Pane e Vino
Sometimes a longstanding Valley favorite can be lost in the buzz of the latest restaurant opening or celebrity chef, but Pane e Vino is a restaurant you don't want to overlook. Pane e Vino (Italian for "bread and wine") opened in 1997 and on Mother's Day 2017 will celebrate their 20th anniversary. Owners Gillian and Stuart Bailey bought the restaurant five years ago but are familiar with its popularity and loyal patrons - Gillian has been at Pane e Vino for 14 years and her husband has worked as general manager since it opened. Likewise, Chef Ramon has been a longtime member of the Pane e Vino family, as has Mark, our affable waiter on the night we dined. The Baileys are proud of their restaurant and team, and know the secret to continuing success. "Stuart and I are always on property and work really hard," Gillian tells me. Another important aspect to their work ethic is giving back to the community and you'll also find this industrious couple engaged in volunteer work throughout the Valley.
One of the first restaurants to open in its North Scottsdale neighborhood, Pane e Vino is tucked away in the La Mirada shopping center and worth seeking out. Stepping into this cozy, yet elegant, restaurant, you'll notice the inviting bar and lounge (home to a popular Happy Hour), a dining room with white tablecoths and luxurious cushioned booths, and walls puncutated with vibrant originals by artist Mark Brodie. There's also a pretty patio for al fresco dining. We settled in our plush corner booth, ordered pre-dinner cocktails (vodka martini for Ernesto, and a Negroni for me) and tried to decide what to order from the enticing menu.
The emphasis on quality ingredients shines in dishes such as the Carne, Formaggio & Olive Bordo. It's a prime example of a perfect composed plate of cured meats and cheeses, including Pecorino Romano, creamy gorgonzola, prosciutto di Parma, sopressata, salami piccante and, my favorite, finocchiona flavored with fennel.
I always love to see a wide range of seafood choices on an Italian menu and Pane e Vivo didn't disappoint. My husband opted for Lumache alla Bourguignonne - buttery, garlicky escargot - while I enjoyed my Oysters Casino with baked Blue Point oysters garnished with peppers and strips of smoky bacon.
My husband is a huge Spaghetti Carbonara fan, especially those that fall into the extra-creamy category, and this homey dish was another winner.
Pane e Vino's Cioppino is a crowd favorite and it's easy to see why. Regulars know that while this won't be printed on the menu, it's a nightly special of a bed of linguine piled high with perfectly-cooked shrimp, scallops, calamari, clams, mussels, and salmon in a flavorful, briny tomato sauce. It will be hard for me not to order this again when I return.
My husband was just as happy with his choice. Another spot-on recommendation from our waiter Mark, Costoletta di Vitello arrived as a juicy pan-roasted veal chop festooned with an addictive sweet-and-savory medley of dried apricots and oyster mushrooms.
While we were afraid we hadn't saved room for dessert, Mark convinced us that we couldn't leave without a slice of Pane e Vino's famous tiramisu. Note to self: Always listen to Mark.
Thank you to the Baileys for the invitation and an introduction to a restaurant I'm happy to have found. I loved everything about Pane e Vino: The relaxing atmosphere, great service, friendly staff, and delicious menu. In fact we enjoyed it so much, we spent time afterwards getting to know these passionate, caring owners. Add us to the long list of happy fans.
I was hosted by Pane e Vino and our meal was complimentary.