You will definitely stay in the black if you head to In the Red Wine Bar & Café in the Phinney Ridge area of Seattle. The best deals are the $5 sandwich-and-soup/salad combos.

You will definitely stay in the black if you head to In the Red Wine Bar & Cafe in the Phinney Ridge area of Seattle.

Owners Brian Folino and Chad Campbell developed a menu and wine list that was simple and inexpensive, yet still filling and elegant.

“We wanted it to feel like it was happy hour all the time,” Campbell said.

With a wine list that ranges from $5-$8 a glass and a menu with almost everything priced between $5-$8, your wallet will leave you feeling very happy.

The menu: New chef Nikki Presley’s menu does have three entrees ($12-$19), but the best deals are the $5 sandwich-and-soup/salad combos. Pick between one whole or two half portions of a grilled panini sandwich (turkey breast, Black Forest ham or grilled veggies), soup of the day or a salad (tossed green, Caesar or beets and blue cheese). Throw in an appetizer if you need a little more and you’ve got yourself a full meal for $11-$13. It’s also family friendly with a kids menu that includes chicken nuggets, grilled cheese and pizza for $5 each.

What to write home about: Two items that stood out on the appetizer menu were the bacon-wrapped dates, served on a bed of arugula, and goat cheese to dip them in, and the grilled pear and goat cheese bruschetta with a balsamic reduction.

The setting: A nice change from the stuffy, trendy wine bars of Belltown. It’s not dark and chic; it’s bright with warm colors and antique furniture.

Summing up: Two combos (grilled turkey breast panini with a cup of minestrone and Black Forest ham panini with a tossed green salad) for $5 each, along with four appetizers — blue cheese and fig jam bruschetta ($7), warm brie pastry puffs filled with a fruit compote ($8), grilled pear and goat cheese bruschetta ($7) and bacon-wrapped dates ($8) — came out to $44 plus tip and were more than enough to happily satisfy three people’s appetites.

Jon Fisch: 206-464-8326 or jfisch@seattletimes.com