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Nice dinner @ Fortina in Armonk

Tried this new place in Armonk tonight. The food was delicious. It's quite large inside with an enormous bar and large dining room connected. There is a wood-burning oven next to the bar on the far end. We started with a homemade gardeniera. Never had it freshly made before. This was exceptional. We also shared an avocado and lettuce salad with a white balsamic dressing. So fresh and delicious. For mains my DH had the branzino, the special of the night. He said it was excellent although a bit expensive at $36 for the plate. I had the pork briacole . It was served on a bed of broccoli rabe. The meat was tender and delicious, the tomato sauce a bit spicy was the perfect accompaniment. I think it was $18.

While we had full dinners they are known for the pizzas and small dishes. Can't wait to return!

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  1. Thanks, debmom, I've been wondering about that place. I'll have to give it a try.

    1. Awesome to know.....Where are they exactly and do you think it's ok to go with a 2 and 6 year old? I can always wait until I have a babysitter to go.....lol

      3 Replies
      1. re: paris1976

        There were lots of kids there last night. I would think it might be a different crowd as it gets later in the evening, but we were there early. Hope you like it!

        1. re: debmom

          17 Maple Avenue, Armonk and there is a parking lot

          1. re: debmom

            I checked the website...Forgot to mention, what are the prices like? I hate when they don't put prices!!
            So it's in the new area where Diccioco is...Perfect to know the location..Thanks!

      2. Went to Fortina last night, The vibe is quite loud and it is hard to hear even the server speak, so if you're looking for a quiet night, this is not the place. I will say we got there at 6:15 and there were still a lot of kids there so later is probably better.The big screen tv did not help and when we first arrived it was playing a family movie and later switched to a football game. The feel is like you're kind of in a big crate with concrete floors and slatted wood chairs and walls, but it's kind of cool looking. Servers, managers are all young and eager to please. However, our server was not very well versed in the menu, preparations or the bar. I ordered a glass of wine which came with no issues, My husband, however, ordered a margarita, straight up with salt and that did not fit on the IPAD they take the orders on. So my drink came and no margarita. Server came back - what kind of tequila? Patron, my husband said. No margarita. Server came back - we don't have patron. What do you have, we asked? She started naming other liquors, not tequila. So we asked about tequila again. She had to go back to the bar. She came back with a list, and my husband ordered. One of the managers came over with a glass of tequila. My husband questioned it and the manager said, oh, you wanted this in a margarita? Now mind you appetizers have arrived at this point and DH got his margarita. My husband ordered the Florentine Steak medium rare and the server told him the steak had to be medium well and she was quite adamant about it until we asked for the manager who told us that is absolutely could be medium rare. Anyway, I was not holding out much hope for this place and then the food arrived. It was wonderful. DH had the wood roasted bone marrow served with wood roasted garlic bread. It was heavenly and perfectly seasoned. I did not have an appetizer of my own, preferring to steal forkfuls of his marrow. For dinner, I had the pizza Margarita with an addition of garlic confit and shaved vidalia onions. It arrived ice cold and they made me a new one. Lets just say that since I was in Italy, this is the best pizza I've had. The char on the crust was perfect - and of course they use 00 flour from Italy. The sauce was great - not to peppery and well seasoned. I ate the entire thing - I never manage that!! My husband had his Florentine steak and because he has a dairy allergy they also assumed they didn't have to season it. Once they corrected that he enjoyed it. I didn't think it was a $42 steak -sorry. For that price it had better knock my socks off, and it did not. All told, we will go back, though we'll go later! And have pizza!!!!

        7 Replies
        1. re: wincountrygirl

          Wow.
          That's a LOT of little things to be wrong and need to be corrected and redone and managers brought over etc.
          Too many for it to sound "attractive".
          It sounds like work!

          1. re: weedy

            Honestly, I dont know how much was our particular server. I don't think she's ever waited tables before. I will give it another try - the pizza was that good - and if that fails I will take out from there!!

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              I found this video, there are others. The owner Christian appears so laidback and likeable. He seems to possess the I don't take myself so seriously, childlike quality which I find endearing when he discusses his ovens/pizza . The pizza looks really good as does the rest of the food.

              http://food.lohudblogs.com/2013/05/29...

          2. re: wincountrygirl

            We ate there shortly after they opened and found it to a nice experience, but experienced some of the issues you did. I ordered the chicken which came to the table hot on the outside but pink/red inside. The server brought it back to the kitchen who explained, " that's how the chef makes it.". Although they were kind enough to cook it more for me, by the time I got it back, I was sort of "icked out" and didn't want it any more. I think the spot has real merit and real possiblity but they have to nail it all down to get me back.

            1. re: MRS

              We went back last night because DH wanted the pizza. After we ate there last they sent us a comment form to fill out which I did. When we came back everyone greeted us. One of the owners came back and told us "no well done steak tonight, I promise" so they read the feedback. Service was excellent - we had an experienced server this time. And, one of the owners brought us a small florentine streak cut up on him for us the share as an appetizer. In all, they totally redeemed themselves.
              And what I really liked was that they cared enough to do so. It's still too noisy for me, but weeknight was better. Not a place to relax but a place where the staff really cares.

              1. re: MRS

                BTW - It sounds like you may have had the same server we had the first time - she insisted that the Florentine steak can only be served medium well. Sounds like she felt the chicken could only be served raw!

            2. I have yet to try Fortina but they served their burrata with butternut squash and brown butter crostini at the Greenwich Food and Wine Festival this past weekend and it was the single best thing I ate all day. It certainly made me want to make the drive to check out the restaurant

              1. A "Very Good" review in this weekend's NYT.

                1. My husband and I went to Fortina last night. We got a 6:30 reservation and were happy that our table was ready, given that it was already very crowded (and very, very loud, like its neighbor, North, around the corner). I was relieved that we were led to the back room, until we were seated right under the huge TV playing a weird Steve Martin movie and next to a teenager (and his mother) who apparently thinks it's acceptable to put your dirty shoe up on the booth across from you (about a foot away from me). But whatever, we were hungry and the food coming out looked great, and thank god after some dirty looks the boy put his foot down (until after his meal when he felt the need to recline again, but this is probably a topic for a different thread).

                  We were not in any rush so the slow and terrible service didn't bother us, especially because the wine, beer, and food were so good. My glass of Barbera was perfect and my husband spent a long time analyzing their long and interesting beer list before selecting one from Mendocino Brewing Co., and later Bell's.

                  We started with the Bibb salad, which was an extremely generous portion, very simple but nicely done, with thin sliced apples and a tangy vinaigrette. After that we shared the mushroom pizza with taleggio, and I have to agree with wincountrygirl that the crust was really excellent and the toppings married perfectly. It was a bit pricey at $18 but pretty well in line with size and price as Tarry Lodge, which I find comparable in terms of style.

                  My entree came pretty swiftly after that and we assumed my husband's would be quick to follow. We dug into my paccheri with veal meatballs and vodka bechamel, which was outstanding, very well flavored and with lots of different pleasing textures (creamy sauce, crispy browned top, al dente pasta). And we waited, and waited, and waited for my husband's braciole, inquiring twice about it, until finally our waiter promised it was coming and would be comped. And it was worth the wait for sure. Fork tender pork, nicely salted and accompanied by sauteed spinach (I think?), which was an excellent cooling and crunchy complement to the slightly spicy, tender, and bold pork. Excellent.

                  We ordered dessert, which we were informed would also be comped, which we appreciated, and we really weren't annoyed at all, like I said, because the food was so, so good and we were in the mood to sit and linger and sip our wine/beer. (Foot-on-the-seat next to me and his mom weren't so tolerant, as we overheard them loudly complaining about their hour and a half meal consisting of 2 bowls of pasta.) Our dessert choice was too rich given our very rich meal, but it was delicious nonetheless-- a rich and dense chocolate mousse with olive oil & sea salt; we loved the crunch and saltiness and the olive oil flavor combined with the chocolate, but I couldn't eat more than a few bites. My husband had a very good coffee, and then we were spent.

                  Bottom line. Loud. Cool interior (love, love the chandeliers with exposed lighbulbs and the rustic wood tables, plus the cheeky use of empty large cans of tomatoes for pizza stands though I was a bit nervous I'd knock it over). AWFUL service, but very friendly. The kitchen clearly has some (let's be honest, a LOT) of kinks to work out. But Fortina is a winner in terms of food, which, bottom line, is most important to me. We loved our meal there and will definitely return. For a more adult-feeling meal, definitely go after 7. There were a lot of raucous families there when we arrived (though, to be fair, the adult crowd when we left around 8:30 was just as--if not more--raucous). Expect a leisurely meal, and, at this point, expect some service problems. They're still new and I'm hoping service will improve as time goes on.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    The place is crazy noisy. Last week I stopped by after work to bring home two pizzas. It was 5:30 or so and the noise was deafening. I picked up the pies, called my husband to put the pizza stone in the oven and heat it up and the pizzas were just as good as in the restaurant - they did not suffer from being reheated. And there was no noise. BTW - the two pies - $40! But I have to say - so worth it. So good!

                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                      The noise at the bar area when we left was ridiculous. People were like 8 deep waiting for tables and drinking. We are our leftover half a pizza today for lunch and like yours it was still delicious. Between this and North, Armonk is turning into quite a foodie destination.

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          Well, at North you can sit upstairs and avoid the noise. Maybe they equate fine dining (Manhattan-style) with noise in Armonk. Is Modern Barn also noisy?

                          1. re: MisterBill2

                            We weren't in any way blown away by Fortina, but would be willing to give it a second chance. But, unless we are having a truly romantic meal with a feel different vibe, we love the buzz and energy at North downstairs. I think it's so much fun!!

                            1. re: MRS

                              I don't mind the vibe at North either. But Fortina is a whole other level of noise. Give it another try - the food is very good.

                              1. re: MRS

                                On weekends, the buzz at north downstairs is cool till about 730 or so when it becomes impossible to hear anything. I like eating early downstairs or late upstairs. My favorite dinner there was a late dinner on a Saturday (like 9 pm) upstairs against the wall with no one else around. I hate eating upstairs early when it's nice out cuz it's so dark up there.

                        2. re: wincountrygirl

                          2 pies $40? WCG, LOVE YOU, but did you actually say 2 Pies $40?? I know you wrote this awhile ago, and sine then i have heard that they are expensive but are we talking about gold flakes and truffles from Italy? Boy I miss Albaneses' in Eastchester, 2 large Pies 20 bucks sausage and fresh garlic.
                          Ouch, :) when i go, I have make sure someone else is paying. What are you doing next Saturday? hahahahaha.
                          Keep up the great writing!

                          1. re: DWeiss

                            Yes, but there were truffles involved.

                            1. re: DWeiss

                              the pies at fortina start at $10 and many are $15 or under. The pie that WCG mentioned is the most expensive ($21) as it contains truffles. And yes, it is to die for and well worth the expense!

                              1. re: mla19

                                Actually, my dh and I make up our own pizzas and the staff are very accommodating. But both do include truffles, so I do get the high cost of ours.

                        3. Had an awesome first dinner at Fortina tonight. We were there quite early as we had our 2 year old daughter with us, so we didn't experience any waits or noise issues (rather, the restaurant had the perfect amount of buzz). We went with our waitress' recommendations and EVERYTHING we ate was excellent. We started with the arugula salad with pistachio and parmesan and also swiped a few bites of our daughter's margarita pizza. Both delicious. My husband got the Tenderoni pizza (sopressata, chili oil, honey), which was a bit too heavy for my taste but he loved it. I got their signature pie, the Luigi Bianco (white pie with burrata, ribiolona, parmesan and black truffle) and it was quite special. Also split the paccheri with veal meatballs and vodka bechamel - another winner. The quality of their ingredients and the talent in the kitchen were apparent. Despite being full, we tried the chocolate mousse dessert with olive oil and sea salt. Even my 2 year old couldn't stop eating it.

                          Besides the food quality, our service was excellent. Our waitress and one of the owners spent so much time chatting with us and making sure everything was to our satisfaction. They both seemed really passionate about the restaurant.

                          Overall, a success of an evening for us and our 2 year old - no small feat! We live in Old Greenwich so it's a bit of a drive for us but this one was worth the drive. (And much better than Tarry Lodge IMHO)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mla19

                            Glad you enjoyed. Sounds like the service was better. I have another res coming up. The fact that they take weekend reservations makes it more appealing than the Cookery for example. I'm definitely getting the Luigi Bianco next time! Yum

                            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                              The reservations are a big plus. Last weekend we went early on Sunday - just after the brunch menu at 5. The noise level was fine, service was great as was the food.

                          2. Went for a late weekday lunch a couple of weeks ago. 2 of us shared a pizza ("spicy meat-ah-ball) and interesting salad with apples. It was very good and, as far as I was concerned, a more-or-less perfect lunch. Servcie and noise level were fine, but of course it was not crowded and others around us appeared to be business folks.

                            1. Who are all these people who are eating in Armonk? It's a dead zone. Are these all retired people? Or housewives and the trainer?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: realitytruthprozac

                                Take a drive there one day and check it out. Its very happening. Armonk is not full of old folks you know. And people drive for great food.

                                1. re: realitytruthprozac

                                  have you been to Armonk on a weekend night? or even a weekend afternoon? I can't attest to during the week, but it's packed and busy every weekend...For the record, most of us housewives don't gallivant with our trainers.

                                2. Is there a social scene in Armonk? Where do the divorced people go to mingle ?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: realitytruthprozac

                                    I'm not divorced so I don't know specifically, but North, Moderne Barn and Fortina all seem to have very busy, interesting bar scenes in addition to lots of people dining. Oftentimes, my husband and I prefer to sit and eat at the bar at North over getting a table. But that's just us.
                                    Give Armonk a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised.

                                    1. re: realitytruthprozac

                                      I'm curious, rtp - where do you live and how is the dining scene there?

                                    2. We had much better service at our last meal at Fortina-- a couple of weeks ago on a Monday. I have a reservation for tonight and I have to admit my hopes are not high for good service, but at least it'll be a fun place to ring in the new year (if the meal lasts as long as our first meal there, we may very well be there at midnight!). They called not once, but *twice*, to confirm, so there must be a waiting list or something.

                                      Last time we devoured the Luigi Blanco, which was incredible, and a pasta with meat ragu. I'm looking forward to the baked paccheri again tonight and maybe that delicious braciole!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                        I hope you enjoy. We have had nothing but great service there since our one bad incident. And the pizza is so worth it!

                                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                                          Thanks! I'm glad to hear that. A woman I assume was a manager was circulating last time and came around to us making sure everything was ok. After she walked away my husband wondered if there was a note on our reservation about our first experience there because everyone was really, really nice to us. But I think they are just nice in general!

                                          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                            After our first experience they sent a survey (we made our reservation on line). I told it like it was and the next time we went they bent over backwards for us. And we've been going back regularly ever since and the service is always great. The owners/managers always come over and the wait staff is great too.

                                      2. So... I haven't been here in months. Maybe since New Year's, I can't remember. How have recent meals been?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                          My last experience was rather hectic - very crowded but food still good.

                                          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                            I was there a few weeks ago. Same as wincountrygirl. Loud, crowded, and delicious! The burrata was terrific & so was the pizza (Luigi Bianco rocks!).

                                            1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                              Went tonight! Pizza and wonderful arugula salad! Always enjoyable

                                          2. I've decided to add my two cents to the Fortina discussion. We've only been at lunchtime, when it's not crowded and is certainly quieter. Based on all these comments, we will probably never go for dinner, which is too bad because our lunchtime experiences have been terrific. Our first time there my husband was really wanting some soup, and we figured an Italian restaurant would certainly have some. But they did not, and he expressed his disappointment -- and the manager said, "give us a few minutes and we'll see what the kitchen can do." And a few minutes later out came one of the tastiest soups we have ever had. They appeared to have thrown together some pizza/pasta toppings with some broth and it was really terrific. SO, next time he reminded the staff of our earlier experience and could they possibly do it again. This time it was a variation on strachetella (sp?) and again it was terrific. We've not had occasion to request more soup, but the staff have always been lovely and accommodating and the food tasty.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Westjanie

                                              That's really great. I love when restaurants do that - sometimes the tastiest things are improvised!

                                              1. re: Westjanie

                                                And that is exactly why I love Fortina. Every customer is valued. Anything you want, if possible, is done. I would say on at least 3 separate ocassions we waited a very long time for our pizza after my huband had his appetizer and, unfortunatley, my pizza came out with the wrong toppings. They comped our entire meal. And they insisted on us having dessert. That sounds bad, right? 3 times my pizza was wrong. They were super crowded. But the point is they cared enough to make it right and we continue to go back. The first time we went we had an inexperiencd server who insisted that the florentine steak could only be served well done. After a series of missteps with that server one of the managers came over and told us the steak could certaily be served rare and it was and it was delcious. The next time we went there we were served a small florentine steak as an appetizer, on the house.We never asked for it,they remembered and cared what happened. I only hope that wiht the opening of two more Fortina's they can keep up this lever of customer service. It is above and beyond anything I have ever had in a restaurant, anywhere.

                                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                  I'm just a little unclear, you like getting a comped meal because they've messed up your food every time you go there. It's a little bit of a dichotomy people like getting their order correct, but when it isn't, they give you a free meal. This may be the Las Vegas restaurant of Armonk. You can either hit on red or you can pay for your meal if you land on black. I have been to Fortina only once. They too messed up the meal, and they made it right, and I just will not go back. I don't want to deal with the inexperienced service, the food which everybody says is terrific and is just really okay, and the immensely loud and intolerable atmosphere that goes along with the crowds. I'll just take my meal the way I ordered it, and happily pay. If I don't have to wait an hour to get my entrée that's a bonus.

                                                  1. re: DWeiss

                                                    I know I was unclear. Yes, it happened and more often than it should have. At any other place, that would be it. My point being that the food is so good, the staff and owners so caring that we do go back. I love their pizza. They know how to treat people. I will say I go during the week now as Friday and Saturday nights, especially this time of year, are just to crowded and hectic for me. I also take home pizza sometimes. I have a pizza stone so it reheats really well.

                                              2. I had a delicious dinner at the bar at Fortina after a failed attempt to have dinner at the bar at Blue Hill Stone Barns (2-3 hour wait when we arrived at 5:03 PM!). We had to muscle our way in to snag seats but once we did we enjoyed a great meal. I was so hungry I let my husband order almost everything (except dessert)-- the brussels sprouts (wood fired and surprisingly delicious), mussels (amazing, though they forgot to give us bread, but did we really need it when we also had the following....), the Tenderoni pizza (love the honey and heat on this), and the paccheri with baby meatballs. The service at the bar was excellent and it was kind of funny to watch all the action swirling around us. It is THE PLACE TO BE on a Saturday in Armonk!

                                                Dessert deserves its own paragraph.... their homemade tartufo is served on a pizza pan with mounds of not-too-sweet whipped cream.... it could easily feed 4 people but we demolished that thing in record time.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                  We've had those Brussels sprouts - boy are they good!!

                                                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                      WCG I can't find the thread in which the folks from Westchester were reminiscing, hopefully this post will be moved to an appropriate home. I hope you enjoy reading the article in link below...it blew my mind, I had completely forgotten about some of these places...
                                                      http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper%20...

                                                      1. re: chowdom

                                                        Thanks, Chowdom! I have seem those threads for NYC and the outer boroughs, which were fun, but never for Westchester. I had tried to start one years ago and I got censored. But now they are "allowed." They are fun!

                                                    2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                      Yum! The Tenderoni pizza sounds great as well. I love the action there too - and I went on a Thursday!

                                                      1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                        I love their incredible customer service too!