As a teenager, Giancarlo Anselmi learned the craft of making breads and pastries in his hometown of Verona, Italy. Combining Old World techniques and generations-old recipes with an impressive knowledge of baking's chemical processes, he opened a thriving bakery with his brother in Verona. As Anselmi considered expanding the bakery, he and his wife took a vacation to San Diego and fell in love with the city. At that point, Pan Bon, meaning "good bread," came to life in America's Finest City.
Anselmi found a culinary partner in Chef Riccardo Brentegani, who creates traditional Italian specialties to complement Anselmi's breads and pastries. Brentegani's modern take on classic dishes such as Pappardelle Porcini e Coniglio, pasta served with rabbit and porcini mushroom ragout, and Guance del Conte, a Veronese dish of braised beef cheek in Amarone wine sauce, makes Pan Bon stand out in Little Italy.
"I enjoy sharing my food with new people and a new culture, and learning to incorporate traditional American flavors into the cooking," Anselmi said. Display cases and a coffee bar near the eatery's entryway invite on-the-go visitors to enjoy Italian food items, baked goods and pastries. Just a few steps further into the restaurant, diners will be treated to a true Old World Italian experience in a contemporary European-inspired setting, complete with a modern demonstration kitchen. Pan Bon also offers a scenic event space on the upper mezzanine, which is perfect for private parties.
In celebration of the holidays, Pan Bon will offer special prix fixe menus in addition to the regular menu on December 24, 25 and 31. Each dish on the holiday menus will highlight an Italian specialty traditionally served for Christmas or New Year's.
Pan Bon is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Anselmi encourages guests to visit the restaurant for "the full Pan Bon experience," but those in a hurry can also pick up salads, slices of pizza, bite-sized pastries or sandwiches served on house made bread at the front display.
1450 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. panbon.us