Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mangia Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Lake Worth, FL

We traveled far outside of our comfort zone leaving the 305 and 954 and entered the heart of the 561. One of Carole's friends from work and his wife, Bill and Joanne, invited us to dinner at one of their favorite places, Mangia Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Lake Worth off Lantana Road. Personally I thought Lantana was just the place to get the ticket on the Turnpike driving up to Orlando, but people live there and have restaurants, great restaurants.

Mangia sits inside a strip mall, no distinguishing characteristics or landmark, but all the character is on the inside. From what I understand, the chef/owner, who is from Sicily,  ran another restaurant with his brother and then for whatever reason decided to split off and do his own thing. The food was terrific and the quality was superb. We were their Friday night which turned out to be very crowded and caused the kitchen to run a little slower than normal, but when the food came out we were glad we waited.

When we sat down there was a basket of hot garlicy focaccia bread on the table. They actually make a lot of the bread there and then use the leftover bread to make their own breadcrumbs that they use in their dishes. The specials that night included an appetizer of rice balls and fried cauliflower which had more cheese then rice or cauliflower but was excellent. Carole ordered pasta ala Mangia, a special with a pink sauce, prosciutto, and peas, I had the veal saltimbocca and our friends each ordered the chicken ala Sicilia.

My veal was tender and flavorful, the gravy was sweet with wine but not overpowering, and the fresh mushrooms gave it an earthy taste that was fantastic. I couldn't eat the whole thing and brought back almost half. Bill and Joanne's chicken was free range, you could tell because of the tenderness and the freshness. On top sliced eggplant tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Three of our meals came with broccoli rabe that was cooked in tons of olive oil and garlic. I was tasting it the rest of the night, but it was great.

Carole's special had wide pasta noodles and the sauce was fresh and creamy, not thick and viscous like you sometimes get at other Italian restaurants. The peas gave it a different level of flavor and texture that Carole was really happy with. Unfortunately because we got there a little late, and because they were so busy that night, all the cannolis were sold out so we opted out of dessert. We were not drinking so the total bill came to only $100.00. For the amount and quality of the food we got I think we made out pretty well.

We had a great time and a great meal, the drive was a little much for someone who works in Miami and lives in Hollywood but the food is worth making the trek up there again.

Mangia Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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