About two years ago, I posted on my personal Facebook page soliciting recommendations for the best gluten free bread. I was more than 6 months into my gluten free journey at this point and really wanted to eat sandwiches, toast, etc. I had tried several gluten free options and none were very good. I was sick of buying over and over and over only to think they all tasted like cardboard. Eventually, I realized that the issue with me and gluten free bread likely isn’t the bread but rather that I just don’t really LOVE bread and the ingredients in it. I did end up finding a gluten free bread that I thought was good – Schar brand.
The whole point to this story is that posting this bread question on Facebook led me to the discovery of a restaurant in Nashville called Mangia that offers everything on their menu gluten free and would also sell me loaves of gluten free focaccia with advance notice. I’m so thankful for my sweet friend who shared this gem of a restaurant with me.
It took us quite awhile to make our first visit to Mangia because at that time their weekday hours were almost nonexistent and hard to keep up with and their Friday and Saturday night service was (and still is) an Italian feast only. The feast is about 4 hours in length and is tons of food served family style amongst big tables. We first went for a weekend Italian feast and if we set aside the fact that we thought it was a good idea to just go the two us, it was a great time (that can be made better WITH friends)! The amount of food you get for the $50 price is literally INSANE. So. Much. FOOD! Plus, they let you box up and take home any extras you want. There are a lot of traditional Italian seafood dishes in the feast and I think all seafood tastes the same and is not that great. Plus, we live in a landlocked state so I just avoid seafood all together here. But, the salads and pastas and entrees are all soooooooo good. The menu for the feasts changes seasonally. I remember the Osso Bucco being so delicious! We went to another feast a few months later with our sweet friends to celebrate our (then) impending marriage! My suspicions were confirmed – way more fun WITH your friends!!
Since those two feast experiences, we have eaten dinner at Mangia during the week twice and have been very pleased with the food. The service is slow and can be quite frustrating, but it’s the price you pay to get great gluten free food I suppose. I hate that you have to pay for gluten free bread but appreciate that the upcharge for gluten free on every other menu item is pretty minimal. It’s worth noting that they owner’s wife has celiac and the manager also has food allergies, so they are extremely careful when it comes to preparation and I’d consider this safe for celiacs. During the feasts, they bring out the gluten free dish separately.
We’ve had the Caprese and the Black and White Flatbreads on gluten free focaccia as well as Sundried Tomato and Spinach Cream pasta. My husband has gotten a sandwich (non GF) before as well. I can easily say that the tomato and spinach cream pasta is one of the best gluten free Italian meals I have ever had. It is just SO rich and SO good. I can’t remember all of the items that were on the feast menus that I’ve had…
Having so many dessert options is really great (coming from someone who truly LOVES dessert) and I’ve had the zeppole, Led zeppole, and a gluten free cannoli so far. I’d say the cannoli is not the best and doesn’t have the same flavor as a gluten filled cannoli but it definitely hits the spot.
If you live in Nashville and eat gluten free, you MUST try dinner at Mangia! I’d recommend starting with the fresh casual weeknight dinner first. The feasts are so much fun and a great way to celebrate any milestone in life!