Many people escape their humble origins to pursue the American dream of opening a restaurant that reminds them exactly of that humble origin. For a restaurant without the schadenfreude, Panevino.
Set in the short-lived Zhivago spot, this casually-modernist Boot-food-ery was conceived by a pair of Italy natives (one a Tribunali vet, the other behind a slew of Bay Area restos), and is serving up un-fussy trattoria-style eats in a wood-and-metal-hued space that boasts a marble-topped, tile-backed bar, a wall scattered with black framed portraiture/landscapes, and a retractable glass front that can be open to the street, like Robin Thicke. PV's dinner menu includes antipasti (beef Carpaccio topped w/ arugula, capers & lemon dressing), Secondi (the pork scaloppine/prosciutto/sage Saltimbocca Di Maiale), and a mess of pastas like the classic olive/capers/anchovies/tomato Penne Puttanesca, which everyone knows got its name because it's penne so good you'll whore for it. Daytime means pared-down pasta and secondi menus; salads like the vinaigrette topped mixed green/fresh tuna/hard boiled egg Mediterranea, and ciabatta Panini like the Italian sausage/bell pepper/artichoke hearts Salsiccia, and the grilled chicken breast/zucchini Pollo, which's also available at Ross next to last season's Tommi Hillfinger
In addition to their massive list of Italy and Washington wines, PV's offering signature 'tails like the gin/lemon juice/Campari Panevino Punch, and straightforward happy hour options like Penne Al Pesto and an Italian sausage/spicy red sauce Fusilli Salsiccia, all for under $5 -- cheap enough to leave you with scratch to pursue your own American Dream of affording dinner.
The Best Cheap Tacos in the Bay Area