Though Gia Fracassetti’s eponymous restaurant satisfies just about every craving from fritto misto to short ribs, a light salad to saltimbocca (after all, what is more crave-worthy than classic Italian?), there was something missing.
“We didn’t really have a bar where people could stop in and have a drink,” says Fracassetti, who lives among four generations of family in Little Italy. So when a sliver of space became available next door, she says, “We couldn’t pass on it.”
While Pane e Vino shares a wall with Café Gia, the place possesses its own personality. Where the original is known for its fanciful murals reminiscent of 1920s café life, the new bar shimmers with a contemporary DIY elegance. Large gilt-framed mirrors face the bar counter, which is topped in vintage-pressed tin ceiling tiles that have been burnished and epoxied, trimmed in amber glass.
The simple menu offers small, sharable plates like succulent oversized meatballs, pizza, a bright Caprese salad with fresh mozz and a charcuterie board. There’s a handcrafted cocktail menu and a selection of moderately priced wines. Best of all, it’s a place to drop in and watch the O’s game.
“We don’t want to just replicate Café Gia,” says Fracassetti. “It has to have its own vibe.” 408 S. High St., 410-685-3300 —M.T.