Trattoria al Forno
opened on Walt Disney World’s BoardWalk in 2014, and from its inception, the Italian eatery has been a warm and welcoming place for guests to enjoy a meal.
In 2017, Trattoria al Forno expanded its dining options by adding a unique character breakfast called the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast. This character meal allows guests to meet Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, Ariel, and Prince Eric while dining on entrees and pastries inspired by Tangled and The Little Mermaid.
The Bon Voyage Adventure is a playful meal full of references to the animated films, but dinner at Trattoria al Forno remains a sophisticated affair (as far as theme park dining goes). There’s no dress code here, which makes it a convenient spot to grab dinner after a day at nearby Hollywood Studios or Epcot. The restaurant is also just a quick walk from the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, making it relatively simple to get to even if you’re not staying at BoardWalk Inn and Villas.
We thoroughly enjoyed our initial dinner here when Trattoria opened, and I was excited to dig into more of the slightly eclectic menu and to savor a little more of the cozy ambiance.
Trattoria al Forno commands quite a bit of real estate on the BoardWalk, owing to its spacious interior. The black awnings and the gold text on the signs are classy and let you know that you’re about to dine in style. You’ll also find the BoardWalk’s walk-up pizza window tucked beneath one of the awnings.
The interior of the restaurant is not your cookie cutter Italian eatery. Diners find rich tones and materials, like rich wood ceiling panels and lots of filigreed wrought iron.
There are several dining rooms, each with its own tone but all with a sense of home featuring mismatched furniture, tufted booths, and a variety of warm lighting sources.
The high-backed, tufted booths are particularly cozy, giving your dining party a sense of separation and richness.
The so-called Tavern Room has high bricked walls, ceiling panels, iron details, and playful green chairs.
From just about anywhere in the restaurant, the absolutely massive open kitchen is visible. Diners can observe almost all aspects of work in the kitchen, which a fun element that adds to the feeling that you’ve come home, in a sense.
Design details include lots of rustic brick juxtaposed against modern elements, like stylish light fixtures.
No matter where you’re seated in Trattoria al Forno, the intent is warmth and comfort, and I appreciate pockets of this in the midst of the theme park World.
Trattoria al Forno is an Italian restaurant, but from our first visit, the menu included both classic preparations and new takes on traditional cuisine. The drink menu is similar in that diners can find Disney World favorites like the Magical Star Cocktail alongside slightly twisted drinks like the Italian Manhattan.
If you’re looking for a unique Italian drink, check out the Liquori Italiani at the end of the meal for digestives, liqueurs, and dessert wines.
The food menu includes Antipasti, Pizza al Forno — cooked in a huge wood-burning pizza oven — and Secondi Piatti.
The dessert menu is small but offers good variety. We’ll get back to this in a bit. 😉
I started my meal with Prosecco. It was a light, crisp way to begin.
I wanted to start with something light because I knew my meal was going to be rich and heavy. Delightfully so. 😉
Dinner at Trattoria al Forno starts with complimentary Ciabatta Bread that’s served with Tuscan Olive Oil.
The bread is served warm, and diners are encouraged to tear it apart rather than cut it.
Inside, the structure is airy and strong, and while I generally try not to fill up on bread, when it’s done this well… it’s hard not to eat more than you intend to eat.
I wanted to order one of the restaurant’s signature pizzas, and I couldn’t resist the Pizza Oliveri. This is topped with Smoked Prosciutto, Rosemary, Potato, and Fresh Mozzarella. The prosciutto was salty, and the fresh mozzarella was creamy and flavorful; but overall the pizza didn’t wow. While fine, it wasn’t noteworthy or destination-worthy dining.
First up for entrees was Oak-Grilled Strip Steak served with Fire-Roasted Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Herb-Scented Beef Butter. On my visit, the seasonal vegetables included broccolini and carrots.
The steak was cooked and seasoned appropriately, with distinctive grill marks.
The steak was also cooked to the perfect doneness for me, and it was still juicy. The Oak-Grilled Strip is a great (if not typically Italian) entree here, but if you’re in the market for steak, there are better to be found in Disney World — check out Shula’s Steakhouse, Yachtsman Steakhouse, and Le Cellier Steakhouse.
If you’re in the mood for pasta (and, really, when are we not?), you’ll find several options. And this is where Trattoria really shines. First up for me: Pasta alla Carbonara with House-Cured Pancetta, Local Organic Egg, Pecorino Romano, and Fresh Pasta. The key here in all aspects was the freshness.
The house-cured panchetta offered some briny savoriness, and the poached egg added lots of richness. The dish was seasoned well, and the addition of the micro-greens on top was interesting. I enjoyed this dish, and those who love a seriously runny egg atop a dish of tasty food will love it, too.
My second pasta dish was Polpette. Polpette translates to meatball, so if you see this on a menu, go for it! We enjoyed a giant polpette on our first visit here, and these smaller ones were just as flavorful. The ground veal, pork, and beef are laced with herbs, making these meatballs something special. In fact, despite the mealworm-ish look of the Ricotta Cavatelli pasta, this was probably my favorite dish of the night.
I wanted to give the desserts here another try. On our first visit, we found them to be lacking, which is disappointing when you’re finishing out an otherwise terrific meal. First up were Zeppoli — essentially Italian doughnuts — served with three dipping sauces (dark chocolate ganache, pistachio cream, and caramel). These were decent, and I appreciated having multiple sauces to mix and match. The doughnuts were a little dense, so you might consider sharing this one.
The Dark Chocolate Semolina Torta is served with Brachetto Raspberry Crema. Brachetto is an Italian red wine, so there’s a bit of a boozy undertone to this one. As for the dark chocolate in the dessert’s title? I didn’t really get much of that. It was definitely lighter on the chocolate than I was expecting it to be. Overall, this is forgettable.
The Budino was a simple dessert but was the most satisfying of the three. The Roasted White Chocolate Italian Custard beautifully coated the back of a spoon, and the House-made Amaretti Cookie was light and crispy.
The rich cherry atop the custard provided dramatic visual and flavor contrast. I really enjoyed this one.
So the desserts are a little improved over our last visit, but honestly? With Ample Hills Creamery and Boardwalk Bakery within easy walking distance, I might forego the dolci at Trattoria al Forno in favor of something more indulgent and delicious.
Nosh or Not?
Mangiare at Trattoria al Forno if:
- You’re planning a Disney date night and want to enjoy the BoardWalk.
- You’re an Italian food fan and want to dine at AAAAAALLLLLLLLL the many Italian restaurants in Disney World.
- You’re staying at the BoardWalk and like to try all the dining options offered at the resort.
Head elsewhere if:
- You don’t want to spend time and money on table service meals during your vacation.
- You’re not staying at the BoardWalk and don’t want to travel there.
- You aren’t a fan of Italian food.
Trattoria al Forno is a decent Disney restaurant option. The food is well-done and flavorful, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s not so fancy that you need to dress up, but if you want a nice night out, you certainly won’t feel out of place here. We’ve enjoyed our meals at Trattoria al Forno, and the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast is a terrific non-park character meal. And while it’s easy to forget the BoardWalk restaurants when you’re making reservations (unless, of course, you’re staying in one of the nearby resorts!), Trattoria al Forno is worth a try.
Have you enjoyed a meal at Trattoria al Forno? Let us know what you thought!