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Al Forno / Bacarro ? [Providence, RI]

pasta Oct 19, 2011 01:34 PM

I have never been to Al Forno and thinking about giving it a try this weekend when we will be in town. I know it gets mixed reviews but it has been around for a long time and from what I hear, still draws the crowds, so I am curious how the reviews can be so opposite !

Has anybody been recently , and if so - is it worth the wait on a Friday for a good pizza ? I have talked with some friends in the area and they feel the food is worth a visit if you have never been, but an alternative would be Bacarro - with the advantage of being able to make a reservation.

One thing I have to say is that I called Al Forno to ask a few questions and the person who I spoke with had a bit of an attitude - not enough to turn me away, but enough to put a question in my mind - about if that is reflective of the service in general.

Appreciate your insight on Al Forno vs Bacarro.
Thank you.

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  1. l
    ladybugthepug RE: pasta Oct 19, 2011 02:18 PM

    The wait sucks, and it's a bit claustrophobic in some of the rooms, but the grilled pizza really is exceptional. Peter Reinhardt told me that if I was ever in the area I had to stop in and try it. Very unique and totally worth the wait and the exorbitant price. I've not been to Bacarro.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ladybugthepug
      pasta RE: ladybugthepug Oct 19, 2011 02:49 PM

      Is there at least a decent space in which to sit and enjoy a drink while waiting?
      Would hate to be standing up in a small crowded bar area if tehe wait is over an hour - which I assume it will be if we get there at 7pm on a FGriday.

      1. re: pasta
        ladybugthepug RE: pasta Oct 19, 2011 02:55 PM

        Oh sure, there's at least two bars in the place. They aren't what I would consider big bars, but it isn't like you're jammed in a cubby hole, or worse yet - waiting outside. 7 on a Friday will, however, be insane.

        1. re: pasta
          invinotheresverde RE: pasta Oct 19, 2011 03:07 PM

          The wait will be over TWO hours, likely.

          Great pizza, okay desserts, inept and aloof staff, bad value. It's just a tourist spot now.

          1. re: invinotheresverde
            pasta RE: invinotheresverde Oct 19, 2011 07:11 PM

            So the place is always packed - a 2 hour wait is extreme - and it is " just a tourist spot" - ?? I am confused - is it crowded because the food is so good it attracts people from all over , hence the 2 hour wait - or the place is beyond it prime and the crowds are due to people who don;'t know any better ?!

            1. re: pasta
              ladybugthepug RE: pasta Oct 19, 2011 07:26 PM

              Tourist spot is a bit much. This isn't exactly Tavern on the Green. The place is huge and is very popular. It think if you sampled the people inside, most of the people are locals.

              1. re: ladybugthepug
                invinotheresverde RE: ladybugthepug Oct 20, 2011 05:48 AM

                I think you're quite wrong. It's the epitome of a tourist trap, albeit RI style. It was THE spot 15 years ago when there was very little else taken seriously in the PVD restaurant scene. Now it's a dinosaur, full of, forgive me, old people and the aforementioned tourists.

                I do admit to digging their pizza, but I'm not waiting two hours for it, nor paying $20 for dough, sauce, cheese and four pieces of basil. YMMV.

              2. re: pasta
                Gin n Tonic RE: pasta Oct 19, 2011 07:52 PM

                It's crowded because people coming into Providence read about it 15 years ago, or heard from their friends who read about it 15 years ago.

                The Providence dining scene has grown by leaps and bounds in the intervening years, and there are many very good to excellent restaurants to choose from. But then again, Ruth's Chris and Capital Grille are doing a brisk business also, so there's no accounting for taste.

                1. re: Gin n Tonic
                  Bob W RE: Gin n Tonic Oct 20, 2011 05:40 AM

                  Capital Grille started in Providence.

                  Capital Grille
                  1 Union Sta Ste 1, Providence, RI 02903

                  1. re: Gin n Tonic
                    Bluebird RE: Gin n Tonic Oct 20, 2011 05:31 PM

                    In defense of Capital Grille. I've had some really great experiences there. Service is always spot on and my steaks have always been perfect. Of course, it is pricy and it is a chain. But the steaks I've had there have been better than steaks at other pvd steak places.

                    Capital Grille
                    230 Tresser Boulevard, Stamford, CT 06901

          2. j
            JaneRI RE: pasta Oct 20, 2011 08:42 AM

            Go to Bacaro, you won't be disappointed.

            Add me to the list of people who aren't impressed w/Al Forno. I think they have a hit or miss issue, because I've read posts of good meals on here from chowhounders whose opinions I respect, but I unfortunately have only ever experienced a "miss" night.

            Bacaro Restaurant
            262 S Water St, Providence, RI 02903

            1. t
              thegreenfish RE: pasta Oct 21, 2011 06:03 AM

              You can make a reservation at Al Forno on Parent's Weekends. Call and see if it's a Parent's Weekend, make a reservation and then no wait. Voila!

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