MANGIA & BEVI (260 King East, at Ontario, in the Ontario Design Centre, 416-203-1635) Complete dinners for $45 per person (lunches $30), including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $12. Open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, Saturday 11 am to 4 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays. Licensed. Access: barrier-free at King entrance (call ahead after 6 pm). Rating: NNN
If you’ve got a big building full of interior designers and creative media types, somebody’s got to stoke the fires of invention. Especially at lunchtime, when Mangia & Bevi is just hopping with swatch-?toting, Pantone-referencing trend enablers.
Dinner’s another matter. Without its semi-captive workforce clientele and with a less than obvious front door, M&B’s comfortable loft-like space is just about empty after the whistle blows.
Aside from appetizers and seven pastas, the place is all about pizza. This is probably a good thing. The antipasto di vegetali grigliati ($11) would be an acceptable appetizer if you hadn’t read the menu description of “seasonal grilled veggies and pecorino.” What it is is a lot of stuff out of cans or jars: olives, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. The only grilled items – zucchini, portobello mushrooms and red peppers – are not particularly seasonal.
And there’s no pecorino, a situation that’s quickly remedied when I mention it to the server. Maybe it’s time to rewrite the menu.
Pizzas are interpreted with greater fidelity. All pizza is defined by its crust, and M&B’s is gratifyingly thin and bears an excellent singe. All that separates it from perfection is doughy, elastic tension; it’s just a little on the crackery side. Still, not bad.
Bianco funghi ($12) with mozzarella, Gorgonzola, porcini and brown mushrooms needs closer attention to ingredient distribution. Where you hit Gorg or porcini there’s flavour, but much of the pizza is culinarily becalmed.
Equally, cheese rationing is an issue with the Parmense ($13). The mild bocconcini is sliced, and much of the pizza remains uncheesed. Luckily, the sweet, not overcooked tomato sauce and generous prosciutto supply lots of topping backup. The general effect of both pizzas is positive, and one, along with a salad, would make a quick lunch for two.
To M&B’s credit, they make most of their own desserts, including the tiramisu ($5). These homemade sweets are so popular with the lunch crowd that there are none left over for us poor night owls.