By Mia Ferazzi
Most meals are enjoyable at restaurants because of the location of the restaurant and the company surrounding you while you consume someone else’s cuisine. This is the case when it comes to dining at Il Forno Restaurant.
The restaurant has authentic Italian inspired cuisine and a BYOB drink policy, serving only to adults 21 years or older. It has four locations in Central Massachusetts and one right here in Fitchburg, in the Charles Park Plaza on 27 Airport Road.
The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.; it is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The restaurant has plenty of on-site parking. The restaurants website, www.il–forno.com, is not very organized and some may have a hard time finding the information they are looking for, but the basics are there.
As soon as guests walk through the heavy double doors, they are greeted by a not-so-polite, underdressed hostess. Guests do not have the choice of sitting in a booth, which is an option that a lot of people prefer. The lighting is on the darker side but the tables are lit with a unscented candles. The atmosphere has a cozy and homey feel. The dining area is decorated with outdated, stuffy wall hangings, but the aroma of the Italian cooking can distract the guests from the décor.
The unique focal point of the dining room is the ability to see your food being prepared. The open-kitchen concept allows the guest to be ensured of a clean, professional, and polite kitchen staff.
In Italian, Il Forno means “oven” and the translation couldn’t be more perfect for this restaurant because it uses a brick oven for baking its pizzas, calzones, and bread. There are a number of lunch options on the menu that range from salads, soups, appetizers, roll-ups, grinders, subs, calzones, pizzas, and entrees to desserts. During lunch time, the restaurant runs a discounted buffet price of $8.99 to bring in the business workers and construction men on their breaks.
The dinner menu options include salads, soups, appetizers, a children’s menu, pizzas, entrees, and desserts. The restaurant chefs specialize in the preparation of veal, chicken, beef, fish, and shellfish and use each one in inimitable ways. All of these Italian-inspired options are made with quality, fresh ingredients to keep the guests coming back.
I went with a friend during their dinner hours of operation. My guest and I both were seated and immediately ordered waters with lemon and simultaneously received a heaping basket of steaming garlic bread. For an appetizer, we ordered the Calamari Fritte for $10.99. It was a plentiful, flavorful portion and came with fradiavlo sauce to dip.
As an entrée, I ordered the Potato Gnocchi for $15.99. One word: incredible! This is not a hard dish to create, but let me tell you that the chefs mastered it! My friend ordered the Mussels with aglie olie sauce for $16.99. She loved her dish as much as I loved mine. By the end of the meal we were very stuffed, but ordered dessert anyway; Tiramisu for $4.99. Not the best tiramisu I have tasted but not the worst either. The total cost of this dining experience was $48.96. Our waiter was polite and spoke clearly when reciting our order. I thought that this price was reasonable for the atmosphere, food quality, and location of the restaurant.
Overall, Il Forno earned a “B+” review from me and my guest. They could improve their décor but their food needs no adjustment. The Fitchburg area is lucky to have an establishment such as this one.