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Dec 28, 2011 11:56 AM

Weeknight Dinner at Al Forno Trattoria [Old Saybrook, CT]

Al Forno has racked up favorable reviews from Zagat, the New York Times, the New London Day, the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Magazine, and the New Haven Register!

The restaurant sits in an older strip mall adjacent to a discount store. We stopped in for dinner last night after an early movie.

The restaurant is deep and narrow with an upscale décor. Tables are arranged close together, so private conversations are impossible.

Business was booming and my impression is that most diners are local regulars.

My wife had penne arrabbiatta, which was well-spiced and enjoyable. I ordered spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were made of ground veal and ricotta and were good, although lacking in any spice (ie, perhaps a little bland); the sauce was too thin and also lacked spice. Salads or bread did not accompany meals.
Prices were moderate to pricy, mitigated somewhat by the option to order smaller portions.
We graded our meals as just average. However, their pizzas looked great, so I left Al Forno with buyer’s remorse.

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    1. Buyer's remorse indeed. Al Forno's pizza is OUTSTANDING! I need to get back there.

      That's odd, your comment about bread not accompanying the meal. I'm fairly certain we split a salad (yes, gotta pay for that separately, of course) and it came with bread.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        Their bread is outstanding, Linda and Bob Zemel the owners learned breadmaking in Florence Italy.

        1. re: jdgall

          You threw me with Zemel--I only know (and from reading her, not meeting her) Linda Giuca. :) The Hartford Courant food section is really not the same without her, though I'm glad she's still an occasional contributor. Now I really wish I was going to OS tonight!

      2. Your post reminded me I wanted to get back to Al Forno, so off I went. Tried the wild mushroom pizza this time. What else would you expect when the dough is great, the crust is just right and the ingredients are so fresh, but pizza perfection. Pics don't lie--this is a quality pie. Description from the menu: Portobello and Shitake mushrooms, fresh plum tomatoes, caramelized sweet onions, garlic and fresh thyme

        Only other thing I can recommend is please consider their warm goat cheese (covered in crushed walnuts) salad as a starter--with their outstanding bread, btw--on your next visit. Yum!