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Sep 9, 2009 05:53 AM

Il Forno, Milford, CT - closed

Another victim of the of our favorite "go-to" places has apparently shut its doors. This is really a shame - the food was wonderful, reasonably priced, and the staff and owner were unfailingly eager to make their patrons happy. Candidly, we all wondered how long they could endure. Over the past few months, there were seldom more than a few tables occupied in the dining room. Even though they consistenly had rave reviews for their food (Zagat - 23), it just seemed as if they never really caught on.
Il Forno will be missed....

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  1. It's hard to catch on when all they had was a temporary banner type sign. It just did not look stable or inviting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      Somewhat related: Hot Tamale, in Seymour just took their "Just Opened", Grand Opening" (or similar), banner sign down after 23 months of business. That always made me laugh. Makes me wonder if they are doing OK or not.
      I worry if I see a restaurant that appears dark inside. It has fooled me before. And weeds and dead plants out front is disconcerting.
      I had intended to try IL Forno....

    2. I am not surprised. See my previous post .

      There are too many Italian restaurants around, and to succeed you need to be special. If you're not going to be white-tablecloth fancy, you need to be reasonably priced and have great service that really makes you feel welcome. Il Forno was neither for me. It was too random - food, service and atmosphere.

      6 Replies
      1. re: shoes

        Anyone familiar with the new Italian restaurant that opened in the old Bennigans on Old Gate Lane in Milford? I think it's called Salute or something like that. I understand they're the old owners of Pasta Fair. I've driven by it, the parking lot was packed last night, but I can't even find a phone number.

        1. re: Shanna

          We actually just went there. I was not impressed at all. There is no value for the money. We order spinach & artichoke dip for an appetizer. For $8.95 The dip came in a little cup with a few pieces of bread. My wife ordered a caesar salad. For $7.95 Iit was just lettuce with croutons. I ordered a pasta dish that came with a small salad for $12.95. The dish was decent size but not worth $12.95. So for $30 we left hungry.

          I am not going back. I will stick with Nello's. Good value, good food, good service.

          1. re: bcohn21

            Ditto on Nello's. . . and Conte's.

            1. re: bcohn21

              I agree, was not impressed with Salute'...for the money, I would have rather gone to Nello's or Lucibello's in West Haven. I thought they would have had linens instead of paper thin napkins. We actually got a menu that was empty, so when the waiter came to take our order, we opened it up and said "we'll take this" ! Salad was sparce and my chicken dish left me hungry for bread afterwards. Go to Nello's...fresh food, great price and you leave with leftovers!!

            2. re: Shanna

              It's called Saltue & It's actually owned (?) & managed by one of the old managers of ElTorero before they were sold & moved to W. Haven. I have been in there also & took a menu home. There is no phone listing on the menu either....strange.

              1. re: Shells821

                the phone number for Salute is (203) 301-0408 I got it from Information.

          2. When we went to Il Forno this past Friday, we were shocked to see the sign down, the curtains down and the place completely dark with no cars in the parking lot. We realized within a few seconds that they were gone. We had been going there every Friday night for the past few years after what I consider bad customer service at Aldario's where my husband and I had gone every Friday for ~6 years. I was so happy to have found another place that was warm and accepting with great food and great service. Arturo was our waiter and he was excellent. The owner came out and greeted us every time we were there. They made us feel special. I felt like a close relative died that night and now am forced to find yet another place in my home town that appreciates Friday night regulars. Not so easy as my husband is a carnivore, my daughter's taste is really limited and I'm a vegetarian who does eat fish. Il Forno's salmon with lentils was my very favorite. I will miss them and I hope that the owner finds roots somewhere where his restaurant will truly be appreciated.

            11 Replies
            1. re: The_Enabler

              Obviously, I share The Enabler's disappointment. Arturo was a truly professional waiter who always made you feel special and unlike 99% of waiters that we encounter, he really had an understanding of the food and the wines. He was never afraid to suggest a new entry (or a special wine) on the list and once he got to know us a bit, he never disappointed in his recommendations. Juan, the owner, was equally cordial and professional. I, too, hope that he can find another venue.

              1. re: lsnhc

                Isnhc: Just wanted to let you know a friend of mine was at Johnny Ray's on Saturday night, and Arturo is a server there now. She said she asked him about the closing of Il Forno and he said "they just closed the doors" and it was a complete surprise to him also. . .

                1. re: cheereeo

                  Thanks, cheereeo. While I am not a huge fan of Johnny Ray's (see my latest post), I would consider going back if Arturo was my server!

              2. re: The_Enabler

                Enabler, if you want to stay local you could give Conte's a try. I have never been there but I have heard good reports so they're on my short list of restaurants to visit. I may even try them tonight. They're located right on the Post Road in a strip mall. They've been there forever and it's very easy to pass them by without noticing the place. As I said, I haven't tried them yet but several people I know think they're pretty good. Here's the website.


                1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                  Jim,Ray and I have been to Conte's a few years ago and just had appetizers and they were very good. Have always wanted to go back.

                  1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                    Conte's has been one of my favorite Italian places in the area for years. When I lived in Milford I was there often. Can't recommend it enough.

                    1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                      Thanks I have eaten at Conte's (when I worked up that way) and I remember there were no prices on the menu. The food was good though. Unfortunately, we went to Johnny Ray's the night we attempted to go to Il Forno's. My salmon came to me almost completey raw; my daughter didn't like the pasta and my husband was indifferent. Nello's is always crowded but is it me? I don't like things drowning in oil and have asked for "light on the oil" there was still a lot of oil in the bottom of my dish. I like to see the color in my food i.e. spinach should be green and not drenched in oil. I don't eat pasta but that's the only think my daughter will eat and my husband can't eat white pasta or white bread. He did say that his steak was good, however. We tried Salute and I'm going to try it again tonight.

                      1. re: The_Enabler

                        Conte Ristorante had no prices on the menu? The online menu has prices so I would think that the actual menu would have prices as well. I have to say that I've never been to a restaurant that did not include prices on the menu. I'll let you know since I've made a reservation for tomorrow evening.

                        By the way, I wasn't particularly impressed with Conte's online menu. I always look for something out of the ordinary when I dine out. Conte's menu lists "all the usual suspects", not that that's a bad thing but sometimes I get tired of the "same old thing". Hopefully they'll offer a special that's not something I've had a hundred times over. I'll report back with my impressions of the joint. The fact that there will be a piano player during dinner (according to the website) holds promise.

                        1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                          Well, my wife and I went to Conte's Saturday night. We had a very nice meal. There were two appetizer specials and one main course. They offered broccoli rabe with sausage for $10.00 and stuffed clams (eight) for $14.00. I thought both prices were a little on the high side (I neglected to ask the price when we ordered.). Both were excellent, though. I got the Scallopini Gorgonzola and my wife got the Linguini alla Pescatore. Both were very good except my dish was missing the asparagus stated on the menu. My entre included garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed slivered vegetables (zucchini, carrots, onions and yellow squash). Nothing on the wine list was less than $30.00. We got a Beringer merlot. My martini was on the money.

                          They had a keyboard/piano player who was very good. His unobtrusive ballads added to the ambience. Conte Ristorante was not inexpensive but the dishes we had were well executed and our server, Miquel, was efficient and professional.

                          1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                            Nice review. Makes me want to try it.

                            Conte Ristorante
                            1573 Boston Post Rd, Milford, CT 06460

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Absolutely, amazingly good. Priced right and enough food to keep anyone happy. Beats the crap out of the Bennigans that was there prior. (IMHO).

                              300 Atlantic St Ste 101, Stamford, CT 06901

                  2. I just dined at the Il Forno in Branford. It was delicious. Was the location in MFD the same owners?