A week or so ago, I went out to dinner with my Grandma Anne to celebrate my new job and engagement. One of my favorite restaurants is Pane Rustica – but somehow I had only ever made it there for lunch (you can read about their lunch here). We decided to try it out for dinner and it exceeded my already high expectations. Dining for lunch is a more casual experience, but at dinner, they transition over to table service and dim the lights for ambiance.
Their owners Kevin and Karyn Kruszewski are some of the nicest people, and I have several friends who work there. Pane has catered the Christmas party at my parents’ condo the last few years, and I’m hoping to have them cater our wedding!
We were served a fresh loaf of their in-house baked bread with hummus, olives, cherry peppers, and olive oil while we decided on our entrees.
I tried their special – Herb Grilled Hawaiian Opah – since I’d never had that fish before. It was served with root vegetable puree, roasted fennel & Brussels sprouts, Florida peaches, micro arugula, and pomegranate coulis. The fish had texture like salmon, but was milder in flavor. I was served a huge portion – and the accompanying vegetables were perfect. I love Brussels sprouts, but I think even someone who didn’t would have enjoyed these.
Grandma had the Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops. She opted out of the chorizo that normally is part of that dish, but it included crispy potato coins, local snap pea shoots, creamy corn fondue, and chile oil. The scallops were enormous – and very flavorful. She cleared her whole dish.
I ended up taking some of my meal home so we could have room for dessert! I’ve had their espresso cookies several times before – crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. This time we had the cookies in a sundae with ice cream and fresh fruit. Yum!!
I took my leftovers home, but when I went to unload them I had a surprise! I was sent home with an extra box of pastries – a scone, muffin, and cupcake. We enjoyed those over the next few days. The cupcake frosting tasted like it was made with Oreo filling.
Can’t wait to go back again – you really can’t go wrong with anything you order there. Super happy with our meal!
Pane Rustica is located at 3225 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629 and is open from 8am – 5pm on Tuesday, 8am – 10pm Wednesday through Saturday, 8am – 3pm on Sunday, and closed Mondays. 11am – 11pm.