Fine Dining in Manassas, VA: Panino Ristorante Italiano
It’s not often that I get time to relax over an equisite meal in the company of my best friend. The life I’ve chosen as a Northern Virginia Short Sale Listing Agent really eats at my schedule. Between that and representing my Northern Virginia Buyers, my weekdays are pretty well booked. But when your 40th birthday is looming on the horizon, you just have to make exceptions. After all, the countdown to 40 hit single digits last week.
So off I went Monday afternoon, with my good friend Anne, to “dine” at Panino Ristorante Italiano (or as I like to call it, Panino Italian Restaurant.) Having been there once before at the invite of a couple of very satisfied Gainesville, VA First Time Home Buyers, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Sadly, I forgot my camera, but made do with the cell phone.
Panino is a place you could easily miss as it sits in strip mall on Mathis Avenue also housing a Jo-Ann’s fabric store and an Ace Hardware. Don’t let the location fool you. This isn’t any old restaurant. It’s is truly the only fine dining restaurant I know of in Manassas.
For starters, we got there before the afternoon rush. It’s nice to be the first ones in the door. Makes for great service, not that it would have been a problem otherwise. The service at Panino is really amazing. I felt like a refined socialite. Negotiating Northern Virginia Short Sales with banks on a regular basis, I have to say, it was a refreshing change to not feel like a hard-nosed negotiator for two hours and feel pampered.
Next were the appetizers. Anne ordered Grilled Vegetables with Freshly Made Mozzarella Cheese. I ordered Grilled Portobella Mushrooms in a Balsamic Vinaigrette with Masacpone Cheese. YUM!
I barely glanced at the skinny bread sticks our server placed on the table. It was all about the gigantic slices of warm Italian bread brought out after we placed our order. And finally, a restaurant that didn’t skimp on the butter!
Anne went with a tried and true classic for the entree: Lasagna. I tried something new. Salmon over Yellow & Green Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Tomato Cream Sauce. I was not disappointed. I could have licked the plate clean, but remember, I was playing the part of a refined socialite for the day. Better to soak up the leftover sauce with a piece of that delightful bread.
By this point in time, I realized that I may not have room for desert. Then I heard the words Homemade Chocolate Gelato. Seemed the perfect end.,,and something that was a bit more light. When the server brought out the three dark chocolate balls of Gelato, I knew it would be much richer than anticipated and sinfully tasty. When they said chocolate, they weren’t messing around. Meanwhile Anne enjoyed a piece of Mascapone Cheesecake.
Panino Ristorante Italiano is definitely fine dining and worth the trip. Don’t wait for a special occasion to try it. I’m advised that you may want to call ahead for reservations for their busier evenings, like Friday or Saturday night. Panino’s phone number is 703-335-2566. Their address: 9116 Mathis Avenue, Manassas, VA, 20110.