The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week's pick.
Destination: Mangia Italiano (3145 South Grand Boulevard; 314-664-8585)
Neighborhood: Tower Grove South
Cuisine: Italian fusion
Overview: Known as a wildly popular 3 a.m. bar, Mangia Italiano also features a hefty menu during the day and offers lunch service beginning at 3 p.m. Though Mangia's menu has gone through many incarnations since the place opened 30 years ago, it has maintained its Italian roots. Owners Collier Evans and Jim Bonsanti have kept Mangia alive with their Italian fusion twist, including a fair amount of vegetarian dishes for those with meat-free diets.
Highlights: Mangia's serves its gnocchi ($7) as a chef's choice, meaning it's different every time, but always vegetarian. This week, Gut Check dined on gnocchi drenched in a homemade bloody-mary cream sauce.
Mangia's whole wheat radiatori ($15) (a pasta shape which was apparently created to resemble radiators) is tossed with blue cheese, spinach, walnuts and garlic oil. While the garlic oil lends the dish its simplicity, the blue cheese and walnuts give it the zing and crunch it needs.
The vermicelli G.O.C. ($10) (garlic, olive oil and pecorino romano cheese) is another crowd favorite, having won St. Louis Magazine's best pasta dish multiple times. Mangia's menu also features a vegan wild mushroom red pepper risotto ($14), which includes shiitake, Italian and portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, thyme, oregano and lemon.
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