Lina’s Italian Market
- 2202 Centre St. N.E.
- Hours of operation: Weekdays 9 a.m.-7 p.m., weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Rating: ***
- Reservations: No
Picking up Italian groceries becomes much more pleasurable when you can sit down and enjoy a grilled panini, hot cappuccino and sweet gelato at Lina’s Italian Market.
Using meats and cheeses from Lina’s deli, half a dozen paninis are on offer for less than $8. The tantalizing Calabrese mixes hot salami with provolone and spicy marinated eggplant, while a roasted pork sandwich is also popular.
Basic thin-crust pizzas ($5.95) — from pepperoni and cheese to anchovy and olive — the size of dinner plates are heated to order. The underlying tomato sauce is sweet but overall, the pizza is a tad bland.
Seeing kids around me gleefully sink their teeth into creamy pastries, I end my lunch with a cannoli. The fried pastry tube stuffed with ricotta and chocolate is satisfyingly crunchy, sweet and creamy.
Ordering can be chaotic — separate lines for sandwiches, pizzas and gelato; one line for paying — but staff are friendly.