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Dec 8, 2006 08:36 PM

any reports on panciuto or bonne soiree?

i hate to admit it, but i was looking at msn and they offered a rating of the best new restaurants across the country... that's not what i hate to admit, but here it comes... they forwarded me to citysearch(yuck) and two of the new restaurants mentioned were bonne soiree of chapel hill, and panciuto in hillsborough. the comments raved about these two restaurants, but i want a hound to recommend it before i drop my hard-earned cheese. the more i look, bonne soiree sounds great... but i haven't heard anything about panciuto on this site, so i'll wait on that one. i did hear the pastas and breads are made in-house, so hopefully it's done right. citysearch sucks, but it's friday, and i'm bored... i promise i don't endorse it!!!!

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      1. there are a couple of recs on here for bonne soiree, including my own. that place is righteous. very old school, but beautifully executed. great room, great wine list... high marks all around.
        haven't been to panciuto, but the menu looks cool... i'd love to hear any reports myself!

        1. We've been to panciuto 3 times now since they've opened. I can't write a real complete review right now, but they're good and approaching very good. I can't compare it to bonne soiree since we haven't made it there yet. They're clearly the best restaurant I've been to in northern Orange County -- but the competition is fairly weak in that area. I'd rate them above Tupelo's or Saratoga Grill, but not by a mile. The ambience and decor is nice in a reserved way, but not striking. The food was uniformly quite good with flashes of even better -- presentation was nice, the pasta appropriately toothy, sauces tasty and not over-spiced (or under-). There was one seafood pasta dish I absolutely adored. Can't speak to dessert. The wine list was appropriate, not large but well chosen and not overpriced by restaurant standards. They give a little free hit of prosecco as a starter. The service is good but not prescient in the way that great waiters are. If this all sounds positive but not glowing I guess that's about right -- I am very happy they opened because I live near there and we don't always want to drive down to Provence or over to Vin Rouge or our other local faves of long standing, and so they're certainly good enough for me to try to keep them in business. But they do seem to lack that special spark, ya know? I have also not yet seen them have a foie gras - based dish, or truffles, or any of my other Special Weaknesses. Next time I go back I'll try to have a real review.

          1. I've been to Pancuito once, and thought it was pretty good. My honest opinion is that I've been to comprable restaurants in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and think you can find better in these areas. For Hillsborough, though, I think this place is a great addition. I had a crab and lentil salad, which was pretty good. I also had pasta with shrimp and calamari, which again was pretty good. Nothing I had was excellent. However, my date loved his food. He had a sort of ravioli, and really enjoyed it. Neither of us were thrilled with dessert- I had a chocolate polenta cake, and he had an apple crisp sort of thing. Our bill was $125, and for that, I can think of other places I'd rather go. However, it's worth trying if you're in the area. Hope this helps!