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M Tempura

4.7

111 Orange St
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: (919) 748-3874
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Google Reviews

Photo of Angie Shen Angie Shen
Jun 11, 2019 4

Very authentic Japanese food and this place is small but adorable. I love their pork but the tonkatsu sauce and the slaw are too salty. It’s also n the high end. That being said, I would still love to try their other food!

Photo of Lauren Nye Lauren Nye
May 11, 2019 5

Truly a unique and amazing dining experience! Allow for plenty of time to appreciate the pacing of tempura dishes. We loved sitting at the bar, and since it is a small space I would recommend making a reservation to accomplish that. Great for a special occasion, and to learn about a specialty cuisine. Will look forward to coming again!

Photo of Anamaria Radulian Anamaria Radulian
Apr 10, 2019 5

One of the best meals we've had in a long time. The food was amazing, each course was perfect. The Tempura scallops are to die for (and our waiter graciously hooked us up with a 2nd round of them since we loved them so much!). The service was exceptional. We'll definitely be returning for more!

Photo of Elizabeth T Elizabeth T
Nov 12, 2018 5

Classy & innovative. A chic experience dining tempura as I've never experienced before. Great flavors and presentation. Eat everything with your eyes, and some with your mouth, and enjoy! Staff was all great, too. You need reservations to sit at the bar! Next time, I'll try that!

Photo of Kyle Johnson Kyle Johnson
Mar 14, 2019 5

Just be aware that this is "Omakase" Style food. This means the chef has 3 or so preset meals that you can choose from but ultimately, it is somewhat limited. But it is great food. Reservation Reccomended. The tempura is not seasoned and you are invited to add your own when they bring it to you. Deceptively more food than it appears to be

Photo of Sean Chaney Sean Chaney
Jul 17, 2019 5

i love all of the Michael Lee restaurants. especially this once since my favorite food in the world is pork tonkatsu.

Photo of Kathleen Koechling Kathleen Koechling
Sep 23, 2019 5

We chose the "basic set" for $29. Flavors were delicate to intense, all perfectly balanced. Different sauces provided variety in every bite. Tiny portions of many different items were surprisingly filling. Lovely presentation.

Photo of Jerry Helmcke Jerry Helmcke
Sep 10, 2019 5

Beautifully prepared and well executed tempura! Tempura is lightly fried and not oily. The fish was so fresh and there were so many unexpected bites! Pro tip: sit at the bar!

Photo of Zachary Bennett Zachary Bennett
Oct 17, 2019 5

Excellent meal with excellent service. One of the most unique and interesting dining experiences I've had in Durham. Come with an appetite!

Photo of Brooklyn C Brooklyn C
Sep 10, 2019 5

WOW! Some of the best Japanese food I've had in the US and by far the best in NC. There's also a super sweet lunch with beautiful katsus! What a discovery this sweet little gem is for me.

Photo of Nicole S Nicole S
Sep 3, 2019 5

This is a great spot if you’d like to have a food experience. As with M Sushi, everything is very fresh and delicious!

Photo of Jaime Maxwell Jaime Maxwell
Oct 24, 2019 5

Cute little spot somewhat tucked away from the main road. The food was fantastic (I had the cheese katsu and now want nothing more than a food nap), the service was prompt, efficient, and friendly, and the a e s t h e t i c was simple and comfortable. Would definitely love to come back and try their dinner set sometime.

Photo of Joe M Joe M
Sep 15, 2019 3

First off I would like to say that I would rate this 3.5 starts if I could, but given the choice between 3 or 4 stars, I couldn’t come up with enough reasons to rate it higher. The pros: The food and ambiance is good, I liked the small intimate setting. They have tables and seating around the cooking station. As some have mentioned, there is a fry oil smell in the air, so I was glad to be at a table. I didn’t think the smell was anywhere near as bad as some people described however. The wait staff was all very professional and attentive. They described the food and setting very well and I would rate them highly. The food was good, but I didn’t think it was great. The tempura batter is very light and is not over whelming or heavy, which I liked. I had the basic set and it came with a salad with some carrots, cauliflower and greens with a ginger dressing. The salad and dressing were very good, but it needed something else to make it better. Another crunchy vegetable would have helped. The white rice is just that. The excitement for the rice is a perfectly cooked egg on top. This seems to have been some type of deep fried egg and it is not a typical fried egg you may be thinking of. If you like eggs, this one was great. The ginger ice cream was fantastic. Mediocre: The tempura itself was hit or miss. Several pieces were not hot. They are all 1 or 2 bites each. There is a dipping sauce that I found underwhelming and salt available (and needed) to add for flavor. The sea bass, scallop and shrimp were all good. Some of the vegetables were better than others. Only the eggplant was hot. Everything else quite cool. In general I found the tempura fine, but not special. Portions are quite small. We left filled, and the portion for us was OK. Others may be disappointed, especially in lieu of the price. Summary; In general the meal was average. Some food cold or lukewarm. The prices are quite high for the experience and food. With a bottle of wine and tip we were at about $150; and we each had the lowest priced dinner. There is not enough variety here to keep me coming back. I felt that for the price I could find much better dining options. This seems to fall into that category of places that get some sort of cult following. Someone says it is great and like sheep the reviews follow. Bon Appetite recently mentioned them, which likely will drive that opinion even higher. I didn’t feel the meal lived up to the hype. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as the reviews or price paid.

Photo of Zach Goldstein Zach Goldstein
Jan 16, 2020 5

Excellent food and very friendly staff. I just wish the portions were a bit larger. That being said by the time I had finished the last course I left full and happy.