September 11. 2018 10:32PM

Our Gourmet: A-plus food and service at Italian eatery in Milford


Dinner at Milford’s Mangia Sano is a rewarding experience for authentic, classic Italian tastes in an atmosphere that exudes warmth and comfort — despite being smack in the middle of a commercial strip establishment.

The year-old — and still growing — eatery features attentive and friendly service and a good selection of Italian favorites, moderately priced but also available in smaller, lower-priced servings for the not-so-hungry or budget-conscious.

The family friendly Mangia Sano also has a compact but wholesome children’s menu, and a nice selection of wines.

We ordered a sampler-style appetizer, the Antipast Platter ($10) with a glass of house red wine ($6) and a Sangiovese blend ($10).

The Antipast was a collection of four appetizers led by the unique taste of deep-fried olives, on a toothpick. We had not tasted anything like it before. Mangia! The fried batter soothes the boldness of an Italian olive, to where even a non-lover of olives could sample a taste and enjoy.

In addition to the olives, there was grilled polenta, fried rice balls (arancini) with veggies and cheese, fried artichoke pieces, and spicy fried cherry peppers, all accompanied by tomato sauce, basil pesto and a garlic aioli.

This was a spirited start to a fine Italian meal.

Our Broccoli Rabe and Orecchiette ($12, $16), is listed as one of five of the chef’s favorites on the menu. It featured the rounded, half-moon pasta served with fresh rabe, which is similar to rapini, a flowery veggie similar to broccoli but without the big clump at the head, and mixed with garlic, sausage, crushed red peppers and olive oil. It is a fine combination of varied tastes coming together under the garlic and oil sauce.

With fresh-served black pepper and shaved Parmigiana at the table, the orecchiette and rabe is a good reason to try something new.

Our server, Brooke, heard that we were going to share an Insalata Gorgonzola Salad ($7), so she had the kitchen split it onto two plates. We much appreciated the extra touch of good service. In fact, throughout the meal, Brooke answered our questions and was quick to offer refills or anything we needed. We felt well taken care of by a thoughtful and energetic server.

Mangia Sano has other classy touches built in. Each table has water glasses, along with a large carafe of extra water and oil and vinegar. And the warm crusty bread that accompanies meals has its own accompaniments of butter, or herbed oil for dipping.

Our other entree was Veal Saltimbocca ($16, $22) served over fettuccine. The lightly breaded veal slices were sauteed with prosciutto, and served with a flavoring of sage and marsala under the demi glace, topped by mozzarella. It was a rich, full meal, with large slices of tender veal enhanced by the prosciutto and and the demi sauce.

If veal isn’t your thing, there is a full menu of fish and Parmigiana, pork chops and chicken, spaghetti, meatballs, lasagna and all manner of standard and specialty pasta and sauces.

We learned that the counter where about half a dozen people can currently be seated will soon be transformed into a full bar area. We’re happy that Mangia Sano is continuing to expand, but we hope the full-bar addition does not disrupt the homey feel in an unhurried atmosphere we experienced.

Mangia Sano won us over with its simplicity, service and good taste, and we hope the new additions fall right into place next to what appears to be a winning formula.