Pane & Vino, Ponsonby

After a few minutes thought, 2-3 scratches of the head and a quick google search I found out that “Pane & Vino” is Italian for “Bread & Wine”. Although, technically, it should be “Pane e Vino”… but I’m not here to point fingers.

This place is real cool. From the authentic Italian food to the buzzy vibe to the (actual) Italian waitstaff, Pane & Vino has got it goin’ on. Inside (due to the classic high ceiling + wooden floors + restaurant sounds combination) it’s a little loud and echoey – but still cool. Fortunately – for the purposes of audible conversation and general banter – we had booked a table outside and were stoked it was a calm, mild evening. The staff were super welcoming and it felt like we were at a friends’ place, albeit a friends’ place with table service, corkage fee and a menu that was rather difficult to pronounce.

Right from the start the food was awesome. Simple. But awesome. We got some bread with red onion, garlic, olive oil, capers, olives and tomatoes fro starter – the Italians call it Panzanella, which is a lot more time efficient to say. Fresh and yum, I’d definitely get it again. The choice of Mains was (and probably still is) diverse and numerous and, as much as I like choice, meant that the chances of choosing a dish and then experiencing some degree of the dreaded “food envy” were very high. For more info on “food envy”… make some friends and go out for dinner more.

I ordered what I dubbed “Meat Heaven” which, funnily enough, involved an assortment of meat with sauce. No pasta. No veges. Just meat and sauce. It was awesome. It’s actually called “Misto di carne alla pugliese” on the menu and I’m guessing it translates roughly to “Much Meat done in…. Pugliese…?” Whatever “Pugliese” was I’m not sure. I know it involved quite a bit of garlic and tasted fantastic and I’m quite happy with that. Other dishes that looked awesome included the Calamari stuffed with a garlic/parmesan/tomato stuffing and the fresh pasta with prawns. I also managed to check out some pizza at a neighbouring table and it looked awesome too. Topped off with more-than-necessary wine (BYO… yeah) and the Affogato (Ice Cream with an espresso shot) I left this place well satisfied. I’d definitely go back soon. Anyone for Italian?

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