Cafe Panini was making proper Italian sandwiches before most Americans knew how to pronounce fo-cac-cia. Don’t be fooled by all the new dressed-up chain delis claming to sell panini. Most of what they have for sale has been hermetically sealed in a refrigerator for God knows how long. If you’re looking for a good panino — that’s the singular — then head directly for Trumpetvine Square in downtown Berkeley. The folks at Cafe Panini make the sandwiches from scratch every day on the premises, and they taste fantastic. The hot sandwiches, bubbly with cheese, are sprinkled with thinly sliced basil leaves and sun-dried tomatoes, which lend them a delectable piquancy. The tuna melt is reinvented here with loads of capers and dill, and the results are wonderful. The cold sandwiches are nicely appointed with quality pastrami, good mustard, and seeded Semifreddi’s rolls. The cafe also makes some terrific soups and a chewy, dark-chocolate walnut cookie that’s not to be missed. If you can’t decide on which sandwich to order, just point to a number on the board: You can’t go wrong; every panino is divino.
5095 Telegraph Ave., Building A, Oakland, 510-652-7401