First Look! Photo Tour: Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is officially open for business, and we’ve enjoyed our first dinner there!

Trattoria al Forno at Disney's Boardwalk

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk

The restaurant began serving breakfast and dinner yesterday to a packed house (see our Trattoria breakfast menu review here). When we left late last night, the waiting area was standing room only!

We’ll have a review of all of the dishes we tried this first time out on Monday; but in the meantime, we wanted to give you a look around the newly remodeled space. Thanks to our friend Mealtrip for bringing his fabulous photography back to the blog in this post!

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

Trattoria al Forno occupies the space that was previously Spoodles, and most recently the home of Kouzzina by Cat Cora. Many Disney food fans were sorry to see the Greek-themed restaurant close.

Trattoria Entrance

Trattoria al Forno Entrance

Now, Disney takes the space back to its original roots with a “family Italian restaurant” that has grown in its physical space and has evolved in its culinary approach over time.

Trattoria Sign at the Hostess Station

Trattoria Sign at the Hostess Station

While the dining room of Kouzzina was open, basically occupying one large room, the Trattoria designers claim you’ll see smaller rooms as you travel the length of Trattoria al Forno, with subtle differences in decor signaling your progression from one room to the other.

The backstory of the restaurant holds that an Italian family ran a modest tavern and boarding house on the boardwalk, which expanded over the years into a popular restaurant. As the restaurant was growing, boardinghouse rooms were converted into additional dining spaces — each family generation adding their own touches to the menu and the restaurant’s design.

Now, in all honesty, the overall space is pretty much the same general area that it was when the restaurant was Kouzzina. There’s an entryway and waiting room, a big dining room (which Trattoria has outfitted with brick columns to indicate said “rooms”), and an open kitchen. The room used in the past as a private dining room has been included as a general dining area, but that’s pretty much the only completely separate dining room in the place. But we can chat more about that later. Let’s get inside!

Beginning in the Entrata, or entrance, the space has been overhauled to create a warm but open area with minimal detail. No more Cat Cora cookbooks or merchandise. Just a wine “wall,” very little seating, and a hostess podium.

Entrata

Entrata

Stone, wood, and warm lighting accent the space. Framed wall hangings give it that “family Italian” restaurant feel. You know the deal.

Seating While You Wait

Seating While You Wait

It’s very comfortable when it’s not crowded. While we didn’t have to wait long for our 5 PM advance dining reservation, the seating area was inviting.

Waiting Area

Waiting Area

Once your party is called, you’ll travel through frosted glass doors to your table.

The open kitchen remains the restaurant’s main focal point.

Wide Shot of the Trattoria Kitchen

Wide Shot of the Trattoria Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Here, you can see the open oven, which serves to anchor the Cucina portion of the restaurant. This is Trattoria’s first dining area, and offers a casual, “eat-in kitchen” vibe.

Forno Up Close

Forno Up Close

Kitchen from the Cucina, the Restaurant's First Dining Room

Kitchen from the Cucina, the Restaurant’s First Dining Room

Beyond the more casual Cucina, you travel into the slightly more opulent

Sala da Pranzo, or formal dining room. The space is marked with soaring ceilings above.

Sala da Pranzo

Sala da Pranzo

This area is beautiful, but you can definitely see that the “multiple dining rooms” suggestion is pretty much in name only when it comes to the main area of the restaurant. Those brick columns are the only indication that you’re in a separate part of the restaurant. Though, I suppose they could pull those curtains across and separate the areas that way? A la a hotel conference room?

Seating in the Sala da Pranzo looking back to Cucina

Seating in the Sala da Pranzo looking back to Cucina

While there is some distinction to each area if you are reeeeally paying attention, the seating itself is fairly similar throughout the dining room. There are some differences, however. These tall-backed chairs seemed to be reserved for the Sala da Pranzo.

Seating in the Sala da Pranzo looking back to the Cucina

Seating in the Sala da Pranzo looking back to the Cucina

Crystal chandeliers with a slightly modern feel provide soft light in this central area, and the back wall is lined with a huge display of silver, glassware, and china.

Vaulted Ceilings in the Sala da Pranzo

Vaulted Ceilings in the Sala da Pranzo

Decor -- Sala da Pranzo

Decor — Sala da Pranzo

Chairs and banquettes are substantial and are comfortably upholstered with padding. Most of the tables offer a rich wood finish; a few light colored tables punctuate the space.

Seating -- Sala da Pranzo

Seating — Sala da Pranzo

Close Up of Sala da Pranzo Seating

Close Up of Sala da Pranzo Seating

Beyond the Sala de Pranzo, you come to the Salotto. Here, you’re in a comfortable living room setting, converted for diners to eat in the growing restaurant. I loved the chairs in this area!

Seating in the Salotto

Seating in the Salotto

Seating -- Looking Back Across the Rooms

Seating — Looking Back Across the Rooms

And the round banquettes looked pretty cozy.

Round Banquette in the Salotto

Round Banquette in the Salotto

Finally, you come to the Taverna area, the most secluded of the dining areas. It’s actually separated from the other three by a door. In previous lives of the space, this area was used for smaller functions or private dining as I mentioned previously. But at Trattoria, it will be utilized as regular dining space.

Taverna Seating

Taverna Seating

The Taverna

The Taverna

Now, we’ll have a full review for you on Monday of aaaaaallllllll of the food we ate last night…but I had to give you a sneak peek!

Charcuterie

Charcuterie

Giant Meatball

Giant Meatball

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

MORE TO COME!!

And that’s a wrap! We’ll be sharing with you lots more pics of our dining experience in just a little bit, but we hope you’ve enjoyed this first look at Disney’s newest restaurant!

What do you think of Trattoria al Forno’s decor and atmosphere? Leave a comment and tell us if you’re excited to dine here!

Comments

  1. Shayne says

    Looks beautiful! Now I’m wondering if we should have tried to get a reservation here for our January trip…

  2. says

    It looks very bright and pretty. I love how they’ve decorated. I had a peek at the menu, though, and it looked fairly pedestrian. I was hoping for more somehow. But… if they execute it well, then that is what really counts. Looking forward to your review.

  3. John says

    It looks great, but I still can’t shake that vibe that the Italian theme is just so overdone. Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto, Via Napoli, Il Mulino, Mama Melrose – there’s 5 places within 10-15 minutes of Trattoria al Forno that serves food that looks exactly the same. I’m going to miss the unique flavors of Kouzzina there.

  4. Miles says

    I don’t have a problem with this being there at all. In fact, I’m loving the idea. It is an Italian option OUTSIDE of the parks, which is great for those wanting a taste of Italy without the price of admission.

  5. Mark says

    I’ve eaten at Kouzzina several times (and loved it). This really does not look that much different. I even recognize a booth we had once and I don’t see much real change. I do agree with John, six Italian restaurants within walking distance of each other is overdone and two are outside the parks. Variety is clearly not on the menu at Disney, but I still love the place anyway.

  6. Psac says

    We are there on opening night (last night). We were surprisingly pleased, especially with the braised beef bolognese, which was exceptionally good. We will definitely go back.

  7. Mike V says

    I am sure the food looks great, and I am sure inside is beautiful…and I am positively sure that their first month or so of opening the food will taste great.
    But as John as pointed out above do we really need another Italian place that not to mention the 5 that are within walking distance from here, but the 50 plus in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area that I live nearby???
    And Miles, you stress OUTSIDE the parks….Il Mulino, Portfino, and plenty of chains are also right there serving up Italian as well.
    Sorry to be Debbie downer, but was negative to the concept from the start!

  8. Gene Speroni says

    Great Point Miles! I mean I already have Annual Passes, but as you stated, you don’t have to enter a park to dine Italian, especially if you are staying in the area.Many times, we have guests, and I sometimes feel bad that they have to pay $100 to get into a park to dine with us. While I too enjoyed Kouzzina’s and the Original Spoodle’s, I am looking forward to this place as an addition to the BW area. The Prices are right in line with Italian Restaurants around where I live, but feature Items I do not find at my home places.

  9. Janelliz says

    John don’t forget Tony’s in MK, Portobellos, and Ravello! 8 italian Table service places all pretty close together.

    4 of 8 italian restaurants on WDW property are outside of the parks.

  10. Sandra says

    Really, another Italian TS? It is near the Italian places in Epcot and right across the water from the Swan, where the excellent Il Mulino is located. Couldn’t they offer us something different? Greek-style was an exciting choice, not available elsewhere, and barbecue could have been popular. But I think they really missed the boat here by not making a Jersey diner in this spot. Since the theme of the area is the shore, it would have fit in fine. Burgers, big sandwiches, soups, Blue Plate specials, breakfast all day, cheesesteaks and cheesecake, and half a dozen pies, available a la mode. It would have been packed, and provided a way to highlight good, solid regional American cooking.

  11. Dominic says

    I agree with you Sandra. I’m surprised there isn’t an Olga’s Diner or Pat’s Steaks (or Geno’s if that’s your preference). Been visiting Disney for years and actually worked there from October 71 (opening) until 73 and can tell you they never really got the food service down pat. Maybe it’s because everyone eats at breakfast, lunch and dinner, hence the crowds but for all of the brilliance and imagination they display in entertainment, they lack in feeding their guests.

  12. Mike says

    AJ, it was great to meet you at the opening last night. Sorry to spent so much time talking to you while you were attempted to eat and photograph all the food! Our table loved our appetizers and entrees and the service was great, especially since opening night is usually prone to glitches. I liked the new design features and the lighting was more subdued than your pictures indicate …especially in the more intimate central dining area. We usually stay at the Boardwalk and I’m very happy to have another upscale dining option within close walking distance. And best calamari at Disney.

  13. Roz in Louisiana says

    Please hope it is included on the dining plan because we just got back from WDW this past Saturday, and if you don’t have the dining plan or free dining (preferably) you better take out a loan just for eating. The food along with all merchandise is totally out priced.
    Way not worth the prices that they charge.

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