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Il Fornello launches ONtario only menu

Just read in today's paper that all locations of Il Fornello (except Harbourfront location) will be launching an ONtario only menu.

Sounds great. It's about time that eating locally wasn't such an exotic enterprise.

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  1. By that do they mean that all ingredients will be local to Ontario? If so, that's pretty cool.

    1. Yes, it means all ingredients are from Ontario, and will change seasonally as required... except for the "salt, pepper, and sugar".


      This is a great idea... I haven't been to Il Fornello for a few years, but I recall they were pretty good for a pseudo chain. This might be a good excuse to go back.

      1. I heard this was in the works. What nobody here has mentioned yet is the name of the chef behind this initiative by Il Fornello. Owen Steinberg, the original co-owner and chef at Jov Bistro on Bayview, has creating and is executing this new local, seasonal menu.

        Il Fornello has made a very wise move here. Let's hope others will follow suit.

        1. Good on them! I haven't eaten there in many, many years, but now I'll throw some custom their way. It's certainly an initiative worthy of support.

          1. Interesting that thier website makes no mention of this. What I do not understand and is not clear by the press release is that is it ALL of the food being served "Local" or is it just a special menu in addition to the regular menu that is Local (like a summerlicious menu)? If it is just an additional few dishes on a separate menu then it is really not a big deal as many restaurants have local dishes on their regular menus and this becomes more of a marketing ploy...

            7 Replies
            1. re: OnDaGo

              I was at the launch yesterday and tried some of the foods from the new menu, including grilled ontario lamb, strawberry shortcake and Henry of Pelham wines. In answer to your question, it is a separate menu, but will continue throughout the year, changing every 2-3 weeks to reflect seasonal availability of ingredients. I understand that they have also switched to Ontario-grown canned tomatoes for all of their sauces, etc. One of the things that I particularly like about the menu is that they list the suppliers right on it, along with contact info, and encourage people to ask their grocers to stock Ontario products.

              Here is a link to their current local menu additions: http://www.localflavourplus.ca/docs/l...

              You can find more detailed info on the Local Flavour Plus website at www.localflavourplus.ca

                1. re: julesrules

                  It was great - and I'm not generally a huge fan of Il Fornello. The lamb ribs were very moist and tender, the fresh strawberries and mint on the shortcake were like a little taste of summer, and it was all washed down with a lovely sparkling wine from Pelham, as well as a pinot noir. I wish I had had time to stick around to try some of the other items.

                  1. re: tracey

                    I had someone bring me takeout from their bayview village location just this week... we had 2 pizzas, 2 pasta dishes, a salad and some bread. Absolutely every dish was just loaded with oil. I hope they find lots of home grown olive oil, because they sure used a ton of it....

                    1. re: Royaljelly

                      The Ontario menu is separate from their regular menu. Their regular menu has never impressed me, which is why I haven't eaten there in 7 years, but I'm willing to give their Ontario menu a try just to support the initiative. Whether it's good or not will decide whether I return...

                2. re: tracey

                  Local schmocal -- did the food taste good?

                3. re: OnDaGo

                  Marketing or not - if it is as good as Gladstone's now-yearly harvest promo, I welcome it!

                4. It's a great initiative and it has actually made me want to eat at Il Fornello just to support them. Good on them!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    Same here, and I haven't been but once in the past decade. For lower-end diners, it's not as easy as it should be to find something so simple & seasonal as local strawberry shortcake. I know they were bitter about not being allowed into 'licious events and I think this is a great alternative way for them to market themselves (which is their job after all!)

                    1. re: julesrules

                      Very ahead of the curve, I can see more restaurants making this move as the focus shifts from "organic, but flown 5000 miles on a jet to get here" to local and seasonal.

                    2. re: TorontoJo

                      I feel the same way. I wish that my local grocery store would do the same. I find it ludicrous that all through Ontario asparagus season they were selling asparagus from Mexico!

                      1. re: tracey

                        Absolutely. That's why I got a CSA box this summer. I do find in my hood the little Asian-owned produce shops are more likely to have local stuff than the IGA - they seem to be more flexible in their sourcing.
                        But even my little IGA has started carrying local hormone-free meats, and ACE bread so maybe the times are a changin'