- Dress code: Casual
* Click here for rating key
Paradise Pantry Restaurant Review: Patrons may seem quite happy. And why not? Quality food, wine-friendly morsels and a gourmet market are rarities in casual Ventura, so to find all three tucked neatly into a downtown space … well, life just got a little better for local epicures. But chef and co-owner Kelly Briglio is no stranger to this spot. The Pantry’s 2013 opening marked a full circle: a return to the location of her first Ventura restaurant, Westside Cellar. Partner Tina Thayer, who managed that restaurant, now runs the front of the house at Paradise Pantry. The duo puts a laid-back spin on an otherwise gourmet experience. A weekly mac ‘n’ cheese special opens the door for chef Briglio to expand upon her robust, Parmesan-crusted, three-cheese version of the comfort food classic. Soups are made in-house daily and may feature fresh fish in a spicy broth of wine, saffron and tomato. A panini-style Italian sandwich combines truffle cheese, speck and arugula. Meat samplers, pickle plates, artisan cheeses and pâtés --- from smoked salmon with capers and roasted shallots to duck and pork with orange --- add immeasurably to the wine-tasting experience. And if you find one you like, you can pick up a bottle in the adjacent wine shop.