- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Mangia, mangia. — Eat, eat.

That’s how Mangia owner Joe Priola and his staff welcome you when you enter his Italian grill and sports cafe on Main Street in Annapolis.

You can pop in for a slice of pizza to go or head upstairs for casual dining, with a variety of sandwiches, pastas, seafood and meat entrees, calzones, strombolis and, of course, some of the best New York-style or brick-oven pizza this area has to offer.

Make sure to read the specials board closely upon entering. Most times these offerings are a little more adventurous than Mangia’s everyday menu.

Sports fans will be impressed with the collection of memorabilia adorning the walls of the upstairs dining rooms. Autographed Redskins, Wizards, Orioles and Naval Academy photographs and jerseys are displayed prominently. Look closely, and you will find matted tear sheets of past Washington Times sports special sections. There also are a full-service bar and a dozen television sets. On winter weekends, Mangia is packed with football and basketball fans.

The house Chianti is pleasing. It’s sold by the glass, half-carafe or carafe. A variety of domestic and foreign brews are on tap.

The Mangia salad is romaine, arugula and radicchio with roasted red peppers, pine nuts, olive oil and fresh mozzarella in a raspberry vinaigrette.

From the specials board, the mussels and scungilli (conch) Possillipo features the seafood with sauteed green and red peppers in a light marinara sauce ($8.95). Some of the mussels were a little on the small side, but they were all quite flavorful. The scungilli was sliced thin and was quite tender. The marinara was mild, with just a hint of spice.

Funghi Pietro, mushroom caps sauteed with scallops in a pink cream sauce and then topped with mozzarella cheese, and half-shell clams stuffed with peppers, onions and prosciutto and then topped with provolone, are also good choices.

Veal cacciatore ($21.95) — veal medallions smothered in peppers, onions and mushrooms in a garlic marinara sauce over pasta — is almost smothered by too many peppers. The veal itself is tender and flavorful, and the cacciatore sauce is marvelous with the pasta.

For the seafood lover, flounder is broiled in a lemon-butter white-wine sauce, with mozzarella, plum tomatoes and olive oil, then tossed with linguini and romano cheese.

On the standard menu, the chicken scarpariello — shoemaker style —($16.75) is boneless breast of chicken cut into small pieces, sauteed in lemon, garlic butter and white wine, then combined with Italian sausage and served over linguini. The sweetness of the sausage and the lemon-butter-wine sauce with the chicken makes this a plate worth revisiting.

The mussels, shrimp and calamari marinaras are standard and good.

Chicken Parmigiana ($16.25) was generous if not memorable. The lightly breaded chicken breast was very tender. The tomato sauce was the ordinary part of the dish and could have benefited from a bit more seasoning.

Ravioli Florentine — ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and tossed with roasted peppers, peas and prosciutto with a pink cream sauce — is served on a bed of spinach.

From the grill, filet mignon Marsala is an 8-ounce filet grilled and sauteed with portobello mushrooms and Marsala wine and served with fettuccini. The New York strip pizzaiola is a 12-ounce steak grilled and sauteed with olive oil, garlic, white wine and portobello mushrooms; smothered in a marinara sauce; and served with linguini.

The children’s menu includes pasta with butter or meatballs, chicken strips, and a cheese or pepperoni pizza.

Reservations are recommended on Friday and Saturday nights; valet parking is available, and takeoutis available until 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

RESTAURANT: Mangia Italian Grill and Sports Cafe, 81 Main St., Annapolis; 410/268-1350

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; deli open until 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

PRICES: Soups and salads, $5 to $9; appetizers, $5.25 to $9.95; sandwiches, $8 to $9.25; pizzas, $7 to $20; calzones, $7 to $10; pastas, $10.25 to $16.25; entrees, $15.25 to $23

RESERVATIONS: Recommended on Friday and Saturday nights

CREDIT CARDS: All major cards

PARKING: Street, garage or valet

ACCESS: Wheelchair accessible

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