Trattoria al Forno Dinner

May 2015 Trip Review

We then had some time to unpack, relax, and then get ready for our dinner at the Boardwalk’s newest restaurant…

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For those unfamiliar with Trattoria al Forno, this restaurant took the place of Kouzzina (which took the place of Spoodles). In a somewhat controversial move, Disney opened this Italian restaurant on December 18, 2014. Why controversial? Because this was the 5th Italian restaurant (or 6th if you count Epcot’s Tutto Gusto wine bar which serves food) in the Epcot/Epcot Resort/Hollywood Studios area or 8th on Disney property. Now don’t get me wrong… I’m half Italian, so I’ve been raised on Italian food and I love it. But did they really need another Italian restaurant? I will give you my answer to that question at the end of this review.

So let’s get on with it, shall we? Arriving on time for our 8:30 ADR, I was surprised to find a line at the check-in desk and the lobby/waiting area almost completely full of people. I had no idea that this restaurant was that popular. While we waited in the lobby area for our name to be called, I noticed the wall of photos…

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I was half expecting to see a picture of my own Italian grandparents up there somewhere… :laughing:

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After about a 15 minute wait we were seated at a table which was not far from their open kitchen…

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Here are photos of the menu we were given…

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No appetizers this time, other than the complementary loaf of ciabatta bread served in a paper bag…

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The bread was pretty good, crunchy on the outside and soft inside, and the olive oil for dipping was fine.

Also, the girls and I again ordered cocktails. Emily went with the Aperol Spritz…

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Aperol and Ruffino Prosecco topped with soda water – $9.25

Note: Aperol is an Italian aperitif made of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona among other ingredients

I was a little surprised when she ordered this, but she insisted that she wanted to try something new. However, sometimes new is not always better…she gave it a rating of 3.

But her cocktail choice actually rated higher than mine…

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Rossini – Ruffino Prosecco with Wild Strawberry Liqueur – $9.25

I was between ordering this and a Peach Bellini. I wish I’d ordered the bellini. While I’ve had a Rossini before (most recently at Epcot’s Tutto Italia) and liked it, I did not like this one and gave it only a 2. :worried:

So the winner of the cocktail round this time was Allison, who went with a simple glass of White Sangria ($9.00)…

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She enjoyed this and gave it a rating of 4.

After photographing her cocktail, it seems that Allison snapped some photos of her siblings…who did not look amused. :laughing:

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But luckily our entrees arrived before I was her target. ;)

And speaking of entrees, we each went with something different so that we could all try a variety of things. Two of us chose pasta dishes, including Allison who ordered this…

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Semolina Tagliatelle alla Carbonara with Guaciale (an unsmoked Italian cured meat made from pork jowl or cheeks)

She thought the noodles in this dish tasted like they had been sitting around for awhile under a heat lamp. Consequently she gave it only a 3. I tried her carbonara and also rated it a 3. I actually prefer carbonara that is made with pancetta rather than guaciale. For me, pancetta (a similar Italian cured meat that is made from pork belly) tastes saltier and is a little less fatty. Just my own personal preference, YMMV.

The other pasta dish, ordered by Emily, was the winner of tonight’s best entree category…

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Baked Lasagna with shaved fennel-arugula salad

She rated this a 4, saying it was good but a little too spicy to receive a 5.

As for my son, he ordered the entree that he usually gets at an Italian restaurant…

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Chicken Breast alla Parmigiana with Tagliatelle

He said the chicken was good but the pasta was not, so he gave the overall dish only a 3.

And I felt the same way about my entree choice…

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Braised Beef Bolognese with House-made Cavatelli

The braised beef was excellent, very tender and flavorful. The pasta though was pretty bad. It was overcooked and “gummy” and the liquid sauce was of no help to it. So overall I have to rate this dish only a 3.

Before we had all finished our entrees, my son said he wasn’t feeling well and asked if he could go back to the room. Not long after, I got a phone call from him saying his Magic Band had not worked to open our door. Someone had let him in and said they would send a maintenance person to our room later to replace the Mickey key pad on our door. By this time we were done eating so I asked for the check and indicated that I would like to pay it by using my Magic Band. But guess what? Yep, once again there was no magic in any of our bands. :worried:

Now normally I always carry a credit card with me, but I had switched bags just before leaving the room and had forgotten to transfer my wallet with my credit card, cash, etc. Since I had no desire to wash dishes as payment for our dinner, my plan B was to stall by ordering a dessert to share and send Emily back to the room to retrieve my wallet.

And so folks, here is Plan B…

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Bomboloni with Dark Chocolate served with Vanilla Gelato – $6.49

This is their signature dessert and was actually pretty good. They were similar to the zeppole that are served at Via Napoli. And while I still prefer the zeppole, I rated these a 4 and the girls agreed.

After finishing our dessert, our very nice and patient server again brought the new check (with the dessert added) and I paid with my credit card and also used my Tables in Wonderland to get a 20% discount.

So overall, our first experience at Trattoria al Forno was okay. There were some high points, as the sangria, lasagna, dessert, and the meat part of our entrees were good. But then there were the lows, most notably their pastas (with the exception of the lasagna). So did Disney World really need this 8th Italian restaurant? :scratchin At this time I would have to say no. However, I plan to give their breakfast a try during my next trip since I will again be staying at the Boardwalk, so perhaps this will change my mind.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I got the problem with our Magic Bands straightened out as soon as I returned to the hotel…and I received a free bottle of water for my trouble. :laughing: I also reminded them that the key pad on our door still needed to be replaced so they sent someone up to our room soon after I returned to it. Thankfully, we had no other problems for the rest of our trip. The “magic” in our bands had been restored and all was right with the “World”. ;)

Want to know what I did next on this trip or just want to share a comment on this review? Click here to go to this trip’s blog post!

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