Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Restaurant Week Recap #1: Mangia Ristorante & Caffe in Orchard Park

Welcome to Local Restaurant Week! One of two weeks out of the year totally dedicated to the great food this area has to offer. Restaurants offer dinner specials for $20.13. It's an excuse for me to go out to eat at least half the week because, "I need to blog about it". This week is no exception. I've set up reservations at a total of four local establishments starting with Mangia Ristorante & Caffe in Orchard Park. I'd previously been to Mangia for a fundraising event, but hadn't eaten off the dinner menu. 
We made the drive out to Orchard Park on a gorgeous spring night in Buffalo. The sun was shining and I didn't need a jacket. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was busy, and we took the last parking spot in the additional lot they have for guests. We were a few minutes early for our reservation, but were promptly seated at a table near the window in the back room. A few other tables were already enjoying their meals, and we were shocked by the enormous portion sizes! 

Our waitress shared the specials for Restaurant Week with us, as well as some other specials for the evening and we took a few minutes to decide. I, however, had the menu up on my computer at work all day, meticulously looking it over and trying to decide when I had a free moment. Every entree special they offered was something I'd eat, but I finally settled for a pasta dish, mainly because they are an Italian restaurant. 

The special at Mangia included your choice of salad (mixed greens with a balsamic dressing or a Cesare with anchovies), one of five entrees and a cannoli for dessert. They also are offering $20.13 bottles of Mondavi wine. 

Being a Polish girl, I'm not the proper critic of Italian food, but I brought along my Italian boyfriend and his Mom and Aunt, who grew up with traditional homemade Italian dishes from their Aunt Pat and other family members. The perfect place to start our meal then, was with some of Mangia's homemade meatballs in their red sauce. Our server brought a plate of meatballs out and I watched as their faces lit up as they sampled them. "It's the closest I've ever had in a restaurant to what Aunt Pat used to make." My boyfriend's Mom, Debbi said. The recipes truly have the "homemade" taste to them, and you feel lucky to be a part of the family for the night!
Along with the meatballs, we were brought out a basket of bread and pizza bread which was incredible. The olive oil to dip it in was outstanding too, with the perfect mix of seasoning. 

For our entrees, my boyfriend and I both chose the Penne Al Gorgonzola (pasta sauteed with chicken, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes in a gorgonzola cheese sauce). The pasta was cooked perfectly and the flavors all came together well. The cheese sauce was a little on the heavier side, not to say it wasn't delicious, and was very filling. The portion size was very generous and between my boyfriend and I, we took one plate home with us. 

The other entrees our table enjoyed were the Pollo Picatta (boneless chicken breast floured and sauteed in a lemon caper wine sauce served with roasted red potatoes and vegetables), Chicken Parmesan (not part of the Restaurant Week specials), and the lasagna. Everyone was extremely happy with their dishes and again the portion sizes were very generous. I sampled a little of the lasagna (which was the largest portion of lasagna I've ever seen) and loved the sausage inside. It had a little spice to it and really stood out in the dish. I'll be enjoying some of the leftovers tonight for dinner! 

The meal finished up with a large cannoli for each of us. My boyfriend rarely will eat dessert, but will always have a cannoli. For him, it wasn't his favorite, as the cheese was seasoned with a little bit too much nutmeg. For me though, I enjoyed every bite! 

Our meal at Mangia kicked off what I expect to be another fantastic week of dining out in Western New York. Mangia is located at 4264 North Buffalo Road in Orchard Park. They are open Monday - Saturday and serve lunch starting at 11:00am. They are open until at least 10:00pm, 11:00pm on the weekends. They were definitely worth the trip for us (from the Northtowns)!

Also on tap for this week are Coco, Butterwood Sweet & Savory and Cecelia's. We will have post reviews the day after those meals as well! 

Have you made a reservation to check out one of 200 locally owned establishments throughout WNY? If you have the time to spare, put aside the money and make a point to get out this week and explore all the great food Buffalo and Western New York have to offer!


Pollo Picatta (left) and Chicken Parmesean

For more reviews on Mangia Ristorante & Caffe check out Urbanspoon: 
Mangia Restarante & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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