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NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY

It's More Manhattan Than Beach

March 24, 1994|MICHAEL KRIKORIAN

When Tony Guidone owned a restaurant and grocery store in Indianapolis, his young son Ron enjoyed helping out, especially with the produce. Now, some 40 years later, their situations are reversed. Early in the morning Tony can be found down at the Los Angeles Produce Market, selecting fruits and vegetables for his son's three restaurants.

The flagship of the Guidone chain, Mangiamo (Italian for "let's eat"), may be within 100 yards of the Manhattan Beach Pier, but it doesn't look like a typical beach restaurant. This attractive dining room would not be out of place in that other Manhattan--the one Frank Sinatra sings about. Low, dimly lighted ceilings and Art Deco light fixtures along a mirrored wall give it an urbane feel. Behind the main room and past the kitchen is a cozy, brick-walled wine cellar room with an almost cramped feel that adds to its Manhattanish charm.

For starters, a chopped salad ($5) features a hot Brie crouton and a lively balsamic vinaigrette. A more luxurious appetizer, four large lobster and shrimp ravioli nestled atop a red bell pepper sauce ($10), would be enough for two moderate eaters.

Seafoods dominate the main course selections. Sea bass Genoa ($17.50) is poached in Chardonnay and strewn with mushrooms, tomatoes, baby carrots, zucchini and squash, with the welcome zip of capers. Also poached to tenderness, this time in champagne, is swordfish ($19.50), sprinkled with green, pink and black peppercorns.

Calamari con linguine ($15.50) features the chewy, mild flavor of squid with the pungent tastes of Greek olives and capers. A slew of green-lipped mussels, sauteed with butter, garlic, thyme and dry mustard, make another popular topping for linguine.

In addition to buying the produce, papa Tony works with Ron on the nightly specials, such as fettuccine mixed with chicken sausage, artichoke hearts, oregano, cayenne, and cumin, then topped with mascarpone cheese.

Mangiamo is at 128 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; (310) 318-3434. Open 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

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