Why wouldn't you go to the best wine shop in town when it also serves awesome food? You can start with a glass (2 for 1 before 6) to peruse the heavily laden shelves for the bottle you'll have with dinner. Buy the wine for the store price and corkage is just $5. That means you can get an amazing bottle that would normally sell in a restaurant for triple what you're buying it for there. And it's easily Gainesville's best selection: organized by region, the wine that's packed into this store comes from many smaller production vineyards around the world, in addition to better-known names. And the selection is always changing based on availability and season. The staff is always happy to give you a rec.
The outdoor patio in the back of the store is the best spot on a balmy night: wrought iron tables under the trees, simple strings of white lights. The service is pleasant and down-to-earth.
The restaurant is technically called Panache, and it's open for lunch and now recently, dinner from Thursday through Saturday. Lunch consists mostly of sandwiches, salads, soups and quiche. It's fresh and lovely. My focus here is on dinner. At dinner, the food offerings are best to share: numerous cheese boards (think your choice of a savory board with roasted vegetables and cured meats, a sweet board with fruit, or a briny board with all manner of pickled things, the caper berries being my favorite). There are many vegetarian options: a beet napoleon, a stuffed bell pepper with tempeh and grains, and other rotating specials. The pizzas, which are buttery, crusty oblong shapes crowded with garlicky oil, cheese, and meat or seasonal vegetables, are huge and delicious. For those who require a piece of meat, there is usually a lovely roasted chicken dish on the menu, served on a fragrant bed of lentils, or if you're feeling adventurous, why not try bone marrow infused with gremolata? I've also had an amazing dish of littleneck clams in a simple white wine garlic sauce. In short, it's hard to go wrong.
If you're lucky, Christina (who serves there) will have made her amazing Chocolate cotes-du-rhone ganache cake for dessert. Don't forget to ask about what they have.
Thursday is the best night right now because it's never crowded, though I'm sure the future holds other things . . .
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