After deciding to visit Mangia Bene based on the positive reviews we'd seen, our experience was a tragic disappointment. When you walk in, it seems quaint enough, like it could be one of those dynamite holes in the wall whose secrets are only told by word of mouth. I was craving garlic bread or garlic knots, neither of which were available on the menu. A few specials were posted, including the Mediterranean Chicken, which I decided to try ($17.99). My husband ordered the Tilapia Limon ($16.99). We were offered soup or salad with our meals. I got the house salad and he was upcharged $2.50 for a Caesar (not sure why, since it's just lettuce, cheese and croutons). The waitress brought garlic rolls out after we ordered (surprise - they do have them!) and they satisfied my craving but were nothing more than Hawaiian rolls brushed with butter and garlic... Not really authentic. Next came the salads. The Caesar looked normal enough, but the garden salad was a sad handful of iceberg lettuce with two half-slices of cucumber, two fingertip-sized grape tomatoes and a sprinkle of colorless "red" cabbage. This would foreshadow what we could expect for the rest of our meal. The entrees arrived and unimpressed looks were exchanged across the table. The presentation of both were less than appealing. The Tilapia Limon sat in a pool of watery yellow sauce, accompanied by a small bowl of spaghetti and liquid marinara on the side. The Mediterranean Chicken, supposedly marinated and accompanied by pineapples and mushrooms, served with risotto, looked just as appealing as the salad (not very). As we tested our dinners, it became very apparent that the tilapia was a frozen filet, tasteless and without texture. The mushrooms and pineapple topping the chicken were obviously canned cuts, and the "risotto" was nothing more than sticky white rice. Neither dish was what we expected for nearly $20 per person. If we were looking for a mediocre dinner, we would have saved $20 and eaten across the street at Applebees (or spent our $40 at other local eateries that actually serve quality food). Not to mention, the waitress couldn't keep my husband's drink full, even though there were only two other tables occupied in the entire place (neither of which she was serving). Finally, the covered tables seemed intimate and cute at first, but allowed us to hear every detail of a neighboring table's conversation. We were so disappointed with the entire experience and couldn't believe the great ratings Mangia Bene has scored. Did we order the wrong things? Was it an off night? I highly doubt we'll be back to find out.
If you own or manage Mangia Bene, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.