I recently discovered a new street food joint called Mangia Pizza Firenze on a recent route planning trip for a gelato tour I have on the agenda. The reason I say food “joint” is because it’s not quite a restaurant, not quite a hole in the wall but also not quite a pizzeria. As I was passing by on my bike, this Mangia Pizza joint caught my eye- with it’s modern, humble aesthetics and a wood fired oven and an awning with “street food” written on it, I figured I’d let my curiosity lead me inside to at least check out the menù.
The very sweet owner Melania invited me to sit at the bar. I notice they make thin(ish) ciabatta style pizzas- one with black truffle especially makes me wish I hadn’t (almost) just had lunch. Also, they have very gourmet combinations with local gastronomic identity- a ciabatta pizza with local sheep’s milk pecorino cheese and baccelli di fave (like fava beans.) It is a super Tuscan snack/appetizer to nosh on baccelli di fave, pecorino with a glass of Chianti. I always say “Oh, that’s like suuuuper Tuscan” on my food tours. And I almost hope they don’t get confused with the wine or that I’m talking about Italian food culture with valley girl slang. Anyways! Meanwhile, a couple tourists came in and she had just sent her English-speaking colleague out for an errand and asked me to translate a quick word. Another couple came in who spoke English, and by that time I was explaining to them the menù, how the word ciabatta means “slippers” and that’s why ciabatta are shaped like so.
Also, what it means when a pizzeria advertises dough risen with “pasta madre” and the 48 hour slow-rise, natural fermentation process. To show her appreciation, she offered me a little snack and then we got on more to talking and I was really impressed (not only with the pizza and focaccia) but with the shop itself. Melania has an extensive background in the restaurant world and started out working in a bakery where her passion for naturally leavened and risen breads as well as exquisite desserts was born.
Obviously not busy enough having just opened a street food pizzeria, she also cooks up a storm at Enosteria Mangia in Prato (looks yummy!).
The little snack I enjoyed (yeah, lunch smunch) was tiny pizza panini (crispy, soft salty and oily bread) with a buffalo milk mozzarella and homemade pesto and another little pizza panino with mortadella ham. And of course some bubbly. My new favorite food and wine pairing: Pizza and bubbles.
I was impressed that for a little pizza shack, joint what-have-you, Melania seems to be pretty keen on producing good quality street food with a placed importance on ingredients and locality. For instance, she was telling me she only uses jarred, not tinned, tomatoes which are organic and come from the Maremma (the Tuscan south and the land of fabulous agriculture) which means rich flavorful tomatoes that are bright red, thickish and not super watery which makes the crust all soggy. You can get a half ciabatta pizza for like €3-4 if my memory serves me right. Plus, they have half-bottles of wine (including their own private label Chianti), strictly artisan Italian craft beers and of course delicious, creamy sharp palate cleansing bubbly by the glass.
I am pretty fussy about pizza and I really don’t like how everyone in Florence goes gaga for gustapizza just because they toss some dough in the shape of a heart. (Ahem, Grinch alert). This along with La Divina Pizza are thus far my favs for gourmet street pizza in Florence. If you are fussy about portions, these places are not for you. I am quite into quality over quantity and I’m willing to pay a little bit more for fancy figs, artisan cured meat, finely selected tomatoes or burrata cheese on a naturally risen (aka non stomach ache inducing) pizza bite. After all, eating out should be a treat not solely for stuffing your pie-hole.
When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie,
That’s a curious appetite….
pssst: Mangia Pizza Firenze Via Lambertesca 24/26r tel: 055 287595