Restaurant Week Report: Panorama

Along with the streets of Philadelphia, hell has apparently frozen over. Not only did we have a delicious September Restaurant Week, but another mostly positive experience this time round. When friends of blogalicious booked a table at Panorama, the elegant always-been-meaning-to-get-there ristorante in the Penn’s View Inn, we felt pretty good. We’d always heard nice things about Panorama and their Restaurant Week menu, thoughts echoed by Foobooz last week.

If you’ve never been, the wall mural-wrapped restaurant is like dining in a Renaissance painting, or a very extravagantly decorated South Philly living room. It was packed like the Cantina on a Saturday night, and though we had a 9:30 rez, we were quickly banished to the wine bar. Yes, you heard correctly, 9:30 pm. The delay drug on, lubricated by a robust, blackberry Dolcetto from Panorama’s biblical wine list.

We sat a little after 10, and the food started flying from the kitchen. For appetizers, you could order either the antipasto salad or one of the restaurant’s pastas. Kind of a no-brainer. We steered toward the tagliatelle with earth wild mushrooms; orechietti with shrimp; and the gnocchi, airy potato gumdrops lightly dressed in marina and nuggets of slowly melting smoked mozzarella. Yum. For entrees, Panorama lets you order any of its dishes. The friends made a beeline for the filet mignon, a tender eight-ounce steak capped with truffle butter and melted leeks, but we went with the crisp cutlets of veal breaded in toasted hazelnuts and lemon zest. It was light and lovely, served alongside a simple, lively arugula and grape tomato salad and lemon-mascarpone mousse. Killer.

By dessert, a perfect white-wine poached pear washed down with lots more wine, it was close to midnight. Just like dinner in Italy. With three bottles of wine ($35 Chianti, $40 Pinot Noir, $50 Dolcetto D’Alba) the $35 per person base quickly escalated to $80 each with tip for earnest, friendly, if a bit familiar, service. Not exactly cheap, but it certainly would have cost much more had it not been Restaurant Week. Sorry for the lack of pictures (‘twas dark in the dining room), but to see what Panorama’s all about, check it out for yourself. Restaurant Week ends tomorrow night, and, according to OpenTable, there are plenty of tables available.

Photo: Panorama

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