Food and wine pairings allow people to diversify their palates in one day, a feat previously attainable only by cramming five frozen dinners and a variety pack of juice boxes into a blender. Savor expanding horizons with today's Groupon: for $31, you get an Italian dinner for two at La Panetteria in Bethesda (up to a $63.80 value). The dinner for two includes:
- Two entrees (up to a $23.95 value each)
- Two glasses of house wine (a $7.95 value each)
Amid verdant hanging vines in its sun-drenched indoor atrium, La Panetteria populates plates with a range of classic Italian cuisine forged from homemade pasta and fresh meat and seafood. Dining teams start their engines with a lap-napkin flourish as they delve into scaloppini alla piccata, which drapes tender milk-fed veal in a lemon, butter, and caper sauce before crowning it with succulent mushroom caps. The oceanic explosion of the frutti di mare—or fruits of the sea— merges shrimp, squid, clams, scallops, sea kumquats, and mussels atop al dente linguini, topping it with either red or white sauce. Scratch-made pastas come in every shape and size with gluten-free linguini available for the wheat-wary, and every entree arrives alongside a crisp salad for pre-meal palate prep. Entree choices get flavor-bolstering balance with a glass of house wine, with cabernet sauvignon and chianti pairing perfectly with hearty meats, whereas pinot grigio and chardonnay complement lighter fare such as pasta, seafood, and marshmallow Peeps.
Traditional Tuscan archways provide elegant passage to La Panetteria's range of distinctive dining rooms. The atrium edges its whitewashed stucco walls with dark brick accents, framing a mélange of colorful paintings that beg for scraps when the waiter's back is turned, and other areas lavish guests with comfortable leather booths and rustic wooden awnings.
Resting in the heart of Old Italy for more than 25 years, La Panetteria features white stucco walls, ceramic-tile floor, and hanging baskets that make it resemble an Old World eatery. Guests seated in the restaurant's indoor atrium enjoy a sunlit dining atmosphere as they savor the freshly baked bread and northern and southern Italian dishes placed before them atop checkered tablecloths. The subjects of the restaurant's period paintings look on enviously as diners dig into homemade pastas, milk-fed veal cutlets, and piping-hot pizzas. All of La Panetteria's entrees are carefully prepared to order, with any dishes not meeting patron's exact instructions taken to the street and thrown into a passing convertible.