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Panino's

179 Main St., Monroe, CT - (203) 452-5557
Posted By Leslie A. Howard on 3/1/2007 2:11:00 PM
I cannot say enough WONDERFUL things about this Panino's. As soon as you enter, you no longer feel like you're in a strip mall. It's cozy and warm, with beautiful colors, just the "right" amount of lighting (even the light fixtures are pretty), and there's some pleasant 40's and 50's music playing softly in the background.

We were greeted by a (seemingly) very young hostess/waitress, who ended up being one of the best waitpersons I've seen in a long time. She was pleasant, sharp, and her timing was impeccable (something I was horrible at as a waitress when I was younger).

The food is out of this world. First, the bread and olivey olive oil... heaven on earth. If the picture in this review looks amazing, well, just imagine amazing multiplied by a million. I've never tasted such delicious bread in my life. Hot, dense, soft, with a slightly crunchy exterior. If all I had was the bread and oil, I'd still be writing this. I could have sat there all day and eaten that bread.

My mom had the vegetarian panini for her entree, and I had the antipasto for one. Both were fantastic. My mother said that the pesto mayo on her sandwich tasted like they made it from scratch minutes before they put it on her sandwich. The flavors and textures in my salad were five-star.

Our bill was under $15.00 for lunch, and I've never left a restaurant so throughly pleased for so little money. A very nice gentleman opened the door for us to exit and asked us how everything was. He mentioned that the restaurant is also BYOB, something I absolutely LOVE. I can't wait to go back for dinner SOON!

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Rate this place
Panini's Ischia: grilled chicken, avocado, greens, and tomato with honey mustard on house-made panino bread
"Panini's Ischia: grilled chicken, avocado, greens, and tomato with honey mustard on house-made panino bread"
Michael Stern





Regular, crisp-fried calamari is available, but Panino's also offers this tantalizing gloss on the recipe, for which the little fried squid hoops are sopped with a syrupy balsamic vinegar reduction. Powerful stuff, and good!
"Regular, crisp-fried calamari is available, but Panino's also offers this tantalizing gloss on the recipe, for which the little fried squid hoops are sopped with a syrupy balsamic vinegar reduction. Powerful stuff, and good!"
Michael Stern


Louie Primavera is a bounty of vegetables, including garlic, atop angel hair pasta.
"Louie Primavera is a bounty of vegetables, including garlic, atop angel hair pasta."
Michael Stern


The 'Parma' is leaves of proscuitto, slices of fresh mozzarella, and roasted red peppers drizzled with zesty balsamic vinegar. What a nice sandwich!
"The 'Parma' is leaves of proscuitto, slices of fresh mozzarella, and roasted red peppers drizzled with zesty balsamic vinegar. What a nice sandwich!"
Michael Stern


Looking like an ordinary strip-mall restaurant, Panino's is easy to miss as you drive past. Inside, it's a surprisingly good-looking place with mighty good-tasting food.
"Looking like an ordinary strip-mall restaurant, Panino's is easy to miss as you drive past. Inside, it's a surprisingly good-looking place with mighty good-tasting food."
Michael Stern


Before the meal is served, tables are presented with a basket of tender-crumb panino bread and a dipping bowl of olive oil laced with briney slices of black olive.
"Before the meal is served, tables are presented with a basket of tender-crumb panino bread and a dipping bowl of olive oil laced with briney slices of black olive."
Michael Stern


This lovely salad is made of baby spinach leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, lots of chevre, and slices of smoky grilled eggplant, all dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
"This lovely salad is made of baby spinach leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, lots of chevre, and slices of smoky grilled eggplant, all dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette."
Michael Stern


The Ischia sandwich is presented in quarters on a plate spangled with herbs and grated cheese.
"The Ischia sandwich is presented in quarters on a plate spangled with herbs and grated cheese."
Michael Stern


Unless you are really, really hungry, this chicken parmesan is enough for a couple of main courses.
"Unless you are really, really hungry, this chicken parmesan is enough for a couple of main courses."
Michael Stern


Mea culpa! I was so hungry, and Panino's bread is so excellent -- still oven-warm -- that I cleaned out the basked and sopped up the last of the delicious olive slurry that comes for bread dipping. Only then did I remember my duty to take a picture: bad journalism, but a wonderful way to begin a meal.
"Mea culpa! I was so hungry, and Panino's bread is so excellent -- still oven-warm -- that I cleaned out the basked and sopped up the last of the delicious olive slurry that comes for bread dipping. Only then did I remember my duty to take a picture: bad journalism, but a wonderful way to begin a meal."
Michael Stern



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