. Owner Michael Lee is a great chef with a proven track record. I have been to M Sushi & it was great (although very small portions). I know Greg Cox gave M Tempura 4.5 stars, but I did not have the same experience. It is a unique experience & worth a one time visit. Unless you just really like basic tempura, I would stick with some of Chef Lee's other ventures.

g
Raleigh
21 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2019
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
3 reviews
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
28 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
14 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
12 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!

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