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Pane e Vino – Charleston, South Carolina
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Pane e Vino – Charleston, South Carolina

by jeffreyMarch 29, 2013

17 Warren St, Charleston, SC
Italian — Outdoor patio & live band occasionally
$$ — Most entrees in the $15-18 range

Pane E Vino on Urbanspoon

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Looking for some good Italian on the peninsula, we strolled over to Pane e Vino, located just off Charleston’s busy King Street on a much quieter, off-the-beaten path Warren Street. Entering the restaurant, you’ll pass by the giant patio hidden behind an ivy-covered wrought-iron fence, which looks larger than the main dining room of the restaurant.

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The interior feels very Italian with a lowly lit, cozy and romantic atmosphere, although a little less authentic feeling than, say, Osteria la Bottiglia.

When we got to the restaurant, it was nearly empty yet they seemed very concerned about our not having a reservation. They, somewhat reluctantly, sat us at a table by the front door, which was fine, but, just know that all of the action is out on the patio with the live band–make sure to request this on your visit.

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The service was good:  our waiter was thorough but seemed a little inexperienced. Within 2 minutes of ordering, he brought bread to our table and then, within minutes, our entrees came out! Very fast, really too fast. This was about the opposite of what we expected from an Italian restaurant, where you come to relax and enjoy dinner over a bottle of wine and take your time. Instead our pasta was out within 7 mins of ordering it. Making for the most rushed meal thus far on the peninsula.

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McCown went with the GNOCCHI ALLO ZOLA ($16) which was housemade gnocchi (potato dumplings to the non-initiated) in a creamy gorgonzola sauce with some fresh arugula mixed in. The dish had a very comfort-food taste about it. Served in a deep bowl, the gnocchi was nearly swimming in delicious gorgonzola cheese sauce and, while good, it was quite rich and nearly overpowering of the light, delicate dumplings (despite the server’s insistence that it wouldn’t be).
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Also feeling some pasta, I jumped on the RAVIOLI ALLA CASALINGA ($17), a ravioli stuffed with a pureed spinach and ricotta blend in a light smoked prosciutto “speck” and asparagus cream sauce.  This dish was very similar to the GNOCCHI in that it was pasta just soaked in a very similar cream sauce. The pasta was quite good and rather fresh-tasting but, again, the sauce was just too much. In this case, it tasted excessively salty, likely from the prosciutto (at least I hope), which was almost cut by the asparagus but not quite. The dish was then covered in a Parmesan cheese, further drenching it in salt.
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BOTTOM LINE: The most rushed restaurant experience to date on the peninsula, and, given that we’re at an Italian restaurant, that’s saying a lot. The food was fine, the wine OK. If you’re looking for Italian at this price point, I would suggest Osteria la Bottiglia instead, but really any of them downtown will provide superior food and experience.

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jeffrey
jeffrey