San Diego Restaurant Week begins again September 23. We had our first preview meal at Osteria Panevino in downtown San Diego and it was a most memorable evening. My dining companion and I received a warm welcome from General Manager Annalisa Rollins. She told us the restaurant opened 26 years ago in its current location. In 1992, there was “nothing,” she told us and people lined up to get in. It was opened by two people from the same town in Sicily who started with an east coast pizzeria. They moved west and opened Osteria Panevino, an authentic mom and pop Italian restaurant. All the pastas, linguine, gnocchi, ravioli, lasagna and fettucine are made in-house. The bread is house made, too, soft, light and bursting with flavor.
For restaurant week, they’re offering a three-course dinner for $40 with an optional wine pairing for $12. I opted for the Carciofi All Giudea, sautéed artichokes with lemon butter, tomatoes and oven-roasted artisan bread. The long-stemmed artichokes were a thing of beauty and tasted divine. The bread dipped in the lemon butter was simply out of this world. We went for the wine pairing and enjoyed a glass of Prosecco, which my companion enjoyed immensely with her Bruschettone Burrata, an enormous slice of artisan bread topped with organic diced tomatoes, capers, e.v.o.o., burrata and fresh basil.
I had a tough time deciding between the Ossobuco di Agnello, braised lamb shank with mushrooms and risotto and the Risotto Alla Pescatora, arborio rice with mussels, clams, calamari and shrimp in a lightly spiced tomato sauce. At Annalisa’s suggestion, I selected the Ossobuco and it was magnificent. You can add shaved black truffle for $8 and I highly recommend you do. The portion was hearty and I’ll be enjoying the leftovers today. I paired my entrée with a glass of Chianti. My guest chose Pinot Grigio for her Ravioli Ai Carciofi, housemate ravioli stuffed with artichokes, roasted tomato sauce, black olives and fresh mint. It, too, was heavenly.
We somehow saved a tiny bit of room for dessert and again we wisely took Annalisa’s advice. We shared a slice of Limoncello cake and an Affogato Al Caffe, a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of espresso. Paired with limoncello, it was the perfect ending to a lovely evening.
Osteria Panevino is a charming restaurant that serves delicious, authentic Italian food. They offer a choice of four starters, four entrées and three desserts for $40. It’s an extraordinary value. Annalisa is charming, attentive and wants to make certain your dining experience meets and exceeds every expectation. We also visited with another manager, Giuseppe Gagliano, who told us everything is made from the Sicilian heart. I couldn’t agree more. Osteria Panevino, 722 Fifth Avenue, San Diego. (619) 595-7959
San Diego Restaurant Week runs September 23 – 30 with more than 100 restaurants offering special restaurant week menus. I look forward to each restaurant week eagerly. It’s such a great way to discover all that San Diego has to offer your palate.
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. WINEormous is the recipient of the Luxury Travel Guide’s Wine Tour Operator of the Year award for Temecula 2017. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.