Chain Restaurants

Panera: Pretty Poor


Chain Restaurants 80

Panera: Pretty Poor

Lee by the Sea | Dec 30, 2006 07:03 AM

Our first visit to a new local Panera was a bad meal. We used some direct-mailed coupons so we were only out $11. It wasn't busy; the food was fresh but dismal.

The pizza was atrocious--a thin, partial spread of mixed white cheeses on reheated cracker bread. It shouldn't truthfully be called pizza. The "Caesar" dressing was so bland it could have been called "Ranch" or "Salad Cream". The "Asian" salad was pretty awful--no flavor at all in the watery dressing, and instead of the decent, crunchy croutons of the Caesar there were a few Rice-Krispies-like things. The smallish half-sandwich used pressed turkey; fresh turkey is available, piled high, at about the same price half a block away. The best item was the whole grain bread that accompanied the side salad. It was toothy, flavorful, and fresh, but no match for La Brea Bakery, Il Fornaio, and Buona Forchetta loaves on local market shelves, fresh daily and better for less.

Bottom line: Starbucks with low-grade institutional food and poor value for money.

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