How does one spend a week in Italy and only have pizza twice – once as a snack, once as part of a larger meal? While Italy obviously has a lot more to offer than just the stereotypical pizza and pasta, this lack of pizza was a major concern, and so we headed off to Mangia Pizza on our last day in Florence before an afternoon at the Uffizi Gallery.
Tucked away on an unassuming little side street as most of the best restaurants in Florence are, Mangia Pizza offers limited seating for around fifteen diners, twenty if you include bar seating. It’s small but cosy, and its size works in its favour as it means that the one-man kitchen can keep up with demand! The turnaround is pretty fast, with tables being turned around in about 45 minutes. This isn’t somewhere to sit and linger over bottles of wine.
Their small kitchen is dominated by a massive pizza oven which reached temperatures of 400 degrees Celsius according to the little space-age panel. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!
Mangia offers about twenty different pizzas on their menu in either small or regular sizes. While it may seem like a large menu for a small establishment, each pizza has been kept very simple with around three toppings each – good Italian pizza is never overcomplicated with ten toppings like a Super Supreme at Domino’s! The pizzas are split pretty evenly between “Blanco” and “Rosso” pizzas – plain white, or with a tomato paste base.
We started off with one small Rosso Pizza with Buffalo Bocconcini and Tuscan Prosciutto. With the thinnest, almost translucent, slivers of prosciutto laid across a sweet tomato paste and weighed down with small individual bites of bocconcini, this small pizza was the perfect exercise in a fantastic combination of simple Italian flavours in beautiful ingredients.
After having the delicious lardo on bruschetta in Pisa, K was keen to try the Bianca Pizza with Cannellini Beans, Lardo and Rosemary. An unusual but inspired combination, with the creaminess of the lardo helping to smooth out the rougher grainier texture of the beans. With the occasionally sprig of rosemary on top to fragrance the pizza, it proved to be very tasty. An unusual pizza that I definitely recommend trying as something quite uniquely Tuscan!
We finished with the Bianca Pizza with Mozzarella, Gorgonzola and Williams Pear – technically a savoury pizza, but with enough sweet elements to make it a pseudo-dessert pizza. Gorgozola and sweet pear slices is such a timeless combination – I’m just disappointed that they didn’t include some crumbed walnuts on top a well. Now this is quite a strong pizza with a very distinct blue cheese smell and flavour with the gorgonzola cheese, so it’s not for everyone! If you like your strong cheeses though, this is a must.
Mangia Pizza doesn’t offer the same type of pizza that we get in Australia. You might feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth because each large $5 pizza isn’t loaded with ten different ingredients. That’s a good thing. What you get here are simple single-serve pizzas, offering a thin layer of nothing but the best local ingredients…but only three ingredients, to ensure that you actually get to taste each element separately as well as the superb flavour combinations together. If you want pizza done subtly to great effect, Mangia Pizza is the place to go in Florence!
Mangia Pizza is located at 24 Via Lambertesca in Florence, Italy.