IBJNews

DINING: Warm, inviting Italian dining with a Tyler that binds

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Dining - A&E

I’ve driven by countless strip-mall eateries without giving them a second glance, but there always has been something about Carmel’s Mangia! (11594 Westfield Blvd., 581-1910) that has drawn my attention. Maybe it’s the exclamation point.

Whatever the draw, I was happy to have an excuse to give it a shot, jumping suburbs with the hubby for dinner at the Italian restaurant on a recent Saturday.

Call it a strip-mall bias, but I never even considered making reservations. Luckily, we were greeted warmly and seated immediately, anyway (and left with owner Lee Tyler’s business card in hand so we could call ahead the next time).

The warm, inviting atmosphere was a pleasant surprise. The large dining area is divided into two rooms that share a see-through fireplace, creating an intimate vibe that’s only enhanced by the dark wood and white tablecloths. And yet Mangia! maintains a casual Mediterranean feel. The food was pretty darn good, too.

Cozze alla Marinara proved a great way to get a Mangia! meal started. (IBJ Photo/Karly Tearney)
We started on a high note, with the Cozze alla Marinara (garlicky mussels served in a tomato broth, for us English-speakers), a relative value at $9. The bowl practically overflowed with sautéed mussels, quality mollusks that went well with the spicy marinara. Our only complaint: We had to ask our server for some bread to sop up the flavorful sauce. But she readily offered up another basket of fresh-baked heaven after we inhaled the first one.

For entrees, we selected one from Column A and one from Column B—in this case pasta and Secondi, hearty meat dishes served with potatoes and veggies.

The Fettucine Monterosso ($16) proved a tasty combination of fettuccine noodles and grilled chicken tossed in a subtle pesto cream sauce and topped with pine nuts. The nuts highlighted the pesto flavor, which was understated enough to not overwhelm.

The Rosticciana ($20), a roasted pork loin stuffed with pancetta and mushrooms and covered in a rosemary demiglace (that’s sauce for us Hoosiers), was well-cooked, keeping its tenderness, and the stuffing downright delightful.

We had an awkward moment stumbling over the Italian dish names—when in doubt, point—but were assisted by the genuinely friendly server and the everyday involvement of a local owner who clearly values his customers.

Tyler introduced himself as we lingered by a wall of photos on our way out, studying the snapshots of happy diners. None appeared to be professional athletes or other local stars. Were they all celebrating a special occasion, perhaps? Not exactly.

They’re Tyler’s regulars—the reservation-making repeat customers who come for birthday dinners and Wednesday dinners, who bring out-of-town visitors and business prospects, who have helped the independent eatery survive for 12 years and counting—the ones who gave Mangia! the exclamation point.•

—Andrea Muirragui Davis

__________

Third in our month-long series of reviews of eateries with exclamation points in their names.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

ADVERTISEMENT