110 South Churton Street
Panciuto is an upscale eatery with Italian flair on the main strip of Hillsborough. They display the names of the farms they source from proudly on the tables. It’s a cozy space with brick and cream walls, dark wood, a fireplace, and a subtle, curvy element in the design of the offset front section and the red chair backs. The lighting is mellow yet not dim, and tables are set with flowers that end up by your plate as the meal progresses. An odd portrait of Mark Twain hangs by the hostess stand, and we pieced together that the chef/owner is also an artist and it was likely done by him. Thus, Mark Twain in an Italian restaurant is somehow appropriate. As I was still cameraless for this dinner, one of my companions let me use her cellphone for the pictures you’ll see here.
The meal got off to a great start with a round of complimentary prosecco in tiny hurricane glasses. Offering little freebies like that always puts your diners in a good mood, just in case anyone wanted to know. The bread served was focaccia cut into thin slivers. The crust was delightfully crunchy but too salty and a tad too greasy for my taste—neither of which stopped me from eating two slices. It was served with an herb butter.by