Crab Cakes and Mangia Mayo

Back in the fall, and then again in the winter, I had the pleasure of dining at Mangia Nashville.

Not a restaurant, and not exactly a pop-up, Mangia is in a class all its own. Nashville Scene named it the “Best Weekly Food Event” in 2011. I call it the best, most authentic, entertaining, family-style Italian meal I’ve ever experienced!

Mangia’s Jumbo Shrimp Scampi

Held every Friday and Saturday night inside The Cool Cafe in Franklin, you can stuff yourself silly on incredible Italian dishes while toasting old (and new!) friends with your BYOB wine.

Unfortunately for me, I was pregnant both times I ate at Mangia, so I didn’t get to imbibe. Oh well, someone needed to be the designated driver!

You might notice that the photos I’m sharing with you today are a little seafood heavy. If you don’t like sea creatures, don’t worry- that’s not the norm. There is usually a good mix of pasta, vegetarian, seafood, pork, chicken…well, a little of everything! It just happens that these pictures are from the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”, the traditional Italian Christmas meal Mangia served in December.

Mangia’s Frutti Di Mare (Shrimp, Calamari, Octopus)

Silly, scatter-brained me (I blame pregnancy!), forgot and left the camera at home when I dined there in the fall. That really bums me out, because I would’ve loved to show you some of those amazing dishes as well.

Two of them I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since, and hope to have them both again one day. The bruschetta with lemon artichoke dip and the lemon risotto cakes with Mangia mayo were in-cred-i-ble. They were two of the four appetizers we were served, and I had to force myself to stop eating them so I’d still have plenty of room in my belly for the multiple courses to follow.

Penne Pasta with Pellegrino Family Christmas Sauce (tomato sauce with black and green olives, raisins, capers, and pine nuts)

Speaking of multiple courses – a meal at Mangia is a 5 course extravaganza. When I say 5 courses, I don’t just mean 5 dishes, however.

No, each course serves up multiple offerings. Four appetizers? two salads? two pastas? three entrees? two desserts? This meal is no joke. Come wearing your eating pants.

Mangia’s Lobster Risotto

If you’re looking for REAL Italian here in Nashville, this is definitely the place to go. But beware – it can be hard to get a reservation, so you must be patient. And plan ahead.

Just a few days ago I decided it would be a great idea to gather some friends and dine there for my birthday in May. Unfortunately they’re already booked for the date I wanted.

Of course, there’s always the chance that someone will cancel and some spots will open up last minute. For people that are flexible with dates, you have a better chance of getting lucky and scooping up one of those. (Better “like” their Facebook page to be kept in the loop on those last minute openings!)

Mangia’s House Made Struffoli

The menu changes seasonally, and it’s almost time to launch the taste of Spring! Beginning April 14th and running until June 16th, this is what you can expect:

Mangia Spring 2012 Menu

Note: The risotto cakes I fell in love with in Fall are back again!!!

For only $45 plus tax and gratuity, you really can’t beat this menu. Nowhere else in town would you be able to get this much incredible, real, authentic Italian food for that kind of price.

And did I mention entertainment? Before the night is over, you’ll be singing. You’ll be dancing. You’ll be exchanging email addresses and phone numbers with the strangers sitting beside you that are now your new friends.

And then you’ll walk out the door with a smile on your face wondering when you’ll be able to score reservations to come back again!


1110 Hillsboro Rd
Suite B200 (inside the Cool Cafe)
Franklin, TN 37064

Friday 8 pm – 11 pm
Saturday  6 pm – 9 pm

For Reservations:
Call 615.538.7456

13 Responses to “Mangia- Now That’s Italian!”

  1. 1

    Heather — April 2, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    We went a few weeks ago & I can’t stop thinking about it & raving to everyone!

    • Beth replied: — April 2nd, 2012 @ 9:15 am

      I simply must dine there while this spring menu is in effect. It looks too good to miss! My fingers are crossed that I can get in for my birthday dinner, even if my group size has to be downsized to a party of 2 to make it happen ;-)

  2. 2

    Susan in the Boonies — April 2, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    We have reservations there for my husband’s birthday.
    Can’t wait.
    In fact, Nick was over here singing a jingle for my hubby the other day, and we swapped food talk and pictures for about 15 minutes.
    He told me about his aioli/mayo that is coming out. I’m so excited for him!

    • Beth replied: — April 2nd, 2012 @ 9:17 am

      Fun! Have you been before? If not, you guys are in for such a treat. But of course, if you’ve met Nick, then you know that already! He’s awesome. I’m excited for the aioli to hit stores as well. I’m not even a fan of mayo and I love that stuff!

  3. 3

    Angie @ Sweet Natured Treats — April 2, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    We’ve eaten there twice, once last summer and again last month for my husband’s birthday. I literally waddled out both times because I was so stuffed. I day-dream about the lemon risotto cakes on a regular basis. The beef short rib bolognese is pretty incredible as well.

  4. 4

    Allyn — April 2, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    We live in Franklin, LOVE food, and I can’t believe we’ve never been to this!!! That will be changing so very soon. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. 5

    Shannon — April 2, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Wow. That lobster risotto looks phenomenal and the spring menu looks fab. I’m definitely going to have to try this place, especially since it’s basically in my backyard!!!

    • Beth replied: — April 2nd, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

      Um, yes Shannon. If you’re that close, you MUST go!

  6. 6

    kitblu — April 2, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    Penne with family Christmas sauce? Be still my heart! Do they share recipes? I am in Canada and would be no threat.

  7. 7

    Lindsay — April 3, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    BETH!! OMG! This sounds amazing! I don’t know if I am mad at your for sharing – or you are my new fave person? ;) When Chris and I get back to Nashville after baseball season, this is a MUST for us!!! Thanks for sharing, and I am hoping all is well in motherhood!

  8. 8

    Dan — April 4, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

    You are so right: Mangia is in a class all its own! I have dined there several times over the past year and am looking forward to the spring menu. The lemon risotto cakes with Mangia mayo is definitely a favorite. I had my office Christmas party there during the Feast of the Seven Fishes and they are still raving about it!

  9. 9

    javi — April 5, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Congrats! Come on by my site for the award and details

  10. 10

    Elizabeth — June 20, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    Mangia was a bit manic–like a bat mitzvah on a cruise ship. The food was decent, and the dinner companions wonderful. But, if you’re not feeling like a wedding reception atmosphere, then this is not your place.

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