Billy Burger earned the title of Best Burger

5 Favorite Entrees of 2017

Every December, we take a look back at our favorite dishes of the past year. We’re finishing our year-in-review with the main course. Here are our five favorite entrees we tried in 2017.

1 Potato Two – Eggplant Parmesan Spudwich

For the uninitiated, a spudwich is a sandwich where the bread or roll has been replaced by a deep-fried potato sliced lengthwise. The novelty of it was intriguing. But the taste, that was amazing. It was messy, it was greasy, but it was delicious. The fried eggplant, tomato sauce and cheese may not have been as much of a standout on its own, but in a spudwich, it was memorable. Read Full Review

Billy Burger & Bakery – The Ranch Burger

Billy Burger earned the title of Best Burger

The last time a burger made our end-of-the-year favorites list was in 2014 (Frank and Diannah’s). This year, Billy Burger made the cut with its Ranch Burger. The burger starts with lettuce and tomato, but then it gets crazy with the addition of a grilled poblano pepper and buttermilk peppercorn ranch dressing. The cool ranch mixed with the mild pepper and a well-cooked burger made it one of my favorite handhelds of the year. Read Full Review

Cosa Pizzeria and Restaurant – Ragu alla Bolognese

Cosa's ragu bolongese has layers of flavor from the sauce, homemade pasta and herbs

Cosa is a newcomer to Berks County – opening in the former Basil Restaurant and Pizzeria location outside Sinking Spring. The ragu alla Bolognese was a stand-out dish. Featuring house-made pappardelle pasta tossed in a veal and sofrito ragu, I became an instant fan of Cosa. Read Full Review

Folino Estate Vineyard and Winery – Drunken Pasta

The second pasta dish on the list is nothing like the first. The drunken pasta at Folino Estate is infused with red wine to give it a distinct purple hue, then it was cooked in wine (for good measure) and served with chicken and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese. It was unlike anything that I have ever tried, and it’s a must-try (and I’m not even a wine lover). Read Full Review

Willoughby’s on Park – Dry-Aged Ribeye

The 20-ounce dry-aged ribeye at Willoughby's on Park

This year, I saved the best for last. It’s almost not fair to compare a steak from Willoughby’s on Park to anything else in Berks County because the high-end steakhouse feel of Willoughby’s is unlike any other restaurant experience in the county. And my steak, combined with the mission fig Cabernet reduction (for a non-wine drinker, I certainly ordered a lot of wine-infused meals) was about as close to perfection as I could have wanted. Read Full Review


Best of Berks County Eats Entrees
eggplant Parmesan from Mimmo's in Reading

Review: Mimmo’s Restaurant & Pizzeria

sign advertising Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

It is always interesting to compare a family of restaurants. If you have followed Berks County Eats across the past four years, you have seen us profile several sets of related restaurants.

We have paid visits to Stokesay Castle and Gatsby’s at Sunnybrook Ballroom, had memorable (and forgettable) meals at ViVA and ViVA Castle Pub, had dinner at two Giannotti’s, and tasted all three locations for Klinger’s.

This week we cross another one off the list. It was in late 2015 that Julie and I made the drive to Amityville for a visit to Vincenzo’s. But we had yet to pay a visit to the family’s original restaurant, Mimmo’s.

chandelier hanging in the entryway of Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

Mimmo’s is located within the city limits of Reading, along Morgantown Road (Route 10) near Alvernia University.

I had watched as Mimmo’s underwent an extensive renovation and expansion in 2015. After it was finished, there was no denying the similarities to its sister restaurant. Both feature an exterior of stone and stucco meant to harken back to the Old World.

The restaurant has quite a large dining area – multiple dining rooms plus an outdoor patio – but take-out is big business as well.

Sign on the wall inside Mimmo's with an arrow pointing left for takeout and an arrow pointing right for dine in

We were looking for the full experience so we entered through the dine-in door and were seated in a booth for two in the back corner of the front dining room. The seat was right next to a bar – one without seats that served only as place for mixing drinks.

Our waitress stopped by quickly to take our orders, but we weren’t quite ready. It was not an easy decision for either of us because the menu is as expansive as the building.

basket with two dinner rolls from Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

Finally we called our waitress back and placed our orders. But before our entrees arrived, we were brought two warm, oversized dinner rolls that were very reminiscent of the ones we had on our visit to Vincenzo’s.

I had waivered back and forth between two of the 13 options in the chicken and veal category before finally settling on the chicken Calabrese.

plate of spaghetti topped with chicken breasts and red sauce from Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

The dish included two large chicken breasts with mushrooms, green peppers and onions in a spicy Calabrese sauce. I had no idea what Calabrese sauce was, but the keyword was spicy so I decided to give it a try.

It was as advertised. The sauce definitely had heat to it, though it was more of a slow burn, one that built up with every bite instead of hitting you head-on. I enjoyed the flavor, but the sauce was runnier than I would have liked. Not knowing anything about Calabrese sauce, I have no idea what it normally looks like. I just prefer thicker tomato sauce with my pasta.

That said, the flavor was there. And it played well with the chicken. The mushrooms, peppers and onion were good additions as well.

bowl of Italian wedding soup from Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

All pasta entrees are served with your choice of garden salad, Caesar salad or cup of soup as an appetizer. On this day, there were three choices of soup and I went with my old stand-by at Italian restaurants: Italian wedding soup.

Mimmo’s version was among the better versions that I have tried. It did not have a lot of the signature mini meatballs, but it had enough that I did not feel cheated. Instead, the flavor came from a broth that was flavorful but not too salty.

Across the table, Julie had ordered one of her favorite Italian entrees, eggplant Parmigian with whole wheat linguini.

plate of chicken parmesan from Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

Her marinara sauce was much thicker, but the flavor and heartiness of her meal came from the heap of mozzarella that was on top of the eggplant. It was a good balance and a very enjoyable dish. Even the wheat linguini, which she had gotten on a whim, was a pleasant addition.

salad with thick shredded cheese and a cup of ranch dressing from Mimmo's Restaurant & Pizzeria

For her appetizer, Julie had chosen the simple garden salad. There wasn’t anything extraordinary about it. In fact, Julie wasn’t even able to finish her salad before the entrees had arrived. This same quick service was something we had experienced at Vincenzo’s.

Another similarity between the two restaurants is price. Though our bill was slightly less at Mimmo’s ($36 compared to $45), it was only because of our entree selections.

In all, the two restaurants were alike in many ways. The similarities in appearance were obvious, but it went deeper than that.

Both offered fast service and quick delivery of our meals. The prices are reasonable for large portions (we brought leftovers home from both restaurants).

Oh yeah, and the food was very good, too.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Excellent
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: Reasonable

290 Morgantown Rd
Reading, PA 19611

More From Berks County Eats


Windsor Inn



Italian Lunch & Dinner Reviews Soup

Review: 1 Potato Two – CLOSED

1 Potato Two at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market

Editor’s Note: 1 Potato Two is now closed. August 10, 2017 was the stand at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market. The location is now home to Sans Asian Food.

Berks County has never really been known for creativity – at least when it comes to food.

The Pennsylvania Dutch are not exactly the most adventurous eaters in the world either.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to introduce something new, something different, something unique.

Unique is the best word to describe the spudwiches at 1 Potato Two at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market.

The concept for 1 Potato Two began as a food truck in New Jersey. The best in the state, according to the USA Today article that hangs from one wall at the stand.

1 Potato Two Features a Rotating Menu of Spudwiches

(Almost) everything at 1 Potato Two is built around – you guessed it – potatoes. There are tater tots with multiple topping choices. There are potato balls, deep-fried bites filled with potato, meat and cheese. And then there are the spudwiches.

So what exactly is a spudwich?

It’s a sandwich, but with no bread. Instead, the filling is placed between two carved out potato halves.

It’s genius.

Over the weekend, I visited the stand with my friend Dennis, already a fan of the spudwich. We ordered our two spudwiches and waited for a few minutes while the potatoes and some of the ingredients took a quick bath in the deep fryer.

The selection of spudwiches rotate weekly, and there is quite the variety. I ordered the eggplant parmigiana while Dennis ordered the buffalo chicken.

baked potato stuffed with eggplant and mozzarella

Our spudwiches were delivered to our seats. “You’re nice guys so I’m going to leave you these,” said the cook as he laid down some extra napkins. They came in very handy.

My spudwich was fantastic. The fried eggplant was light and tender. The mozzarella and tomato sauce were nicely portioned. But the best part about it is the potato.

baked potato stuffed with eggplant and cheese

I could have eaten the potato by itself. Give me three or four of them, and it would be the best potato skin appetizer I have ever tried. But as part of the spudwich, it is actually very complementary to the other ingredients.

Now, I have to point out that it is greasy – the potato and eggplant having both come out fresh out of the fryer – so if that does not appeal to you, you probably won’t enjoy the spudwich. If you don’t mind a little fried food every now and then, this is right up your alley.

Dennis’ spudwich, I dare say, may have been better than mine. It was certainly more robust than my own, with chicken strips spilling out over the sides.

Baked potato with chicken wings

The chicken was delicious. I’m not a big fan of buffalo sauce, but Dennis allowed me a small piece and I was impressed.

What really worked – and what Dennis found to be the best part – was the combination of the buffalo chicken with the bacon. And the potato made for the perfect addition.

It was so good that he completely forgot about the cup of blue cheese on the side. Quite frankly, it didn’t need it.

Together, our two spudwiches were just short of $20 ($8.99 each). For me, the spudwich was hearty enough on its own that I didn’t need anything else for my lunch.

One other note: the challenge of dining at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market is seating. We were lucky to grab two of the four stools at 1 Potato Two’s counter. It was a win for us because the Saturday lunch rush makes it hard to find a seat in the Market’s main dining area.

1 Potato Two certainly brings a new perspective and a whole new idea to Berks County.

And it’s an idea that I can really get behind.

1 Potato Two
Fairgrounds Farmers Market
2934 N. Fifth Street Hwy
Reading, PA 19605

More From Berks County Eats


Sans Asian Food


Allgyer’s BBQ

Farmers Market Meals Reviews
bowl of spaghetti and meatballs in red sauce

La Cantina Italian Restaurant & Pub – CLOSED

sign for La Cantina Italian Restaurant

Editor’s Note: La Cantina is now closed. The restaurant closed its doors in early July 2021. After months of construction, a new restaurant – Doc & Bubba’s – opened in 2022.

Sometimes, the most interesting part of a restaurant discovery story is how you find them in the first place.

La Cantina, located along New Holland Road in the village of Knauers, is a place that I’ve passed countless times without ever giving it a second glance.

Now I’m a regular.

I started frequenting La Cantina on Thursday nights after a friend told me it was a venue for the Riverchasers Poker Tour – a free poker league that hosts events in bars and restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

The weekly poker events are held in the Pub, a smaller room located behind the main dining room. The Pub features a full bar and an assortment of four-seat tables and high-tops.

In the months since I have been going to La Cantina, I’ve tried many of the items on the menu. I am a big fan of La Cantina’s pizza. If you’re looking for a gourmet pie, this isn’t the place. If you’re looking for something with a little more greasy goodness, this is your place.

Of course you can get a full-size pie, but the pizzas are also available by the slice (always appreciated) and in personal 12″ versions.

meatball Parmesan sandwich with a side of fries

Also among my favorites is the meatball sub. It seems like such a simple thing – every Italian restaurant in the county has one – but I just really enjoyed La Cantina’s version.

Four large meatballs topped with cheese and sauce, lightly toasted: not much different than anywhere else. But these meatballs were well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

After weeks of pre-poker handheld meals, I asked Julie to join me for a sit-down meal.

The restaurant features two dining rooms. On the right is the smaller of the two. One wall is completely covered in family photos.

On the left side is the main dining room. There were only a few tables claimed on our visit and the two of us had room to spread out at a table for four.

salad with a cup of ranch dressing

La Cantina’s entrees are served with a starter salad. It was nothing remarkable, except for the fact that I found a tiny ice cube in my salad. I’m not sure what ingredient was on ice before arrival, but safe to say I wasn’t expecting it.

cup of tomato soup next to a basket of bread

A more redeeming dish is the homemade tomato soup. It was a creamy tomato soup that had just the right amount of herbs (basil chief among them). I would have gladly traded my salad for more of this delicious soup.

For my main entree, I went with the boring dish of spaghetti and meatballs with La Cantina’s homemade marinara sauce.

bowl of spaghetti and meatballs in red sauce

One look at it and I knew I would never be able to finish the whole thing. Three large meatballs topped the oversized bowl of pasta. A smattering of greens were scattered across the top of the dish for garnish – a nice touch to give a little character to the dish.

I have no complaints about the dish, though I found that I enjoyed the meatballs much more in the sandwich than on the pasta. I can’t say for sure what the difference was, but I could tell that it wasn’t quite the same.

The marinara sauce was good. It was thick and chunky, still holding the texture of the crushed tomatoes. With sauces like this, it sticks to the pasta in weird ways so some bites had plenty of sauces, others not enough.

eggplant Parmesan covered in cheese with a side of ziti with red sauce

Julie’s eggplant Parmesan was definitely a highlight of the meal. The breaded eggplant was tender and light. There was lots of cheese and plenty of sauce to compliment it.

Again, like my dish, there was no way that Julie would be able to finish this in one sitting so both of us had leftovers to take home after the meal.

On this night, our total bill was $36. When I’m on my own, I generally spend a little more than $10 for my sandwich, fries and iced tea.

Poker brought me into La Cantina for the first time. Good food and an attentive wait staff keeps me coming back every week.

You’ll know where to find me on Thursday nights.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Fair to Good
Price: Reasonable

La Cantina Family Restaurant & Pub
4312 New Holland Rd
Mohnton, PA 19540

More From Berks County Eats

Berks County Eats Review:

Doc & Bubba’s



Italian Reviews

Review: Sebastiano’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria

illuminated sign above a small door reads "Sebastiano's"

You could divide all of the restaurants in Berks County into two categories: those that strive to attract out-of-towners and those that cater to the locals.

My goal with Berks County Eats is to find the best of both. And one place that kept popping up as a local favorite is Sebastiano’s in Reiffton, a small Italian restaurant in a strip mall along Perkiomen Avenue.

I had heard good things about Sebastiano’s, but had also heard about the limited parking and seating. The parking lot was almost full when we arrived, but there was spaces.

There were no tables, however, but thankfully there was only one other group ahead of us. Because of the lack of space, there’s no hostess stand. Instead, a clipboard hung on the wall with a sign above that said “sign in.”

This was a first.

wall with a sign that says "Sebastiano's" and a gallery of assorted family photos

It honestly didn’t take long to be seated, only a few minutes before we were sat at one of about 15 tables.

Sebastiano’s could not fit another table in the room as space was tight between myself and the gentleman sitting at the table behind me.

Our waitress took our orders and offered us either a cup of soup or the salad bar with our meals. We both went salad bar (New Year’s resolutions).

salad bar with lettuce and various toppings

Salad bars feel like they belong more in a diner than an Italian restaurant, but I rolled with it. There was a nice selection, not overwhelming that included all the standards plus a few surprises like roasted red peppers.

While Julie and I worked through our salads, our waitress dropped off our garlic bread – six small slices of an Italian roll (the Conshohocken Italian Bakery boxes gave away the source). One of the slices was a little burnt, but the rest were good.

basket of garlic bread from Sebastiano's

Our wait to be seated hadn’t been long, but the wait for our food felt like an eternity for two hungry eaters. It was about 45 minutes from the time that we ordered until our entrees arrived.

In that time, we watched several tables empty and fill up and countless people come through to pick up their takeout orders. (Our waitress had stopped by once to top off our drinks).

When they did arrive, they were piping hot (a relief because for a brief moment we were afraid our dinners were just sitting on a table in the back waiting for someone to find them).

white bowl with rigatoni topped with a light red meat sauce with mushrooms

For my entree, I chose rigatoni with sauce ala Sebastiano’s, a red sauce with ground beef, bacon, mushrooms and cream.

I liked it, but I think it would have been better with a little more bacon. Every bite with the bacon had a nice smoky flavor that I thought really added to the dish. Without it, it was good, but essentially a rosé sauce with a few add-ins.

two large meatballs in a small white dish from Sebastiano's

Not wanting to stop there, I had also ordered a side of Sebastiano’s “famous” meatballs. This was easily the best thing that either of us ate. The meatballs were well seasoned and cooked perfectly. I wouldn’t say they were the best that I have ever had, but I would definitely get them again.

yellow plate with a crock of eggplant topped with cheese aside a pile of angel hair pasta with red sauce

For her meal, Julie opted for eggplant Parmesan with angel hair pasta. The eggplant was very good and very tender. It was sliced lengthwise so as to create long slices and instead of smaller, rounder ones.

The red sauce, the same as what used on the meatballs, was good – better with a little Parmesan cheese.

One thing that I have to say, Sebastiano’s does not skimp on the portions. Our meals left no room for dessert, and we each took half of our dinners home with us. And our total bill was only $25.

Sebastiano’s definitely has a loyal following among locals. There were many times when the waitress or the counter workers stopped talked to customers like family. Customers greeted each other as long-time friends, too.

They were friendly to us as well and served us a good meal. It’s not high-end Italian, but that’s not really the point. It’s a local pizza place and Italian restaurant with good food.

And that’s all it needs to be.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Fair
Ambiance: Good
Price: Very Reasonable

Sebastiano’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
3227 Perkiomen Ave
Reading, PA 19606

More From Berks County Eats


Sophia’s Italian Restaurant


Klinger’s on Carsonia

Lunch & Dinner Pizzerias Reviews

Review: Windsor Inn at Shillington

Lighted sign for the Windsor Inn Restaurant & Tavern with the words "Thursday Pasta Night"

The best meals are always the unexpected ones.

I had zero idea of what I was going to get last week when Julie and I visited the Windsor Inn at Shillington.

The only thing that I knew was that the owner’s daughter, Rachel, reached out to me over a year ago to come in and review the restaurant.

Fifteen months later, we were finally there. Better late than never.

corner fireplace with two mantles filled with antique cameras

I’m not going to lie. The inside is a little dive-y. We walked through the bar to a tired looking dining room. On the yellow walls were photographs from when the building was a doctor’s office in the 1950s. Behind me was a fireplace, it’s mantle lined with vintage cameras.

table for four beneath a quilted wall hanging

It wasn’t a busy night; there was only one other couple in the dining room and a handful of customers sitting at the bar when we arrived. Our waitress was doing double-duty, handling orders in both rooms with help from an assistant.

The waitress also happened to be Rachel, and she was more than happy to talk to us about the food: how it’s locally sourced whenever possible, how they make a different pasta in-house every day, and how they had in-season peaches for their martinis and margaritas.

peach margarita in glass with red sugar around the rim

The last one caught Julie’s attention. She nursed her peach margarita throughout the meal, leaving nothing but a little peach pulp at the end.

The name “Windsor Inn” certainly doesn’t scream Italian the way others do, but the menu certainly gave it away. Cioppino (mixed seafood simmered with tomato and wine) and carciofi (veal sautéed with artichokes, dried tomatoes, dill and cream) were among the unpronounceable dishes for a man with Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.

I also found out I have been pronouncing gnocchi wrong all my life. Apparently it’s not NOH-chee, it’s NYOK-ee. Who knew?

two meatballs covered in red sauce with fresh parsley leaves on top

We started our meal with something easy to pronounce: gigantic Windsor meatballs.

They were certainly big — gigantic is stretching it a little — but they were delicious. There is nothing like a homemade meatball from a real Italian kitchen. The hand-formed meatballs had plenty of nooks and crannies to grab the sauce that was just as good. What little sauce was left, I made sure to soak up with some bread so it didn’t go to waste.

two small metal bowls - one with grated Parmesan cheese, the other with red pepper flkes

Along with the meatballs came the optional Parmesan cheese and red pepper, the latter being made in-house. Our waitress warned me that because it was freshly made, it would be stronger than a typical red pepper. I ignored her warning and quickly found out she was right. Tread lightly with the pepper. It’s fantastic, but it is hot.

We were happy to have ordered the meatballs because the courses were slower to arrive because so many things were made from scratch and everything was beautifully prepared. Even the salads were crafted, not made.

Salads usually don’t make it into my reviews because more often than not, it’s nothing more than mixed greens with a cup of Kraft dressing. That’s not the case here. The restaurant was serving three homemade salad dressings so Julie and I each got to try a different one. I chose raspberry herb for mine; Julie chose garlic dill for hers.

salad with creamy dressing

I really like creamy salad dressings. The garlic dill was certainly that, having the consistency of a good ranch dressing but with the very distinct flavors of garlic and dill mixing together beautifully.

salad with vinaigrette dressing

My raspberry herb was also very enjoyable: a little puckery and a little sweet with fresh raspberries scattered throughout.

By this point, we were very excited to see our main courses, both of which were daily specials and highly recommended by our waitress and rightly so.

plate with a piece of stuffed eggplant topped with shaved ham and a side of flat pasta with red sauce

The stuffed eggplant, my choice for the night, was a beauty of a dish. It was almost a shame that I had to ruin it by digging in. The eggplant was stuffed with ricotta and peppers and topped with prosciutto. On the side was fresh made pasta with the house tomato sauce.

I absolutely loved it. The eggplant was cooked so it was perfectly tender. The ricotta and the prosciutto played extremely well together. And the pasta was delicious. Even the portion was perfect. While it looked small on the plate, it was just the right amount to be filling.

bowl with gnocchi and shrimp in a wine sauce

Julie’s bowl wasn’t quite as nice to look at, but it sure tasted good. She went with the shrimp and gnocchi. Julie likened it more to a gumbo than your expected pasta dish, with everything tossed in a nice broth-like sauce. It was a heartier meal than my own, but Julie managed to finish it.

Neither of us were really hungry for dessert, but I had overheard the dessert options when they were read to the other table and upon hearing the words “flaming peaches” I knew we would be getting dessert no matter what.

plate of pound cake topped with peaches and whipped cream and a rum sauce that has been lit on fire

It was a few minutes before the dish arrive: pound cake topped with mascarpone cheese and fresh peaches in Bacardi rum (with whipped cream and a cherry on top, of course), aflame upon delivery to our table.

Like two kids with trick candles on their birthday cake, we struggled to blow out the flames and dig in. Once we did get to it, it was good to the last drop. The pound cake had absorbed the melting cheese (and a lot of rum). The peaches were warm, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth good. I have absolutely no regrets about ordering it.

Even our final bill didn’t leave us with any regrets. It was about $65 for the two of us, three courses with two drinks (one non-alcoholic). I’ll gladly pay that for quality food.

The Windsor Inn at Shillington provided one of the most memorable meals of the past year for me. Before we left, we got a frequent customer card.

For every $15 you spend, you get a stamp. Five stamps equals $10 off your next meal. We’re three-fifths of the way there.

I plan to fill out that card sooner than later.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: Reasonable

Windsor Inn at Shillington
38 W. Lancaster Ave
Shillington, PA 19607


Rangoli Indian Street Food


Eve’s Thai Kitchen

Dessert Finer Dining Italian Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Panevino – CLOSED

exterior of a large building with a red awning and the words "Panevino Rustic Italian Cuisine"

Editor’s Note: Panevino now operates as a special event venue and caterer. In 2021, Panevino moved to a new location in Wernersville where they continue to focus on catering.

In the early years of Berks County Eats (circa 2012-13), blog posts were sporadic.

For those two years, I only did 12 restaurant reviews. Two of those restaurants have closed, two of them have moved. The other eight continue on, and for me, they are simply noted by an “x” on my spreadsheet of Berks County restaurants.

In May of 2013, I checked Panevino off my list. Three years and three months have passed since Julie and I visited the Italian restaurant on the corner of Second and Washington, across from the Reading Movies 11 & IMAX.

Thirty-nine months later, it was time to go back.

Panevino is in a tough location. It doesn’t have the visibility of Penn Street, and so far, it remains the only business among several empty storefronts on the first floor of the Albert Boscov Plaza.

On the plus side, Panevino customers can enjoy free parking in the garage above it.

Both Julie and I were surprised to see all of the open tables when we arrived for our reservations. It began to fill up as we ate, but the spacious dining room still looked empty.

Our waitress dropped off our menus, which were different than what I found on Panevino’s website. Slightly pared down, all of the entrees now come with an appetizer and dessert included so there is no excuse for leaving hungry.

three pita wedges with a cup of hummus

Before our apps arrived, we were treated to an excellent sampling of parmesan pita bread with white bean hummus. It was compliments of the chef, not something available on the menu, but it was delicious. The small portion left us wanting more.

plates with two different kinds of bread and a teardrop shaped bowl of oil for dipping

Instead, we were served our choice of bread: focaccia (Julie), ciabatta (me) or asiago cheese (odd bread out) with olive oil for dipping. I would have liked a little bit of seasoning in the oil, but the breads were good, especially the focaccia.

three plates, each with an arancini (fried Italian rice ball) atop a bed of cream sauce with mushrooms

Up next were our appetizers. For me, it was the arancini di riso, three large fried balls of rice, meat, peas and cheese, served with mushroom sauce.

There was definitely plenty of rice and a nice amount of meat, but I don’t remember seeing many peas. The mushroom sauce was good, if a little thin. The rice definitely soaked it up well, though.

bowl with bright red crab chowder

Julie, on the other hand, was a huge fan of her spicy crab and clam chowder. Not too spicy, the chowder was loaded with tomato, potatoes, a little bit of celery and plenty of clam and crab. There was never an empty spoonful, and each one was delicious.

She was also a big fan of her eggplant parmesan.

boat-shaped bowl with a slice of lasgana

The battered eggplant was layered with Grand Padano (comparable to Parmesan) and mozzarella cheeses. The eggplant was cut so thin that it almost disguised itself as lasagna.

Everything worked together – the eggplant, cheese and a very good tomato sauce – for a delicious dish.

rigatoni topped with sliced sausage and shredded parmesan cheese

I decided to go with the rigatoni. I normally wouldn’t have gone with something so boring, but the roasted red pepper sauce sold me on it.

The sweet Italian sausage was very good, but I wanted just a little more red pepper in my sauce. It was there, but it didn’t distinguish it enough from a traditional tomato sauce.

It was a good meal, though I was left wanting something just a little more to make it feel special.

Dessert definitely did not disappoint.

bowl of peach and blueberry cobbler overflowing with fruit filling

I was torn between the crème brulee and the peach and blueberry cobbler, finally settling on the cobbler. I made the right decision.

The blueberry-heavy sauce had bubbled over the sides of the mug with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Slices of peach were scattered beneath the puffy pastry topping.

It was just a little sweeter than I would have liked, but it was still an amazing ending to my meal.

slice of New York cheesecake drizzled with berry sauce with two strawberries and whipped cream

Julie’s sweet treat was New York cheesecake with orange sauce, garnished with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream. It was delicious, especially with that hint of citrus throughout.

martini glass next to a martini shaker on a table

That wasn’t the only sweet treat that my wife enjoyed during our visit. Her chocolate raspberry martini lasted her through the meal.

And for two entrees, two appetizers, a pair of desserts and a martini, we still paid only $50. We’ve paid more than twice as much for three-course meals other places.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Panevino is not fine dining. They try hard, but it’s not the same as a meal at Dan’s at Green Hills or Heirloom.

Still, it was a nice night out in an underappreciated restaurant.

More From Berks County Eats


Mom Chaffe’s Cellarette


Windsor Inn

Dessert Finer Dining Italian Lunch & Dinner Reviews