Pane e Vino, located off River Oaks Drive in the Carolina Forest area of Myrtle Beach, opened two and a half years ago, and somehow we hadn’t yet made it there. I remember seeing a menu when they first opened, thinking it was really limited and and wondered if they’d make it. Flash forward to a few months ago, Restaurant.com was offering 80% off dining certificates, so I got a $25 coupon for $2. It was time to try it!
Last night, after a long day at the water park, my tired family showered and dressed, ready for a homey, pasta meal. To begin with, Pane e Vino, from the outside, looks very unassuming. It’s in the corner of a strip mall and has a few outside tables. It’s definitely the type of place you could drive by 100 times and never notice. Looks can, absolutely, be deceiving, though.
When we entered, we were greeted by the manager and seated immediately. It’s small inside, but very cozy. The colors are warm, there are small strings of lights strategically placed that added something nice. Through out the restaurant were grape vines and wine bottles. If wasn’t so tired, and driving, I would have loved to partake in a glass…or three. Also in the dining room was an accordion player who added just the right touch. His music wasn’t too loud and included fun tunes like the “Pennsylvania Polka” (think back to the movie “Groundhog Day”) and “Happy Birthday.”
The menu has been changed since I saw it when they first opened. There are many, many fantastic choices. They span pasta, meat, chicken, and seafood. The only thing missing was a white sauce option. And one feature I loved was the kids’ menu section. Moms and dads, how sick are you of going out to eat with your children and having the choice of pizza, chicken tenders, hamburger, hot dog, corn dog, or grilled cheese? Honestly, there is little variation, which is so disappointing. And while we don’t eat out that much, my girls are bored with it. On their menu were some familiar choices like pasta and chicken parmagiana and included with each kids’ meal was soup and salad, just like the adults. The restaurant doesn’t have ranch dressing and I love how the food isn’t dumbed down. Now with that said, everything is handmade. When I talked to our server how our younger daughter hates all things tomato, we were able to get buttered pasta and chicken parm with just cheese on it. We’re so appreciative for the customization. My husband even said, “Tell the chef we’re sorry. I’ll take her sauce!”
The soup was a homemade stratella, with a chicken broth base and breadcrumbs, romano cheese and herbs. Delish! The salad was mixed greens, carrots, cucumber and tomato with an oil and vinegar dressing. The rolls tasted homemade and were brought to our table so hot that I had a wait a minute to butter them. I could have eaten the entire basket.
I ordered one of the specials for my entrée – eggplant rollatini. It was offered as an appetizer (one roll) or entrée (three rolls + vegetable). I also got a side of their homemade pasta. My husband got the cannelloni. My eggplant was wrapped around chicken and spinach, on a tomato sauce and topped with melted and browned, bubbling mozzarella cheese. The cannelloni was also on sauce and topped with cheese.
The two words I want to use to describe this meal are authentic and homemade. Olive Garden this is not. In fact, it’s the anti-Olive Garden. The courses were perfectly spaced. The owners and chefs stopped by our table (and they had no idea I was reviewing, so special attention here – they chatted with everyone) to talk about the food and experience. I felt like our family was welcomed and they were genuinely appreciative that we were enjoying their food.
Normally I try to photograph our food. Folks…I was too busy enjoying. In fact, while eating I think I said aloud, “I almost don’t want to review this because I want to keep it for myself!”
My meal was $20, my husbands was $15. Each of the children’s meals were $6. I saw entrees on the menu in the $25 range. There were also lobster tails and filet mignon on the menu in the specials, which I’m sure are higher in price.
This meal is the best I’ve had in a year. I can’t wait to return and bring friends and family. It gave us the marriage of really high quality food and a family friendly environment. Bellisimo!
Pane e Vino is at 4016-7 River Oaks Drive, Myrtle Beach and can be reached by calling (843) 903-3136.
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