We tried dropping by on Friday, but the voice on the other end of our conversation said they, "...had a really busy lunch, and are closed already." It was 2:20 p.m. The website said 4 o'clock. Tucked into one corner of a plaza that incorporates urban housing into its design, Paninoteca Maggio isn't easy to spot unless someone points it out.
Next to Mother's Market and The Habit Burger, Paninoteca's official grand opening is this weekend.
In the meantime, their limited hours allow for breakfast and lunch business. Another chef-driven concept, this Italian deli has us wondering about their early morning vegetable frittata. Served with Parmesan and pesto in a Ciabatta roll, is this really a meal to consume at 8 a.m.? Perhaps.
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Also offering salads, sandwiches and coffee, Paninoteca's kitchen vibe is dictated by one Chef Sharron (a man, per the pronoun usage on their website). Fillings for their sandwiches include veal and pork meatballs called Roma, roasted pork belly named Toscana, and Sicilia, containing tuna and ricotta salata. For their lighter fare, a Capra roasted beet salad or the Farro with barley and OJ vinaigrette sound promising.
Their business is primarily take-out, so take in the chic interior while you stand in line and wish there were more than four tables available. Their loss was my Habit burger gain, so no harm, no foul . . . .this time.
Paninoteca is located at 195 E. City Place Dr, Santa Ana, (714( 426-8095; www.paninotecamaggio.com.