Bottega del Vino



7 East 59th Street bet. Fifth & Madison Avenues

You can really work up an appetite while shopping—or, in my case, window-shopping. When hunger strikes in the Barneys/Bergdorf territory, I like to waltz into the cozy front room of Bottega del Vino for a panino and a capuccino. The ones here are super special and are a world away from the grill-marked panini you'd find at the typical deli, with their generic fillings, like pesto chicken.

Along with its sister restaurant Via Quadronno, this place shares the most interesting panini combinations I've ever come across. Their "award-winning specialty", as denoted on the menu, is the Non Ti Scordar Di Me, which has a smoky, pungent mix of speck, brie, and påté. If that sounds too complicated, they also offer simpler one-note versions that contain just mortadella or just prosciutto.

Given its location, which is around the corner from Cipriani's and Sirio, you might think it's one of those expensive hoity-toity spots where a plate of tomato, basil, and mozzarella will set you back $38. Quite the contrary. You'll easily be able to get away with a lovely afternoon lunch for under $20—or less. If you're lucky and happen to unleash a little charm around Paolo, who's one of the owners, perhaps you may be surprised with a complimentary tiramisu.