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DINING OUT: Magnifico Panini

Local is the byword for a new panini place that’s just opened on 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights.

Magnifico Panini, at the corner of 85th Street, was opened by two local sons – Gianfranco Generoso and Primo Cassarino, both Xaverian grads – earlier this month, and the pair has made a point of sourcing their ingredients in the neighborhood, with bread coming from Cammareri Brothers, fresh mozzarella from Lioni’s, and various provisions from D. Coluccio & Sons.

“We want to be known as a sandwich spot: Neighborhood kids making a neighborhood place,” explained manager Brittaney D’Acquisto, adding that everyone is welcome, from local seniors to kids walking home from school.

“We want a place where people can feel comfortable and where everyone knows your name, just like the neighborhood,” she said.

The sandwiches we sampled – the eatery’s specialties — were top-notch. With 11 different fillings, and a variety of add-ins, the choice is broad but not overwhelming. The tasty concoctions can also be put on a brick oven hero or in a wrap.

One of us enjoyed the Prosciutto with Mozzarella & Arugula ($10) served on a toasted brick oven roll. The thin slices of meat were delicate and tender, its saltiness contrasting with the creaminess of the mozzarella and the tangy bite of the arugula, as well as a sweet-tart balsamic dressing.

The Grilled Vegetable Panini ($8.50) combined eggplant, zucchini and red onion, bathed in balsamic vinegar dressing. The combination was sweet and tender, with the toasted brick oven roll adding a complementary crunch.

The other of our pair went bananas for the Roast Beef with Mozzarella ($9). Served warm, it reminded us of a sandwich from Brennan & Carr. The warm beef melded with the buttery mozz and the brick-oven roll provided a hearty contrast.

We also loved the Mortadella with Mozzarella and Tomatoes ($9.75). The mortadella was beautifully, thinly sliced with creamy mozz and tomatoes on top. A sprinkle of balsamic vinegar provided a tart sweetness. Paired with the mozz and tomato it had a very summery feel – we felt like we should be eating it on the beach!

One of us washed down our savory sandwiches with some freshly brewed Iced Tea ($3.75 for a large), which was unsweetened but totally tasty and refreshing – perfect for a warm spring day. We also took back to the office a lovely Iced Coffee ($3 for large), which was rich and came just how we like it.

The restaurant also prepares daily specials, which range from lasagna to meatloaf to sausage and peppers. The day we visited, the special was cauliflower fritters and broccoli fritters (three for $1), whose crispy, fried-batter exterior contrasted delightfully with the tender veggies inside. The fritters were sprinkled with bright green shards of fresh parsley, adding sprightliness and savor.

On weekends, the eatery opens early to serve up breakfast. Dishes include bagels, eggs and pancakes with fresh fruit. An espresso machine is on its way, along with ices and desserts for the summer.

So stroll in and enjoy a panini served with a smile!

Magnifico Panini

8424 13th Avenue

Telephone: 718-759-1700

Fax: 718-759-1702

Free delivery

Party platters available

Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sundays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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