Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Mar 11, 2010 03:07 PM

Anyone familiar with Italian ranges? ILVE, Fratelli, etc.

I have been researching ranges actively and had posted some questions a while back. I remain uncertain as to direction - I really want a stylish range with good performance, but also want quality. I ruled out Viking and Thermador based on quality issues experienced by several friends. Wolf seems an easy choice, but is the extra money worth it? I will probably go with 36" - or possibly 40 or 42 for the makers that have those. Probably can't get a 48" into our new kitchen plan. Someone recently directed me to EuroChef USA, noting that the Fratelli Onorfi and ILVE Majestic lines are great values. Found limited feedback on Fratelli and almost none on ILVE. Any hounds here have any experience/opinions with these? Also considered induction, but I really love the aesthetics of a range. We might add 2 induction burners somewhere else if we can, but pretty set on a range at this point. Dual fuel not critical. Input appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am also looking at Fratelli and Bertazzoni. I ruled out NXR/SMEG completely. I hope you get some responses here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pepper18925

      Are NXR & SMEG the same maker? Thanks.

    2. We looked at and strongly considered Bertazzoni & Fratelli Onofri and are now most of the way settled on an ILVE - dual fuel, 36", fish top; seems to be a lot of performance & durability for the money. Hope this is a good decision and would *love* to hear from anyone who has one themselves.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mawrter

        I am also strongly looking at the ILVE (40") duel fuel. Have you had any responses or found anyone who had experience with this range? To be honest, I am having a difficult time finding a dealer in Atlanta (but it seems that Birmingham and Nashville have them). Tks!

      2. I have a 30" SS Bertazzoni. I have been cooking and baking with it for a little over a year and I love it!!
        It has plenty of power for the way I cook. And the oven bakes so evenly. It's looks are perfect for my 1922 house.

        1. I have an ILVE and I love it. Purchased it sight unseen after two years of researching ranges. I considered everything from AGA and Bertazzoni to Five-Star, Fratelli, Wolf & Viking. Nothing was off the table for me. After careful research I found the ILVE and I do not regret my purchase in anyway. It's a solid workhorse. So ask me anything.

          10 Replies
          1. re: jedwards601

            Awesome! Love hearing that! Thank you!!! Mine is in the kitchen next to my old stove, awaiting propane connection. Mine looks fantastic and I am REALLY looking fwd to using it.

            I have to put in a call to the dealer or to EuroChef b/c the "instructions" are a joke. The left front burner has two concentric rings and *NO* indication how one might make use of this undoubtedly wonderful, but mysterious, function. I can probably muddle my way through the rotisserie function, although the instructions for that are not exactly what you would call comprehensive. And I'm good and puzzled about the "grill" / "broil" business ... I think that might be a translation issue, but I'm having quite a time trying to differentiate btwn when they say "grill," but actually mean "broil", vs. when they say "grill" and actually mean "grill". And the reverse.

            Do you have the DW oven interior parts (available as extra cost part), and if so, what do you think of them?

            1. re: jedwards601

              I too am considering an Ilve, having seen them at the Foire de Paris. In surfing the net for any complaint, there was a man in New Zealand who complained about the knobs falling off and the clock being too difficult to figure out. He also felt the oven was off too. Have you experienced any problems such as these? What do you love about your range and is there any inconvients you have noticed with the ILVE. I thank you in advance for any feedback.

              1. re: Cheriekiss

                Hi Cherie - we still are not cooking on the stovetop b/c we are awaiting the liquid propane hookup. So at this point, I have only used the (electric) oven.

                My dh figured out the digital clock after some fumbling & the timer now works correctly, *and* now we've figured out how to use the oven w/o the timer - the manual setting. We were worried that we couldn't use the oven without the timer, but that's not the case.

                I don't know if the NZ man meant there was a difference btwn the selected temperature and the actual temperature, but I have a thermometer in the oven and I've been trying to figure out what I'm working with. I have never used a range with convection and all the other features, so this is a ::huge:: learning curve for me. I also don't know for certain whether my thermometer is perfectly accurate. It seems to me that the temperature reads a little higher than the temperature I have selected when I use the convection feature. But I expected that it would cook faster then anyhow b/c of the air swishing around - so I don't know if a higher temperature reading is normal, desirable, or what. I do know that my Brazilian cheese bread is coming out really well!

                I attached a picture - mine is 36".

                I can post more feedback once I get the propane hooked up to use the burners. The knobs all seem plenty sturdy to me.

                1. re: Mawrter

                  Hello Mawrter,
                  Thank you so much for your detailed report. Your new red Ilve looks gorgeous! Glad to know that the knobs appear sturdy and the you got the clock working. You will enjoy the convection oven from roasting to pastries.
                  I feel the Ilve is a well made range and is better priced than the Lacanche/Westhal. I want one with a center barbecue grill, though it will be electric with lava rocks.
                  Would you share your recipe for the Brazilian cheese bread, which sounds lovely.
                  Again thank for your time to write back. Very happy cooking adventures to you!

                  1. re: Cheriekiss

                    Hi Cherry! Okay, now that I have some miles on the new stove, I love it! It's powerful and responsive definitely feels like an Italian performance machine. Everything on it feels and acts extremely sturdy with the exception of (so odd, who would imagine this?) the oven racks. I'm pretty surprised, but the rack flexes when I place a Le Creuset French oven (covered pot) full of the makings of broth. I'm not worried it will break or anything, but bowing under the weight surprised me.

                    The stove works very well, and I love the convection feature. The convection seems kind of noisy to me, but I have no idea what other stoves are like in terms of noise. But the results are fantastic, and I'm getting a feel for which settings are best for which foods. Although the oven does heat up the kitchen a little, the door seems very heavy and seals very tightly -- light years beyond my old stove. In fact, you need to be careful b/c when you open it, heat releases in a burst way beyond anything I've ever experienced with any other stove -- the directions caution you about this. I can imagine baking bread with a pan full of ice cubes could result in an amazing texture, like a pretend steam oven. Once I try that I'll report back (although it may be awhile, since I am gluten-free and bread isn't high on my list anymore. Sadly!).

                    I have only tried the rotisserie feature once and it didn't turn out well, but I didn't really know what I was doing and clearly, overcooking a chicken isn't the stove's fault. I was extremely nervous about trying out the griddle, but it worked beautifully. I have never had an easier or better time making pancakes. I haven't tried the wok feature yet; I don't even have a wok, but I'm getting excited about learning.

                    The little holes around the circle where the gas comes out were not as precise as they needed to be & my dh had friends machine them so they worked better. Even now, after adjustment from the gas technician, we are still occasionally getting an orange or yellow flame when it should be all blue. I don't know whether this is a warranty service issue, just a quirk, or whether my dh will be able to adjust further himself. I think this would really bug me if I didn't have a fairly handy guy and good resources to address these issues. This is not a maintenance-free stove - it has its quirks; cleaning is pretty involved and I would not recommend to to someone who wants a simple, low-maintenance, fuss-free machine to do basic cooking with. I like it, but I cook a lot and like things with a bit of personality.

                    Here is the recipe I'm currently enjoying for Brazilian cheese bread: It's traditionally gluten-free and I really like it. It is somewhere between Japanese moochi and gougeres, if you can imagine a continuum between those two little bready bites. There are lots of different recipes out there, so I should try some others to see which one I like best, but this one matched the ingredients I had on hand & I've been really happy with it.

                    1. re: Mawrter

                      Do you still lie your Ilve? We're going back and forth with that, the Bertazzoni and the Aga. And by the way, we agree with you about Antonellas.

                  2. re: Mawrter

                    Hi Mawrter
                    I just bought a Fratelli Onofri Evolution, but it came with LP orifice spuds instead of Natural gas ones. I am told that the distributor is unable to get the Natural Gas orifice spuds, so I am unable to actually use my wonderful range.
                    Question: If you are on propane gas, would you still have the original orifice spuds that came with the range (they are 5 tiny little screws that mount in the burner, through which the gas exits), and would you consider trading them for my LP ones? That way, you have replacement spuds and I can use my range...
                    You are pretty much my last hope....
                    many thanks for replying
                    regards, Peter

                2. re: jedwards601

                  We are doing our research now and came across the live in a showroom. Online we saw a complaint that the fan makes a lot of noise. When is this fan on? For stove top cooking? Also we read it takes a long time to light the burners. It is a lovely range, so thanks for sharing your experience.

                  1. re: Chtoo

                    It's fairly noisy without the convection and even noisier with. As with any gas stove, you need to turn on the exhaust fan when you have any burner on, and your fan determines the noise level there. I really don't have a lot of experience with other, comparable ranges, so I don't know how it stacks up comparatively.

                  2. re: jedwards601

                    Hi, I was just wondering how your range is performing after a few years? If you have needed service, was it difficult to find someone who could work on the brand? Thank you!

                  3. I've had my Bertazzoni for a year now and am very happy with my decision. It is a 5 burner 36" running natural gas.

                    Generally I love the stove. It has a wide range of BTU's and cleanup is very, very easy. There are a few caveats and it's not for everyone.

                    1) Burner and oven ignition are a little temperamental. It takes a few seconds to warm up the thermosensor. If you do it too quickly, the gas shuts off as a safety mechanism.

                    2) Oven size is wide, but not deep or tall. I can fit 1 quarter-sheet and 1 half-sheet pan per rack in the oven.

                    3) Convection is good, but not incredible. Works great for roasting a turkey, but have to rotate if the racks are full (as in #2 above)

                    4) Minimum oven temp is 225. A bit high for an ultra low braise.

                    I considered the Fratelli, but wanted to buy from somewhere I could put my hands on a unit. Of the non-italian ranges I really liked Blue-Star. It maxes out at 22K BTU, but still has a nice low simmer.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: wmyers

                      Does anyone else's ilve run too hot? I can't turn down burners low enough and my installation guy says that's the way it goes. Literally paid over 10,000 for a 6 burner stove and I can only use one of the burners. I am dismayed.

                      1. re: Durango

                        I'm not sure I would believe the installation person. Most burners have a way of adjusting both the minimum gas flow as well as the amount of air (air shutter). Usually the simmer adjustment is under the control knob, that is, the knob has to be taken off and there is a tiny screw adjustment in the very center.

                        1. re: Durango

                          We've adjusted ours down and it was still too high for the simmer burner. All we did was get a simmer plate for the top of the burner. Now we have no problems. We are on propane and not natural gas. Love our Ilve Majestic.