In a food-heavy community engrossed with all things seafood, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the other categories of food that the Coast has to offer. One of the most notable – and oh-so-delicious culinary classifications – is Italian. It’s certainly one of my favorites! There is something so delectable about Italian food. It’s rich, it’s comforting, and sometimes borders on a sinfully delicious experience. Having access to this genuinely amazing culinary delight is something the residents of Gulfport can get excited about as Mangiamo Italian Restaurant is finally open!
Brothers James and Matthew Pipper, Jr. grew up helping out with their family restaurant in Picayune and it was always a dream of theirs to open up a place of their own closer to the coastal scene. Both James and Matthew had a passion for cooking, and Italian food is something they’ve always loved. There was something special about the Italian culture that resonated deep with both brothers, resulting in a desire to bring a little piece of Italian heaven to their local community.
The goal behind the Mangiamo menu is to feature a variety of popular Italian dishes, while also giving a serious nod to the coastal seafood flair that we all know and love. Therefore, it’s no surprise that two of the best antipasti, or appetizers, are the crab cakes and mussels. The crab cakes feature jumbo lump crabmeat mixed with a house breading, which is then baked and pan fried for just the right amount of texture and sear. They are served atop lemon aioli and finished with pickled onions and arugula. Prince Edward Island Mussels are another pre-dinner treat that are great to share. The mussels are cooked over an open flame and then floated into a pool of warm, spicy tomato broth. The accompanying grilled bread makes for the perfect finishing touch. My absolute favorite, however, were the house meatballs. Three homemade meatballs are served in their own bowl of house tomato sauce and topped with a whipped ricotta and sage sauce. Definitely a trio of antipasti worth trying!
Mangiamo’s entrees showcase all of your favorite Italian fare, some with a coastal spin. If you love veal, the Veal Saltimbocca is a crowd favorite, but I would opt for the Veal Milanese, which consists of paneed veal cutlets topped with a rosemary sherry cream sauce. This is a great meal that’s not over the top, but still checks all the boxes. The Tuscan Shrimp and Grits is an incredibly inventive take on a basic Southern staple. Jumbo shrimp and pancetta are sauteed in a white wine butter sauce and served atop smoked gouda polenta. I adore grits, but there is something about the creamy texture of the polenta that sets this dish off. Still, my absolute favorite is the House Pizza. Mangiamo makes their dough in-house and tops their pizza with a secret recipe pizza sauce and the freshest of toppings. I’m a total fan of all of things pizza all the time, and Mangiamo’s is now one of my go-to faves.
Both James and Matthew are thrilled with the warm and positive reception they’ve received since opening Mangiamo. The takeaway from any dining experience at Mangiamo Italian Restaurant is that you can enjoy a delicious and upscale meal in a family-friendly atmosphere. Their goal of having a “come as you are” type environment paired with a thoughtfully-curated and decidedly tasty menu totally works, and it works in a way that will have you coming back time and time again.
Mangiamo Italian Restaurant
1423 Magnolia St., Ste. A, Gulfport
Sun & Mon, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tues-Wed, closed
Thurs, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fri & Sat, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.