Thanks to my recent departure from Microsoft and my new job at another Seattle area software company I’ve finally had the opportunity to start traveling again for work. One of my recent trips took me to Billerica, Massachusetts a sleepy suburb north of Boston. While one could argue that finding New York style food in the Boston area is far from a challenge, I still couldn’t pass up the task.
The first thing I did when I found out I would be making the trip to Billerica was do a little research for quality New York food in the area. One place that came to my attention was Mangia Mangia right in Billerica. Sure enough when I arrived at my hotel and asked the hotel staff for the best Italian food in the area they immediately mentioned Mangia Mangia. I was traveling with 4 other people so after a drink at the hotel lobby bar and some slight convincing I got a group of west coasters to indulge my New York food obsession.
Mangia Mangia is your classic east coast Italian restaurant. It is located in an older brick building. When you walk inside the restaurant and you are immediately bombarded with checkered table cloths and the intoxicating smell of Italian food. As soon as we were seated the waitress brought out some bread for the table. The bread was a sliced seeded Italian bread and it was awesome. It occurred to me as I was eating the bread that I haven’t seen seeded Italian bread on the west coast ever. So I was excited to eat this delicacy and relive my childhood memories.
For dinner I ordered a classic chicken parmesan. One of my favorite dishes and one that is royally #$%@ up on the west coast. When the waitress bought the dish to the table I immediately had high hopes. The chicken looked crisp and not overly drenched in sauce and cheese. The sauce looked like a fresh high quality tomato sauce. My first bite lived up to my expectations. The chicken was crispy, even the parts under the sauce. I consider the crispiness to be the ultimate test of a good chicken parmesan because usually the sauce makes it incredibly soggy. The chicken was also nicely seasoned. The sauce was nearly perfect. Sweet and savory like any great tomato sauce and clearly made with high quality imported canned tomatoes. The cheese was a good high quality creamy whole fat mozzarella cheese and was provided in just he right proportion.
This was one heck of a chicken parmesan and it was a pleasant surprise since it has been many years since I found a good chicken parmesan outside New York. To top it off Mangia Mangia has a great New York Italian feel. So while you might not be hard pressed to find good New York food in the Boston area, if you find yourself in Billerica, MA I suggest you pay Mangia Mangia a visit. It will be worth your while.