Monday, March 28, 2011

Guest Post: Gia Pronto

At Philadelphia Stock Exchange
20th and Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 568-1994

Working in the northwestern section of Center City (specifically Logan Square) often leaves me 'wanting for more' when it comes to selecting a good lunch spot. Heck, it's also difficult to find a good place for dinner and drinks. It's just so "corporate" and it pains me to say that TGI Friday's roof deck might be my first choice for summer time happy hour, considering everything else surrounding it is so middle-of-the-road. But that's another story - I'm writing about a pretty decent sandwich/salad/coffee joint that offers some of the highest quality paninis in the city. 

Gia Pronto is located in the heart of the bustling business sector and often has lines out the door, especially in the summertime when Christo's Falafel Cart has people rounding the corner waiting for his delectable fair. With little time in my busy lunch schedule to wait over 30 minutes for a falafel platter, I often find my way across Market to the beckoning little man on a Vespa.

I've not tried the salads here, but that seems like the preferred choice for most of the suits looking for a healthier option. I prefer more substance in my lunch. They have a small refrigerated case displaying all of their pre-assembled panini sandwiches for the day. Often they run out, so it's good to get there before 1 o'clock, when inventory starts to look pretty bleak.

My sandwich of choice is the Panino Prosciutto which has Imported Prosciutto di Parma with fresh mozzarella and a basil pesto. It's worth the 8-10 minute wait. They always press it to perfection with bread that absorbs the pesto oil and gets a nicely browned crisp on the outer edges. Thinly sliced meat is piled up inside and all of the ingredients are fresh and simple - making it simply delicious.

A recent addition to my list of favorites here is the Free-Range Buffalo Chicken Panini, with its grilled free-range chicken breast, tomatoes, blue cheese, cheddar, romaine lettuce & buffalo-flavored hot sauce. They do a fantastic job of putting just the right combination of ingredients between every 2 slices of artisan bread. Yes, I said "artisan" because it's true.

Did I mention how good their soups are? Every last one of their [what I thought were house-made, but are actually made by Hale and Hearty in NYC (they're so damn good I didn't think any soup could possibly travel so well!!!)] soups - only 1-2 kinds a day at this location - are delicious when paired with the warm pressed sandwiches. By no means is it a 'cheap lunch' but it's one that is full of quality ingredients and one that won't leave you too full for your afternoon tasks.

1 comment:

Angela said...

the soup is actually not housemade unless they changed it. It's from Hale and Hearty in NYC. The shrimp chowder is to die for. I wish they were open on the weekend so I could get some of the soup!