Restaurant Review: ...Bruncheon... Roulette at Panificio
Flavorful Food but Terrible Service
By Jillian Berry
61 Massachusetts Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Panificio is a large bistro and bakery on the corner of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Aves. The front portion of the bistro is a coffee bar and bakery featuring glass cases filled with delectable looking pastries and desserts, while the rear is reserved for sit-down dining. The entire restaurant is decorated in a homey, European caf style with rich woods and earthy tones that work nicely with the abundance of natural light. The atmosphere is lively, and most of the patrons are groups of college students. Panificio serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with brunch, which I had, on Saturday and Sunday.
The brunch menu consists of an expanded breakfast menu with eggs, pancakes, French toast, and a few sandwiches and salads. While there are a wide variety of dishes available, it should be noted that many of these dishes are available for breakfast, and at a lesser price. I have noticed the recent trend of raising brunch prices and I do not know when people decided that just by putting brunch in front of the word, you can start charging $10 for pancakes, but it is frustrating.
Panificio offers the traditional breakfast drinks; coffee ($1.75), tea ($1.25), fresh squeezed orange juice ($3.00), and apple cider ($3.00). The coffee comes strong and hot, but unfortunately in a small cup that required many refills. On the other hand, my tea came in what can only be described as a large mug. While I really like my tea, it seems far more practical to serve coffee in the large mug and tea in the smaller cup.
The food at Panificio is good, and comes in generous portions with a side of home fries. I really wanted to try the stuffed French toast ($9.75), which consists of Challah bread stuffed with cream cheese, blueberries, bananas, and strawberries. Although we ordered this dish, we were served the regular French toast ($7.50) made with apple-cinnamon raisin bread. When we mentioned this mistake to one of our waiters (we had a couple who seemed not to talk with one another), he offered to bring us fruit and cream cheese, insisting it would be the same as the stuffed French toast. The fresh mango, banana, strawberries, pineapple, and cream cheese did add a lot of flavor to the sweet and light French toast, but I am pretty sure it was not the same as what we ordered.
We also tried the blueberry pancakes ($8.50). These moist and fluffy pancakes were very filling, though one was not cooked all the way through, and they could have used more blueberries. The home fries that came with both dishes were large chunks of potatoes that were baked with a nice seasoning, although they would have been better with ketchup.
Overall, the food was tasty, and it filled me up while still being light (or at least light for brunch). However, the service was lacking at best. It seemed as if none of the staff really knew what he or she was supposed to be doing. Neither waiter wrote down our order, which would have been fine if they had been able to remember what we ordered. Instead we ended up with half our order wrong and two large mugs of tea. Furthermore, when we asked for a refill on the coffee, the waiter refilled everyone’s coffee at the neighboring table and forgot to refill ours, and we heard people at a table close by get a random order of bacon (maybe I would have a different view of the restaurant if I had gotten a random order of bacon as well, but obviously accuracy is not really a high priority at Panificio). So if you like being surprised by the food delivered to your table, Panificio is the place for you, but for the rest of us, maybe takeout is safer.