We said back on our last review of Trattoria al Forno that it would be a while before we returned for dinner. It turns out that was a pretty accurate statement. With more than three years between then and our last visit, we thought it was about time to give this Boardwalk restaurant another try.
Our decision to eat at Trattoria was fairly last-minute as we looked for a nice restaurant to enjoy while my mom was in town visiting. We were able to grab a reservation right at 5:00 pm when the restaurant opened for dinner service. This allowed us to enjoy a quieter dining experience before the crowds picked up into the evening.
Kevin, our server, was prompt and attentive throughout the meal, giving us several wonderful recommendations for appetizers, drinks, and our main courses.
Disney labels Trattoria al Forno as a casual Italian eatery. As someone that worked at an Olive Garden for several years, I agree with this statement – But I mean that in the best way possible. This is an upscale version of the Olive Garden you used to love, not the sad shell of a restaurant it has turned into today. And the food is 10x more fresh and prepared with the care of a five-star high-end dining establishment. This can likely be attributed to Chef Tim Majoras, who took the helm at Trattoria throughout the pandemic and both simplified and enhanced the restaurant’s menu. Chef Majoras is the Executive Chef of the neighboring Flying Fish, arguably one of the best restaurants on Disney property.
Here are our thoughts on the drinks and dishes we enjoyed:
Red Sangria – $12.00
Normally I’m not one to go for a sangria, but this was refreshing and a wonderful value for the price. Bonus points for the citrus Mickey Ears, also.
Garlic Knots – $7.00
Look – There’s absolutely nothing special going on with this off-menu staple of Trattoria, but it is everything you want from an Italian eatery. Garlic, butter, sauce – This is truly heaven on a plate. Also, I was quite shocked that the price has remained unchanged these past three years!
Roma Tomato Bruschetta: House-made Ciabatta, Genovese Basil, Aged Balsamic (Plant-based) – $13.00
By far the highlight of the meal, I think my only disappointment was that there was not more of this to enjoy. The freshness of the tomato, paired lightly with the basil and balsamic, lets you harness each flavor individually atop the perfectly crisp and fresh ciabatta.
Plant-based Rigatoni Bolognese: Semolina Rigatoni, Slowly Braised Ragù – $27.00
I was feeling some good old rigatoni this evening, and although originally worried that the plant-based aspect of this dish, I would order this again in a second. The sauce was slightly sweet, fresh,and at no point did I really miss the meat aspect of this rigatoni bolognese.
Pizze Margherita: Fresh Mozzerella, Crushed Tomatoes, Torn Basil – $20.00
If you are a family that typically makes Via Napoli pizza a must-do on your trip to EPCOT, I would highly encourage you to switch it up and try Trattoria instead. This pizza was far superior to what I’ve had at Via Napoli the past few visits and at $20.00, a fraction of the cost.
Shrimp Papardelle: Artichokes, Golden Tomato, Capers, White Wine-Butter Sauce – $31.00
This was Amy’s choice for the evening and left her missing the Pasta alle Vongole, which was on the menu previously. If you are looking for a lighter seafood pasta, this dish is probably not the one for you. The sauce was extremely heavy and rich, with the rosemary flavors overpowering the dish.
I’m a sucker for an open kitchen concept and love any opportunity I have to see into a kitchen and watch the chefs at work. The decor here is very old-world Italian, with warm colors, dark woods, and lots of wine. I could see the interior of the restaurant benefiting from some small upgrades to lighten the colors and provide a nice refresh.
Overall I was very happy we decided to revisit Trattoria al Forno for dinner. This restaurant has moved up significantly on our list, and I would be happy to eat here again any time. The only thing that would make it better is if they brought the breakfast calzone back to the menu in the morning.
Share your experience at Trattoria al Forno with us in the comments below, and let us know if you would recommend this BoardWalk Italian eatery!