Wow, I was very surprised with how amazing Panera Bread was! I’ve heard from friends that Panera Bread was amazing, but I never expected to fall in love with it that much. It was so great that I actually went to the same location for food twice in one day. It was entirely coincidental (well, not really considering that every choice we made is a choice), but I loved it so much that I dined there twice in one day. That’s unheard of! Especially for me, a foodie that loves to go to new restaurants all the time now because of my food blog.
It all started because I was meeting up with two members of the international expansion team from a social network site called Zomato. I chose Panera Bread as the location of choice because I was going to be in the Yonge & Dundas location that afternoon for a musical with a friend and had never tried Panera Bread before. I love how this location of Panera Bread is two levels of awesomeness. The lower level has fewer seating than the top level, but it is so clean and modern inside. There is a huge menu board where you can clearly see what to order. They have a “Pick 2” option where you can pick 2 things for a set price. They also have a huge array of baked goods on the side: Lots of breads, pastries, muffins, cookies, etc. It was beautifully set out!
Since it was my first time to Panera Bread, I didn’t know that after placing your order, you receive a plastic tracking device. You take this device and put it on the table whenever you’re sitting and within several minutes, there is someone who brings the food to your table. What! That is so high tech!! I was so amazed and impressed. It was flawless. Also, I liked how the cashier asked for my name so that it made the whole dining experience more personalized… sort of like how Starbucks does it.
For lunch, I ordered a broccoli cheddar soup, smokehouse turkey panini, and a French baguette. I had a choice between choosing a French baguette, a bag of chips, or an apple. The French baguette appealed to me immediately for some reason although I was a little disappointed with it because it was kind of hard and dry. It wasn’t toasted or warm either. I really, really enjoyed the broccoli cheddar soup though! It was full of broccoli and really creamy and dreamy cheddar. Mmm, I loved it so much. The smokehouse turkey panini was a little disappointing too; I expected it to have a lot of turkey slices layered in the panini but there were only a few slices. It wasn’t terrible; I just had really high expectations for their panini.
I love how they have really fast and easy-to-connect-to Internet here at this location. What is it with restaurants that make you ask for their network password before you can connect to their Internet. When you don’t have a password enabled network and where its network name is clearly “PANERA”, it makes connecting to free wifi so much easier and faster. I loved it. Their chairs and booths are so darn comfortable too!
So after Diana and I finished the musical that afternoon, we wanted a place to eat and chat. I suggested Panera Bread since I wanted a salad and it was, again, a nice comfortable place to dine at.
This time, I chose the Fuji apple chicken salad plus a creamy tomato soup and an apple for the side. I liked the Fuji apple chicken salad! The chicken was sliced and not that flavourful but the salad itself was simple and I liked it. There were dried Fuji apple slices on the top of the salad. The creamy tomato soup wasn’t as delicious as the broccoli cheddar soup, but it was still really hearty and thick. The small apple was crunchy and fresh. 🙂
Diana chose the “summer faves” Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad with the Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread Sandwich with an apple side. Her order looked delicious, especially the Mediterranean chicken flatbread. Yum!
I seriously loved how quiet and casual the atmosphere was at Panera Bread. I was amused with the tracking device and how flawless the service was. You can bet that I’ll be back at Panera Bread for sure in the future. I wonder if their other locations are just as nice? No wonder this chain restaurant is all over the place; they know how to satisfy customers!