The Pineapple Avenue Panini Press – Sarasota, FL

Yesterday while wandering through the Satasota Farmer’s Market, I was handed a flyer for this panini shop in downtown Sarasota.  Since Allison and I had to come back downtown for other business, we decided to give it a try.

This is a pretty new restaurant, having opened just six month ago.  But they are making themselves known already and according to Sarasota Magazine, their meatball panini is one of Sarasota’s top ten sandwiches.

We arrived around 1:45 on Saturday afternoon and were promptly offered the option to sit where we liked on the patio.  The waitress was friendly enough, and quickly brought menus and took our drink orders.  We elected to just go with water, and this was served in a highball glass rather than a proper water glass.

The menu is limited.  Okay, the menu is really limited.  Just a handful of sandwiches, salads and desserts to select from.  I wanted to try the meatball sandwich, while Allison went with a chicken panini with mozzarella cheese and pesto.

Our orders seemed to take forever to arrive.  This is not rocket science food here folks… it’s a grilled sandwich.  But after 15 minutes or so, arrive they did.  The presentation was very good, with a nice helping of greens and fresh fruit, some interesting “chips” and the main course itself.  There was a sprinkling of parsley and an orchid bloom to round out the plate.

Allison said her chicken had no flavor on its own.  She thinks that it was probably boiled first with no salt or pepper to season.  She said the pesto and mozzarella helped but it was not enough to spruce up the meat.  She also thought that there was way too much bread for the amount of fixings included.  But she did like the chips… which appeared to be various dried fruits and vegetables.

I really liked the taste of the meatballs, which were coated in a homemade red sauce as well as accompanied by a small bowl of extra sauce.  Unfortunately, there just were not that many meatballs.  In fact, I think that there were only 5 total.  I have to agree with Allison… way too much bread for too little filling.  And while the meatballs were tasty, they were also tiny.  Maybe one-third of an inch across.

I mentioned above that the service started out good.  Unfortunately, that was the best service we had during the meal.  Our waitress pretty much disappeared except to bring us our check.  Pretty sad considering it was not very busy at all.

Bottom line for us?  We did not care for it much at all.  Our bill, including tip, came to $20.  For this there are better sandwiches to be had, and probably better service to boot.

Cheers!

The meatball panini

The Pineapple Avenue Panini Press on Urbanspoon

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