Pane Rustica. My favorite lunch spot in Tampa.

July 1, 2011

If you know me, at some point you’ve probably broken my balls for the frequency with which I eat at Pane Rustica. And I don’t blame you, I’d break my balls too if I were my friend on Facebook and I saw me “check in” to the same restaurant at least once a week for the past 5 years or so. But being honest and going strictly by the numbers (I am an engineer after all): Of the 200 or so times I’ve eaten at Pane never once has the meal been bad. Now statistically I don’t even know how that’s possible, you’d think at least freakin’ once it would have such an off day that it would just suck and lose it’s #1 status. Nope. The best Sandwich, Burger, Spare Ribs, Ravioli, Veal Cheeks, Scallops, Cupcake, Cornbread, Pastry, blah, blah, blah, that I’ve had in Tampa- all at Pane. Speaking of Pastries… Pane Rustica is in a very unassuming retail plaza just south of Bay to Bay on Macdill Ave. in South Tampa. You could drive by it a dozen times and never notice it, and they don’t really advertise (that I’m aware) so one typically hears about it word-of-mouth. The space inside is an interesting dichotomy of decor: the original dining area (they recently expanded into the space next door, adding a bar and a private room) is what I can best describe as rustic-Italian-grotto-bread-shop, and the connected new space (now with table service, something that was unavailable at lunch before the expansion) is contemporary, clean, and chic. I know I know, on to the pics. Here’s a piece of pizza we all shared, it had goat cheese, chicken, herbs, parm, and other deliciousness on it: My blackened scallop po-boy with lemon garlic aioli was pretty rockin’ My friend had curry dusted scallops with wilted spinach and plantain salsa and the scallops were cooked flawlessly… And even though this was a picture I had on my phone from a while back I had to share it with you guys (it’s the best cupcake I’ve ever had that I mentioned earlier) I mean come on, a 4-frosting flavored fudge filled cupcake with cocoa dusted dark chocolate chunks on top. That’s gotta be illegal in some states. I think if you found a way to put bacon on that you’d open up a black hole or something. Either way if you haven’t eaten at Pane yet, I’m genuinely sad. Go, and get something out of your comfort zone. The menu changes daily so if you don’t see anything you want (which probably would also baffle me), grab a slice of their awesome pizza and come back another time. You won’t be sorry!

Pane Rustica Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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