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Mangiamo in North Dallas is the secret Italian restaurant you’ve been looking for

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-16425″ src=”” alt=”mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-2″ width=”1500″ height=”1125″/> mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-6 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-13 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-3 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-5 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-7 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-8 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-9 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-10 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-11 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hiller-14 mangiamo-copyright-michael-hillerYou will not utter the words new gastronomy or Barolo when you sit down at a table at Mangiamo. No one will offer you a handcrafted cocktail at the bar while you wait for your table because Mangiamo does not serve cocktails, has no bar, and on most nights, Mangiamo has no waiting list.

A friend took me to lunch here recently, insisting Mangiamo was one of the city’s unheralded gems. I’d never heard of it. Now I’m eager to go back.

Passion fuels the cuisine at this no-fluff version of a New Yorker’s Italian restaurant, opened four years ago by Bronx transplant Luigi Nicci.

Nicci (pictured above) surrendered two Frisco pizza restaurants to move closer to Dallas’ central core, where he could concentrate on serving the food he loved from the Bronx using fresh ingredients and his nonna’s recipes.  Mangiamo’s simple, rustic cuisine has as much heart as heat and spice, a red sauce kind of place where you can bring your own bottle of wine, park yourselves at a table for hours and tuck into a family meal at lunch or dinner. Imported pastas, from-scratch sauces, slow-fermented bread doughs – “and only real butter and whole milk cheeses, none of that fake stuff,” says Nicci.

Nicci greets diners like old friends then steers them to his crisp-fried chicken Parm and floppy, foldable pizzas, then maybe a tangle of spaghetti slathered in basil-flecked San Marzanos and a basket of soft, buttery yeast rolls pulled fresh from the oven. For dessert: homemade canoli, of course. “We make them completely from scratch,” Nicci told me, “because that’s the way it should be done.”

Mangiamo deserves to be busier than it is, which means now is your chance to tell your friends, “I know this little place…”

Check out the menu here.

12835 Preston Rd., Ste 220, Dallas; 214-866-0044

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