Mangiamo Pizza Buffet

I actually heard about Mangiamo through a review I read on Twitter a while back. I'm starting to notice a trend here – Twitter is going to make me: 1) very poor and 2) unable to remember how to work a kitchen appliance. The premise sounded simple enough – an all-you-can-eat gourmet pizza buffet, with soup, salad and pasta to boot. Best of all, it was only $8.99 for each adult.  How could you go wrong?

I gathered a couple of pizza-lovin' friends and we all headed to Oakville. Mangiamo is located in a plaza that has a few small restaurants and a grocery store, so there is plenty of parking. At first glance, it made us almost hesitant to go in.  For one, the store is very bright and very exposed – it almost felt like a school cafeteria rather than a restaurant. There is a cash register right by the door and a small buffet bar at the front by an open window to the kitchen. There is also a fountain-pop machine, seating for about 50 people and a poster on the wall that reminded us of those old-school United Colors of Benetton ads.

We were surprised to find that although we arrived around 7:30 p.m., we were the only customers in the restaurant. We were greeted by friendly staff who pointed out where things were and we got settled at a table. We were asked if there was any particular pizza we wanted, and I asked if they could make us a mac-and-cheese pizza, since the review I read raved about it.  We were told they would put one on for us, and to let them know if there was anything else we'd like. On the first round, my friends decided to jump right into the pizza – there were about three or four slices each of a pepperoni, a Hawaiian and a vegetarian. I opted to try their special of the night – build-your-own tacos – and a forkful of spaghetti with meat sauce. The taco bar had two filling options – ground beef or bean chili – and a variety of toppings. The strangest thing I found was there was no cheese among the toppings, but there was a bowl of shredded carrots.  I've never had carrot on my taco before, so that was new for me. Not sure if I'd do it again – I think I'd prefer cheese, please.

The taco fillings were dry from being in the warmers for too long, but the toppings were crisp and fresh. The spaghetti sauce tasted homemade and had plenty of meat and tomato in it.  Unfortunately for my friends, the pizzas were cold and hard from sitting out too long. Here is where I was blown away by Mangiamo: We were asked how we were enjoying our food and we mentioned that although everything tasted OK, it would be better if they were not cold and hard from being out so long. Upon hearing that, they immediately apologized and then TOOK AWAY all of the old food and started making us fresh food. Keep in mind that they were about an hour away from closing, and we were the only people in the restaurant.

The hot, fresh thin-crust pizzas started coming out, and we were in a carby, cheesy heaven. All of the dough tastes like it's fresh and hand-tossed, and all of the ingredients were sliced thick and plentiful. Chicken with sweet-chili Thai sauce was the early frontrunner for best pizza (ever).  Big chunks of moist chicken breast with sweet onions and a sweet chili sauce that gave it a slight kick. The Hawaiian pizza had sweet pineapple and large cubes of peameal bacon with a homemade tomato sauce. Even the pepperoni pizza was better than most I've had from restaurants – each slice was covered in pepperoni that was thick and baked until crispy around the edges, and laden with gooey cheese. A Thai curry pizza followed – a mild curry sauce base topped with diced chicken breast, onions and fresh chopped cilantro. An explosion of flavour and freshness with every bite. The pièce de résistance was hands down the mac and cheese. A thin, crispy crust topped with soft mac and cheese and baked until the top is crispy and the cheese is melted and crusty, then sprinkled with Parmesan.  Carbs + carbs + cheese = the three C's of happiness. It was an instant hit with our group, and I can easily see why it's a crowd favourite, especially with kids. I even suggested that if they put sliced hot dogs on top they'd have both kids and university students knocking down their doors to get a slice.

The staff told us that the chef likes to get creative and invent pizzas depending on what ingredients happen to be available, or whatever strikes his fancy for the day. The atmosphere could use a little work, but the staff goes above and beyond to make your visit a pleasant one – even bringing the pizza to your table once it's out of the oven. As with any buffet, you run the risk of finding food that has been sitting out for too long, but if you mention it to them, they are more than happy to make you fresh food. The best part of Mangiamo is the variety of pizza you can ask for, or that they've already thought up for you. If you can dream it, I bet you Mangiamo is willing to put it on a pizza crust for you. 

Mangiamo Pizza on Restaurantica
Mangiamo Pizza Buffet on Urbanspoon
Mangiamo Pizza Buffet
579 Kerr St., Oakville
http://www.mangiamopizzabuffet.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/mangiamopizza

3 comments:

Sarah said...
November 22, 2010 at 10:11 PM

I too thought it weird there was no cheese for the tacos the time I went. They eventually put some out - I think another patron asked.
I also liked the cream of spinach soup that was offered the night I was there.

sweetone said...
November 23, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Ah the soup - I was too distracted by the pizzas and tacos to give the soup my full attention. I did take a sip of the soup and although found it to be good, it was too creamy for me to enjoy a full bowl of it.

queenkirs said...
November 24, 2010 at 4:18 PM

When are we going?!? My boyfriend is a pizza junkie!

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