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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mangia Mi: The new place to be!

Lunch date #46 September 14, 2013

Not sure what has kept us so busy this summer, but we had not had a chance to have lunch together for several weeks. Even Friday this last week didn't work for us, so in an attempt to not miss another week, we elected to go out on Saturday. I had heard a new restaurant opened downtown: Mangia Mi (234 Main St; www.mangia-mi.com), on the south edge of town, across from Vic's. I have been to their Danville location for dinner a few times, and always found it excellent, so I was looking forward to trying it for lunch.

Location 4.5 points: We might start calling this location SODA (South Downtown Area) if many more restaurants open there! Not the heart of the quaint area, by far, but more parking is available in that area-even on a Saturday during the Farmer's Market.

Ambiance 4 points: Outdoor seating and an open-kitchen floor plan create a welcome dining space. The tables are well spaced, in contrast to the Danville location, but I get the feeling that as the place grows in popularity, more tables will be fit in to create that squished, but exciting, bistro feel. The bar seating along the open-kitchen is inviting. The dining room with the large windows and tall ceilings is light and airy, so when it fills with patrons, I think it will still feel comfortable. The restaurant was only about 1/3 full that afternoon, but considering that the Danville location is typically packed, when this location catches on, it will create a more festive-vibe.

Menu 5 points: Very good selection of salads, panini, entrees, and pizza. We couldn't think of anything else you could add! We both chose a panino: I went for the veggie and Mom decided to give the grilled-chicken on a try. The panini are served with a choice of green mista (mixed) or pasta salad.

Food 5 points: They started the table with a service of bread and delicious herbed-dipping oil.  The panini were huge-we each only ate half and took the rest home for another meal. Mom appreciated the plating: large rectangular white bistro plates that held both the sandwiches and salad. We both loved our panini: very soft, tasty ciabatta bread-almost more of a focaccia in lightness. My veggie had a good selection of grilled eggplant, zucchini accompanied by goat cheese to give it a zing. Mom's grilled chicken panino had a tomato pesto and grilled red peppers to give it interest. We both liked our side salads as well.

Service 3 points: Our server was OK, but not terribly friendly. The backup wait-staff were very efficient, offering refills often, but Mom did have to send back her cold cup of coffee twice until she could get a hot one. We waited a fairly long time for our panini—I will presume because everything was freshly made? Perhaps they had to prep the veggies, and grill the chicken to order. Might have been because they were slow, so didn’t have a tightly efficient kitchen running at lunch time? I think for dinner, it would be fine because you might have an anti-pasta or salad first. Good thing we had the bread!

Value 4.5 points: The prices are on the higher side for lunch ($11 for the veggie panino and $12 for the chicken panino), but since the portion sizes are so large it seems like a better deal. You could split one easily. The dinner menu is very reasonably priced. Our only disappointment was $3 for a cup of regular coffee, cold at that. Overall though, it was a very nice dining experience and we felt that we would return to try some of the other menu items. I will definitely try it for dinner with Gary or some girl-friends soon!

Overall score for the new Mangia Mi: 4.3 points! This one rates as one of our favorites to date. We had a very enjoyable lunch in the newest Pleasanton restaurant and suggest you give it a try!