Trattoria al Forno has been through many iterations over the years. Do you remember when it was Spoodles? Man, I miss that place. Then it was Cat Corra’s restaurant for a while. And now it is Trattoria al Forno and has been for several years. Is this one here to stay? My family and I had visited Trattoria al Forno when it first opened and we were completely underwhelmed. But we had heard reviews and a more positive buzz of late, so we decided to try it out again.
Before our meal on the BoardWalk, we had a delicious pre-dinner drink and snack at the AbracadaBar next door. These two restaurants connect which makes them the perfect pair! We made sure not to fill up on the AbracadaBar’s amazing truffle fries so we would still have room for our main meal.
Homey Italian Dining Room
The main dining room of Trattoria al Forno is quite large. I forgot how sweeping the room was. The first thing we noticed when we walked into the dining room was a distinct smell of smoke. “That doesn’t bode well,” my dad said snarkily. One aspect of Trattoria that is really cool and unique is its open kitchen. So you can watch the talented cooking team prepare your food right in front of you. The downside is you can smell every food being prepared as well. The open pizza oven has a tendency to smoke up a bit, but it’s still super fun.
We were seated toward the front of restaurant, which I was a little bummed about because it meant we didn’t have a great view of anything. But then I noticed the gorgeous sun setting over the lake and I had nothing to complain about! Our server was Holly, and she was incredibly energetic and bubbly. She gave us our menus and and we were left to decide what to get – the hard part was that everything looked amazing!
We knew that we wanted to share an appetizer before our main meal, but we couldn’t decide on a starter that we would all appreciate. But I noticed that the sides on the menu looked incredible too. So we ordered a plate of Crispy Pancetta Arrancini – these were fried Italian rice balls with mozzarella and bread crumbs and prosciutto. Even though this wasn’t an actual appetizer, it worked perfectly as one for us! The dish came with four rice balls for the four of us! These were so good. They were cheesy and saucy, the perfect introduction to our meal. I think we all would have eaten several more if we were able to.
My dad is a sucker for pizza, so he was excited to order the Pizze Carni. This meat lover’s pizza included Proscuitto, Salami, Sausage, and Capicola. He thought this personal pizza was delicious and it looked like a great size for his meal, plus he was even able to bring some home for lunch the next day!
My mom chose the Veal Osso Buco for her main meal. This is one of her favorite dishes in the whole world so she was curious to see how Trattoria created the dish. She was not disappointed. This meal was unbelievably delicious. We were all so impressed. If I remember correctly, when we first visited Trattoria al Forno when it first opened, my mom got the same dish, but was incredibly underwhelmed. So when this time it turned out so amazing, we were so happy! We all definitely had our fair share of her meal. It was just that good.
My meal was my favorite, but I might be biased. I was psyched to order the Shrimp Parpadelle as my main meal. If you’ve read any of my previous dining reviews, you know that I always order the pasta. So to no one’s surprise, I chose the pasta dish. But wow. This was out of this world. This dish included artichokes, golden tomatoes, and capers, all doused in a white wine-butter sauce. It took everything in my power to not lick my plate. These flavors melded together perfectly to create a truly outstanding meal. I will order this every single time.
My fiancé also boasts a pasta obsession, so she ordered the Lasagna al Forno. I have never seen a piece of lasagna so large in my life. It was absolutely bigger than my head. We all loved this meal and all had our fair share. The sauce was clearly homemade and the meat blend was delicious. Not to mention super cheesy! My fiancé ended up taking most of it home with us and we all ate it for lunch leftovers for several days. Big fans of this one.
We were way too full for dessert, but my dad still needed to try the Chocolate Semolina Torta. Our wait staff was super nice and boxed up an order for us so we could eat it at home. While I’m surprised I’m saying this, the chocolate dessert was our least favorite thing we ate at Trattoria al Forno. It was good, but it was just a chocolate cake. Nothing super special.
A Win in Our Book
Even though we didn’t love the Chocolate Semolina Torta, we still absolutely adored our time at Trattoria al Forno. Our meals were out of this world good – the best we had on that trip. We are now incredibly excited to return to the BoardWalk as soon as we can!
Have you ever dined at Trattoria al Forno? Tell us what you thought of your experience in the comments!