Al Forno in Providence
I will be going to dinnner to Al Forno. What's best to order? I know they are known for grilled pizza, but what else is good. And, the dessert list looks extensive. What to order? I will be going with a group of 6+ so I will make a reservation in advance. TIA.
Pardon the response to a thread that has died out, but I felt the need to weigh in since Al Forno has been a hot topic on this board. ... I went for the first time this weekend and thought it was very good. I have lived in Providence for many years and never been, since I heard that other places were much better for the same price. So I've had a few happy returns to Chez Pascal, La Laiterie, Gracie's, and New Rivers. Those (probably in that order) are my favorites, but I do wish I had given Al Forno a chance sooner. The pizza was great and the pasta was hands down better than that of any other Italian restaurant in Providence I've been to. (In fact, please name me another Italian to get good home-made pasta... I've looked around and come up empty, though I haven't tried Bacaro). I would say they are a lot of places in the North End in Boston (which would be just as expensive) where you can get the same kind of food, but not in Providence.
The prices were a bit high for Providence, but I thought the portions were pretty good sized. And the staff was very attentive and friendly. This is based on one visit, but this is my two cents.
Chez Pascal Restaurant
960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906
184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906
262 S Water St, Providence, RI 02903
I agree with you, Zabalburu. Al Forno gets so much bad press on this board but when I eventually tried it I was pretty impressed. The only negative of the meal was having to wait 1.5 hours for a table. I'll gladly wait again, however. We also got pizza and I got the duck. Everything was delicious and service was great. Yes it's expensive, but worth it.
i feel remiss in not having chimed in on these al forno posts before, but i would encourage anyone who is thinking of going there to think about trying bacaro instead. i think the menu more current and exciting, and the quality is just as good as i've had at al forno.
I'm going to second what invino said...do you have to go there? Food can be stellar (so I hear) or just meh (my experience more than once). They strong arm you into ordering dessert in advance. If you want to sit in their pretty outdoor courtyard for cocktails and a pizza, fine. Anything else, don't bother.
I'll third this experience. A co-worker (from out of town, of course) just went and had a fabulous meal. I've had fabulous and decidedly average dishes as well (kind of reminds me of Mill's Tavern, in this respect... You've never sure what kind of night it will be). But unlike the uber-friendly Mill's, the attitude here keeps me from coming back often except for events there. But if you go, enjoy!