The chef-owner-waiter Alessandro hails from Tuscany and his extensive menu comprises of hearty comfort food from bruschettas and focaccias to pizzas and pastas.
The decor is no-frills and this is reflected in the prices too - pastas weigh in around the £7.50 mark, meat dishes around £6.95 and 12 inch pizzas around £7.50.
The bargain continues with the BYOB policy with corkage of £1 a head. Cans of my old favourite chinotto (£1.55) are also available if you’re looking for a bittersweet fix.
To start, 6 mahoosive tender king prawns were served in a potent chilli and garlic sauce. Freshly baked bread on the side was warm and crisp with a good chew. At £6.50 this was seriously good value.
Bruscetta Fireneze (£5.75) was also served on the same excellent bread. Oozy mozzarella, wilted spinach leaves, black olives, ricotta shavings and a drizzle of balsamic were a great combination of toppings. Arguably, it would have been improved by softer ricotta which would have added some extra moisture.
Onto mains and a groaning plate of linguini (£7.50) was served with a light sauce of anchovies, fresh tomatoes, artichokes and black olives. This was a simple but delicious tasting plate.
Pizza (£7.95) was very good with a well raised rim and a thick, crisp and chewy base. Toppings of herby Italian sausage, crisp pepperoni, light tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella were on the nail. This twelve inch juggernaut could probably serve two so it’s worth noting that smaller nine inch pizzas are also available.
A giant bowl of tiramisu (£4.50) was exemplary - the sponge fingers, well soaked in a mix of coffee and booze, were topped with light mascarpone, fresh strawberries and cocoa powder.
Dinner at La Mangiatoia was lovely and an absolute steal. This a great little neighbourhood restaurant which is definitely worth a visit.
Address - La Mangiatoia, 26a Clare Street, Riverside, Cardiff CF11 6BB