Dine and Dish: Authentic Italian food at Oggi Cosi Si Mangia in Fresno's Tower District

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local chefs say sometimes you will notice regional differences in Italian food.

We checked in on a tucked-away spot in Fresno's Tower District which offered a flavorful, fresh approach to food.

Owner Luigi "Louis" Maglieri explained the restaurant name.

"It's Oggi Cosi Si Mangia, which in our dialect means, 'Today, this is how to eat.'"

Such a tasty lesson to learn.

Maglieri started us off with a dish his mom used to make.

"We have a cavatelli arrabbiata, which arrabbiata means 'angry,' so it's a spicy dish."

Handmade pasta and crumbled sausage - with a kick.

Maglieri joked, "I've been eating this instead of the bottle. I got cavatelli and wine to wash it down when I was a baby."

His family is from Molise, Italy.

Louis said, "As you get further north, sometimes you get creamier, heavier sauces."

But Maglieri went on to say, "A lot of people here don't really know Italian food. When they think of Italian food, right away they think lasagna! I don't even sell lasagna."

Chicken Marsala and chicken piccata were very popular dishes. They're served with seasoned squash and angel hair pasta.

Maglieri said he just wants people to enjoy an authentic home-cooked Italian meal.

He added, "A lot of restaurants try to streamline their dishes and I can understand that. They may make a couple of batches of sauce. We make everything to order here and so each dish requires a minimum of two pans, up to five pans to make one dish."

The pan-seared salmon with brown butter lemon caper sauce came out still steaming.

Louis said, "It's a good-sized portion, you won't leave hungry and if you do, you better check for parasite because we feed you."

We did a lot of eating and laughing with Louis.

Many come for the cioppino.

Maglieri said, "I don't really do this for the money anymore. It's a love. I have a passion for this place and I consider the customers' friends."

Louis opened Oggi Cosi Si Mangia 16 years ago. It's located on Van Ness Avenue just south of Olive.

For more information, visit their website.
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