Mangiasti? Or “have you eaten?” is the greeting any guest hears when visiting family or friends in Italy, and is the namesake of authentic Southern Italian eatery, Mangiasti? in Roseville, Sydney. Exceptional food by renowned chef Mario Percuoco is just half of the restaurant’s charm; the décor, welcoming vibe, wine list and smells will make you feel like you’re in Italy’s south, without having to leave the country.
“Our new restaurant may be in Roseville Chase, but it feels like a street from my village – even the sign is based on a street sign where I grew up”, says Davide. “The busy chatter, the cobbled floors, and the indoor plants climbing up the walls, all remind me of my childhood. The smell of the Linguine al Cartoccio baking in the oven reminds me of my mum’s Sunday lunch at home.”
Push open the door and your senses are overcome; rich smells and crunching pizza bases are highlighted by simple Italian décor. “I love the authenticity of our restaurant, everywhere you look something catches your senses. The letterbox, the sound of the wood burning, the smell of the ragù after eight hours bubbling on the stove, and even looking up to see pigeons sitting in holes,” said Davide.
The restaurant’s new menu is the key to the restaurant’s success. The Tagliatelle al Ragù created with prime hand-cut pork, veal and beef slow-cooked for 8 hours is a restaurant favourite. Unlike most Italian restaurants, Mangiasti? offers vegetarians sumptuous choices too, with the vegetarian Tagliatelle crafted with burrata cream, fresh Tasmanian truffle and Parmigiano Reggiano a daily favourite. The pizzas draw families and are made with clean, simple ingredients to create signature flavours. For those after a pizza with a difference, the Piccante pizza with fior di latte, eggplant, zucchini, extra hot salami is a fun, spicy choice, but classic fans will love the Napoletana topped with salsa di Pomodoro, San Marzano DOP, Cetara anchovies and black olives.
Unique conceptualisation of Southern Italian food comes naturally to Chef Mario Percuoco. He was born in Naples, and has studied Italian cuisine under his father, Armando Percuoco: Well-known Italian chef at a number of Sydney’s leading Italian restaurants. After achieving a ‘one chef hat,’ Mario opened an Italian restaurant overseas, then returned to Australia where he joined Mangiasti? late last year. With his exceptional ability to channel Southern Italian cuisine with modern Australian ingredients, Mario has helped put the restaurant on the map.
Customers agree. One patron who knows Southern Italian food left this review:” I’m Italian, born in the South. I used to own my own authentic Italian cafe’/restaurant and have worked with Italian top chefs and I think that Mangiasti? Is a fantastic place. Love the atmosphere, the quality and authenticity of the food, the attentive service and the staff. I have become a regular and I can’t help but spread the word.”
Mangiasti?’s rapid popularity is thanks to the food, but it’s the feeling you get when you walk in the door that inspires return customers. Downstairs, the front of house area is warmed by an open-air kitchen and woodfired pizza oven, while upstairs, a homely dining room based on Davide’s grandma’s house beckons you inside.
“My nonna’s house was simple, cosy and full of atmosphere”, explains Davide. “She would always have food cooking on the fire and delicious antipasto on the table, while the children ran around and the grown ups chatted. Everyone was welcome and shared in the cooking and eating.”
Davide, born in Rombliolo in Southern Italy, became a restaurant manager at one of Darling Harbour’s busiest restaurants during his 10 years in Australia. This role inspired the goal of starting his own restaurant, and he found the perfect business partner in his colleague, Greek-Australian George. They both dreamt of owning their own restaurant, so when they found an empty shell space in Roseville, a suburb George knew well, they set to work. The pair designed every inch of the space themselves, even building much of the eatery themselves to create the most authentic experience.
Mangiasti?’s authenticity has to be seen, felt, and eaten to be believed. Step inside and become transported to Calabria. Whether you choose to visit the eatery for lunch or dinner, you’ll find it hard not to return the very next day.
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