Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Finds - Raising The Bar - Pane' Rustica's new addition!

Unless you're one of those people that never eats out or has been living under a rock for the past few years, it's probably pretty safe to say that you are familiar with Pane’ Rustica, the scrumptious restaurant and bakery in South Tampa. This wonderful eatery focuses on giving classic dishes that everyone loves, a European flair. If you are a frequent visitor of the restaurant you may have noticed over the past few months the sounds of construction on the adjacent space. Monica for one has been waiting with much anticipation with the unveiling of the restaurant expansion to include a bar, lounge and extra dining room!

Well, it’s finally here and Monica, of course, want to share her delight and experience of the new addition...

This past Saturday night the hubby and I were aching for a little food and fun. After eating a late lunch we decided we really weren’t all that hungry for a full meal but wanted a little snack and a refreshing cocktail without having to drive too far. Good news is, the new Pane' Rustica bar is less than a mile from our house and was exactly what we were in the mood for!

The bar is a large, beautiful U shape leaving lots of space for people to sit without feeling like the person next to you is breathing down your neck and listening into your conversation. They've also added cozy booths alongside the opposite wall and a few cocktail tables scattered throughout for those who would rather have a little more privacy. The decor is dark woods accented with shades of blue and the feel is much more contemporary than the adjacent olde world decor of the original dining room, but it still it blends well and the Saturday night ambiance was very chill with a twist of romantic.

The low lighting and electronica lounge music in the background set a perfect stage for an evening of sipping cocktails, relaxing and chatting. Just what  I was in the mood for! So while I am primarily a wine drinker,  I am always in the search of a perfectly made Cosmo! I like em made with top shelf vodka, light on the cranberry with a few chips of ice and really cold. The bartender that night hit it right on and my favorite summer drink was refreshing an satisfying. Louis' fave signature drink is a Ketel One martini straight up with blue cheese olives. They reproduced this classic cocktail  and we happily sipped our cocktails and discussed the week and our pending kitchen remodel! The stress of of DIY-ing our new kitchen of course had us ordering another round..the second just as great as the first! Besides an extensive liquor selection their wine list and beer selection is excellent offering something for everyones palate.

The full menu is offered at the bar and lounge and in addition they have a small bar menu that consists of small plates and appetizers. We chose the beef tenderloin satays and  asparagus with fondue cheese sauce off the bar menu and the Caprese salad appetizer from the daily specials on the dinner menu. The tenderloin was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth. Great dish but I could have gone for a few more satays only 3 on this dish wasn't really enough. The Caprese was refreshing with big slices of juicy summer tomatoes.

As always, Pane' Rustica didn't disappoint with their food. They chose quality ingredients, didn't over season or overcook allowing for the natural flavors of the food speak for itself. I had a relaxing evening with my forever favorite dining partner. And definitely see myself enjoying many future evenings there for girl's night and of course my great hubby!

Congrats Pane Rustica on your new addition I know it is a sure success and think a new beautiful hip bar is exactly what Palma Ceia needed!

Right now it seems they are feeling out their customers and waiting to decide what their final hours will be for the bar. Currently it is open until the restaurant closes which is 10 on week nights and 11 on the weekends. The bartender assured us though, that as long as there are patrons,  the bar will stay open to serve up delicious drinks!

Cheers!! Eat well, drink up and be merry!

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