There is no shortage of great places to dine in and around Martinez, and deciding where to go is not often an easy task. To that end, each week Martinez Patch will feature a dining establishment we think you'll love. This week, one of our hidden favorites:
Overview: Don’t let the modest storefront fool you – Mangia Bene takes its Italian cuisine, and the dining experience, very seriously. This is one of the city’s best kept secrets, and fans of Italian food will find a delightful experience here, at an affordable price.
Decor: There is nothing pretentious about this place, and that includes the décor, which is fairly basic. It’s a bit on the bright side, and the layout features two separate dining areas.
The Drinks: The wine list is heavy on Italian wines, particularly reds. There is a modest selection of California vintages as well. There is also a good selection of Italian beers. Espresso, sodas and ice tea are also available. Each diner gets a glass of sparkling water.
Appetizers: Standard Italian starters, though the fried calamari are wonderful – light and plentiful. The grilled eggplant stuffed with mozzarella cheese and basil is a must-have, as is the polenta.
Entrees: Though the half chicken marinated with lemon and herbs ($13.95) makes a basic meal into something special, and the grilled rib eye steak ($17.95) will satisfy an urge for beef, this is a place for pasta dishes. The linguini with seafood ($17.95) is definitely worth a try, and the ravioli with butternut squash ($12.95) is not to be missed.
Sides: Dishes range from an array of vegetables in garlic and oil, like spinach and broccoli rabe ($4). They also have classic Italian escarole with white beans and tomatoes ($5).
Desserts: A standard dessert menu is adorned by three layered mousse cake ($5.95), bread pudding ($5.95), and the Torte della Nonna – pie with lemon-flavored cream ($5.95).
Service: There are usually tables immediately available, and diners are treated to a friendly wait staff who bring bread right away.
Signature Dish: Ravioli with Butternut Squash
Address: 1170 Arnold Dr. #116