In 1959, Domenic Donato ventured from his hometown of Cosenza, Italy, to California, where he opened his first Italian restaurant with recipes from his mother, Rosa, whom he considers the best cook in Italy. Donato soon opened a succession of Italian restaurants now owned and operated by his sister, brother, and sons. In 2006, Donato passed down Mangia Italiano on Third to close family friends Adam and Kathy. The pair faithfully continues to follow the recipes passed down through generations of the Donato family, as well as adding modern twists to Italian classics.
Inside the kitchens, chefs bake eggplant parmigana with ricotta and romano cheese, lightly flour and sauté veal with fresh mushrooms and marsala wine sauce, and toss spicy shrimp with angel-hair pasta, olive oil, and sun-dried tomatoes. In the dining area, murals of Italian seascapes are dotted with white sails puffing in the wind and depict ancient ruins full of crumbling columns and Betamax players. When not inspecting the restaurant's art, patrons can dig into plates of housemade cannolis and tiramisu.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn ($16.95); or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a vegan cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $11.50), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, basil, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut ($8.95).
Bice delivers classic Italian fare with modern, experimental twists, like a sweatshirt depicting Michelangelo's David wearing a Mickey Mouse hat. Dairy diehards can start with a selection from Bice's cheese bar, where piquant bra tenero, semi-soft trugole, and 25 other types of cheese make appearances (pick three for $12). Peruse Bice's ever-changing menu for an appetizing antipasto course; previous offerings have included Tuscan fava bean salad mixed with pecorino, pear, and a lemon dressing ($13). The potato gnocchi ($16) is stuffed with asiago cheese and topped with basil pesto, while the fresh Mediterranean sea bass ($27) arrives on the cedar plank it was cooked on and features live narration from the grizzled sailor who caught it. Bice's novel-length wine menu features pages of Italian white and red varieties, such as the 2007 Schiopetto pinot grigio ($54 for a bottle), while bottles of Ommegang Abbey Ale and Stone IPA are available for those in the mood for a cold brewsky.