The last time I visited Panera Bread (one of the branches in Miami) I promised myself that I would never go back because one of the managers told me that I could not take photos. This was back in 2008. I decided to give it another try yesterday.
Panera Bread is a restaurant chain with more that 1,900 bakery-cafes in the U.S. and Canada. It is very popular in Miami – the 2 branches I have visited are always full of people and long lines. The service is cordial and fast. They have free Wi-Fi, the venues are warm and comfortable but on my last visit, I was not loving the food.
We ordered the macaroni & cheese and a broth bowl. I was really looking forward to the bowl because it sounded exotic and different. It was the Soba Noodle Bowl with Chicken made with soba buckwheat noodles, fresh spinach, napa cabbage blend, roasted mushroom and onion blend, sesame seeds and cilantro in an umami soy-miso broth. Well, the disappointment was deep, way below what was expected; the “umami soy-miso broth” was nothing but very salty brown water and the chicken was on the dry side.
The Mac & Cheese was at least a step below the boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I told my daughter to eat it as we had paid for it and it is not nice to waste food.
Don’t get me wrong, the bread, sandwiches and pastries are awesome at Panera Bread. Some other items on the menu are just not to our taste.
Lesson learnt? I should have kept my own promise and not go back.