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Elegant dining is in the bag at this eatery

(ran TP edition)

One of the cool things about living near Old Hyde Park Village is having so many good restaurants to choose from if you don't feel like cooking. Despite the overabundance of pasta-and-pizza places nearby, it didn't take long for the small and elegant Wine Exchange to become one of our favorites.

We had lounged on the restaurant patio several times, stuffing ourselves with the complimentary soft, fresh bread and delicious pasta-based dishes, but it had never dawned on us to try the Wine Exchange for takeout. To our delight, we discovered that the food is just as pleasing at home as it is in the restaurant dining room.

Because we visited on a busy night and didn't call ahead, it took about 25 minutes for our order to arrive. A polite bartender apologized for the wait (our fault, really) and handed us two plastic bags with our meals and two loaves of that tasty bread tucked into foam containers. The order traveled well during the drive home with little leakage and a heavenly scent.

The portions were quite generous. My husband was able to eat only half of his Pasta Carbonara, a mix of bacon, ham, onion and a savory sauce on spinach fetuccine. (For a little bit extra, his came with chicken.) A picky eater from way back, he pronounced the dish "very good."

Though I ordered only a half portion of seafood alfredo, it was plenty. Creamy and prepared with just the right amount of shrimp, scallops and sauce, it was simply yummy.

The portobello mushroom made a tempting side treat, layered with spinach, cheese and a slice of tomato. Rounding out the meal was our bread, thoughtfully packaged with small containers of butter.


The Wine Exchange Inc.

1611 W Swann Ave., Tampa

Phone: 254-9463

Hours: Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. seven days a week; dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; dinner served until 11:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Consumers: Two adults

What we got: Pasta carbonara with chicken, seafood alfredo, portobella mushroom appetizer

What it cost: $24.98

Time it took: 25 minutes (shorter if you call ahead)

Pay with: Cash, major credit cards