July 16, 2010

Il Fornaio

I recently went to Il Fornaio for a friend's birthday dinner. It was my third time at the restaurant chain, but my first at the Santa Monica location (also been to Pasadena and Irvine). All in all, the experience was pleasant. The food was fresh, the server very attentive, and say what, free corkage fee ($15 value)?! Yes folks, that's how I roll.

Being the unashamed foo-ver (food lover) that I am, I sampled some of my friends' foods. They are very used to it by now, but I know someday, someone is going to find it offensive and officially deem me to be rude. Well, if that happens to be you, I guess that just means we'll never be friends.

Penne alla Vodka (large pasta tubes with bacon, vodka-cream tomato sauce and parm cheese) -- the flavors just exploded in my mouth. Delicious! 

Cappellacci di Zucca,
aka- the butternut squash ravioli with walnuts, covered with tomato sauce, brown butter, parm, and crispy sage. I thoroughly enjoyed the bursts of flavor from the sage, but was disappointed with the sparse walnuts. When I did find some walnuts, the combo of that w/ the butternut squash was perfect.

Vegetarian Pizza -- mozzarella, tomato sauce, sliced artichokes, zucchini, eggplant, sliced tomatoes, mushrooms and fresh basil.  I could hardly taste the basil and there was not enough mozza for my liking, but not bad.

While I don't think it's ZEE BEST Italian food, but a good group-friendly place for those last minute birthdays and other gatherings. The quantity is smaller than Buca di Beppo and Maggiano's, but quality fares better.

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location: multiple
website: { SM, yelp }
good for: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
cost: $12-20