Chef Sharron Barshishat is a classically trained chef and loves Italian cuisine. He loved it so much, he moved to Florence, Italy to live and learn as much as he could about this romantic and locally-sourced cuisine. In 2013, Chef Sharron opened Paninoteca Maggio at City Place in Santa Ana, CA across from MainPlace. “Paninoteca” means sandwich shop and “Maggio” is the street that Chef Sharron lived on while in Florence. Paninoteca Maggio began to outgrown its space very quickly. In February 2015, Paninoteca Maggio found a new home a couple blocks south of 4th Street, which has come alive with innovative restaurants, a farmers’ market, and entertainment.
Chef Sharron loves Segafredo coffee and is the only restaurant on the West Coast to serve it. Macchiato is espresso with foam. It tastes just like it would in Italy. The espresso is thick, creamy, and powerful. The foam is luxurious and blankets the espresso lovingly. Rating: 5/5
Arancini are deep-fried mozzarella risotto balls served with marinara and pecorino. The arancini are huge! The serving is ample to share. The outside is crispy and golden brown. Break them open and steam begins to rise from the hot, creamy risotto inside. The mozzarella in the middle is hot and gooey. The marinara is sweet and herbaceous with slight acidity. It would be great on pasta (order Spaghetti Pomodoro if you want more). Rating: 4.8/5
Toscana Panini is porchetta, roasted potatoes, arugula, and lemon aioli layered on ciabatta. The outside of the bread is perfectly grilled by the press – making it crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The porchetta is so tender and juicy, it just melts like “pork” butter in your mouth. The potatoes taste like they have been roasted in the pork juices and are soft and buttery. The portion is huge and ample to share or take home for another meal. The layered flavors work really well together for the perfect sandwich. Rating: 5/5
Fusilli Bolognese is slow cooked red wine meat ragu, marinara, arugula, and topped with shaved parmesan. The slow cooking of the ragu is rich with flavor from the wine, carrot, celery, herbs and meat. Fusilli is an excellent vehicle to capture the symphony of flavors in each bite. It has a little bit of heat to it, but nothing uncomfortable. Rating: 5/5
If you want to try an authentic taste of Italy without paying for a plane ticket, make your next stop Paninoteca Maggio!
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
304 S Main St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Hours: Monday through Wednesday from 6:30am to 3pm; Thursday and Friday from 6:30am to 3pm and 5:30pm to 9pm; Saturday from 8am to 3pm and 5:30pm to 9pm; Closed on Sunday