We’re heading to the BoardWalk cause Trattoria al Forno is changing things up!
Yesterday, the restaurant introduced TWO new menus! Now, obviously, we had to go check out the changes. Luckily, we were able to get in for dinner to try the new eats!
Trattoria al Forno is an Italian table-service restaurant located at Disney’s BoardWalk! Prior to Disney World’s closures, it offered an exciting character breakfast with lesser-seen characters like Prince Eric and Flynn Rider, along with their accompanying princesses, of course. Currently, it’s still got a full breakfast menu (sans characters), but our recent visit was all about dinner.
As you approach the restaurant, you’ll see black awnings complemented by gold accents. And, you’ll know just what you’re in for when you see the large signs boasting Neapolitan style pizza, house-made cavatelli, and super Tuscan wines.
The outside of the restaurant also hosts the BoardWalk Pizza Window where you can find freshly made personal and full-sized pizzas. Now, we could talk about pizza all day, but let’s get back on track. Inside the restaurant, you’re greeted with warm, rich colors, along with expansive wood-paneling. Not to mention, many bottles of wine.
Behind the check-in podium is a brick feature with a Trattoria al Forno sign placed in the middle, flanked by two tiny trees. The style here really welcomes guests into what feels like a classic Italian restaurant.
Deep reds complement the dark wood that is incorporated throughout the restaurant! The decorative elements change from room to room. Here, you can see darker shades in comparison to the light paint in the farther dining room. The use of different textures and elements, like carpeted and wood floors, adds more variety to the space.
The decor of this restaurant encompasses the entire dining room, all the way up to the ceiling. The unique paneling on the ceiling draws guests’ eyes up towards the charming, gold light fixtures. The walls are lined with spacious booths, and above them are black and white photos. In the middle of the room are distanced tables.
In other areas inside the restaurant, the walls are covered in brick. Together with the large, lace-covered windows, this combination creates an upscale feeling without any feeling of being stiff or uptight.
One of the most unique elements of Trattoria al Forno is the huge open kitchen on display. Guests can observe the happenings in the kitchen, which makes the dining experience feel a bit more personal since you’ve got a view of all the action.
Beyond the massive kitchen, there’s also a pizza oven for guests to see. It’s adorned with wooden pizza trays and rustic-looking jugs and crates.
At our table, we were presented with rolled silverware in a cloth napkin, a paper wine menu, and a scannable QR code to access the dinner menu. The use of QR codes in place of physical menus has been pretty commonplace in Disney World’s restaurants since its reopening last summer.
Alright. We’re seated. We’re ready. It’s time to check out that NEW menu!
In our past experiences, dinner at Trattoria al Forno has been decent. We’ve definitely enjoyed our meals here, and appreciate its balance between being a great spot for a night out and having a comforting, welcoming feel. Some of the most popular dishes here include handmade pasta and seasonal risotto.
We were presented with a paper menu outlining the sweeping wine selections (all Italian, may we add).
But, wait…there’s more.
Now, for what this trip was ALL about — getting our hands on that new menu! When perusing the new dinner menu yesterday, we noticed a whole bunch of new appetizers. We spotted new Coastal Mussels, Calamari, Salumi, and Roma Tomato Bruschetta. In addition, there are two new salads (Kale Caesar and Tuscan) and a new Minestrone Soup.
And holy smokes — when it comes to entrees, there are LOTS of new options! New to the menu are the Rosemary-Tuna Carpaccio, Veal Osso Buco, Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio, Shrimp Papardelle, Lasagna al Forno, and Plant-based Rigatoni Bolognese. How to choose?! (And, if you’re not interested in anything new, we’ve tried the Oak-grilled Strip Steak Florentine in the past, and it was pretty good!)
For pizza fans, there’s a whole new list of pizzas to try! You can go classic with the Pizze Margherita or Pizze Pepperoni. Or, try something a little different with the Pizze Bianca and Pizze Sicilian. The Pizza Carni is definitely made with meat-lovers in mind. And don’t forget the sides! This list is filled with Italian staples like Olives, Garlic Bread, Grilled Chicken Breast, Polpette, Shrimp Scampi, and Arrancini.
Over on the Kids’ Menu, you’ll find appetizers like a Mixed Green Salad and Tomato-Basil Soup. And, kids can “create” their own entrees with the choice of a main dish like Grilled White Fish, Grilled Chicken Breast, Meatballs, or Mickey Pizza (more on that later), along with a choice of two selections.
If you’re in the market for something sweet, dessert options include Dark Chocolate Semolina Torta, Affogato al Caffè, Panna Cotta, and House-made Gelato. Gone are the Budino and Zeppoli that we’ve tried in the past.
One of the chefs in the kitchen that helped develop some of these new items on this new menu is Chef Tim Majoras who has led the team at Flying Fish, also located on the BoardWalk. In 2019, Chef Majoras was recognized as Best Chef in Orlando Magazine’s Dining Awards. Flying Fish is still closed following the reopening, so Chef Tim was on hand working the kitchen! He and all the servers were clearly excited about the new menu — we spied them interacting with guests all night long. Chef Tim even came by our table to see how we were enjoying our meal! Speaking of which, let’s see what we got!
After some pretty tricky choices, we decided on…more than a few things. This was bound to be a “thankful we wore stretchy pants” type meal! Our server, Andrea, was super energetic and welcoming. She greeted us, along with her other tables, with a, “Hi, family!” She was very generous and contributed to the comfortable atmosphere of the restaurant.
As we waited for our appetizers to arrive, we tried out the bread service. This was ciabatta paired with olive oil topped with a balsamic drizzle, and an olive tapenade. The balsamic and tapenade are new additions from our last dinner here.
The bread was light and airy, but had a nice crunch to it. The tapenade was fresh and salty. Obviously, if you’re not a fan of briny olives, you might not want to chow down on that tapenade (it’s basically just chopped-up olives!). We really enjoyed it though!
The first dish we tried was the Roma Tomato Bruschetta ($13) from the appetizer menu. Grilled pieces of ciabatta were topped with Roma tomatoes, Genovese basil, aged balsamic, and endives for crunch.
The bread was crisp and crunchy and even remained that way after being topped with the juicy tomatoes. We really appreciated that the ciabatta didn’t get soggy. The combination of fresh ingredients was really delicious and flavorful. This is a light, fresh start to a meal and would be great if you’re anticipating a hefty, rich entree!
Next up, we tried the Crispy Pancetta Arrancini (how it’s spelled on the menu) for $14. This dish is classic Italian — fried Italian rice balls with mozzarella and coated in bread crumbs. Arborio rice is combined with Pecorino Romano and Fontina cheese, making it a cheesy, carby masterpiece.
They were served with marinara sauce on the bottom and alfredo on top. The pancetta here (basically Italian bacon) was ultra-crisp and shaped into little spirals!
This is listed on the menu as a side dish but we thought it made a great appetizer! These were especially delicious and flavorful. Plus, we didn’t mind looking at them either. 😉
We had to even out our carbs and cheese with some greens, so we ordered the new Kale Caesar Salad for $12. The salad combines Kale and Romaine Lettuce with House-made Parmesan-anchovy Dressing, wrapped up nicely in a rye bread crostini.
Isn’t that a pretty salad?! We thought this salad was tangy and all of the ingredients tasted very fresh. We used our resources wisely and broke up our rye crostini to use as croutons.
The parmesan-anchovy dressing coated the lettuce well — just enough so everything was covered, but not too much to make it soggy. (P.S. — don’t be grossed out by the idea of anchovy dressing — homemade Caesar dressing typically has them in there and you probably never noticed!) We really admired the way this salad was plated! You certainly don’t see a bundled salad every day.
Then it was 🎶pasta timeee🎶. We tried the Lasagna al Forno first. This dish comes with three different sauces — red pepper sauce, marinara, and alfredo. Rather than layering it like a traditional lasagna, the lasagna sheets were twisted to make little roll-ups!
The roll-ups are loaded with beef, veal, and pork as well as herbed ricotta and blended Italian cheese. Oh, and these things were generously stuffed. Plus, topped with crispy breadcrumbs!
The mixture of the three different sauces was delightful and creamy. Plus, the pasta was cooked perfectly. Not too mushy and just enough bite to it! If you’re looking for a rich and filling pasta dish, this is a great choice for $27!
We dabbled in some seafood with the Shrimp Pappardelle ($29). This dish included house-made pasta along with seven butterflied, sauteed shrimp.
There are so many different flavors going on here, too — capers, artichokes, garlic, yellow tomatoes, lemon zest, and cream atop house-made egg noodles. This mix of ingredients resulted in a sauce that was creamy and filling, as well as tangy and citrusy. And that was a great combo with the shrimp!
This was one of the biggest portions we encountered during our meal. And, these flavors were perfect for summer! The fresh basil on top was a nice touch as well!
For those on a plant-based diet, the Plant-based Rigatoni Bolognese is a great option! We spied this on the menu and, after Chef Tim came by and spoke with us about it, he brought out a small tasting portion for us to try! The bolognese is made with Beyond Sausage and Beyond Beef, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and housemade marinara, nestled on top of house-made Semolina Rigatoni.
If we hadn’t known that this dish was plant-based, we probably wouldn’t have guessed! It was really impressive, with lots of flavor coming from the garlic and herbs. The marinara tied the whole dish together really well. This one costs $25.
Alright, now just in case you had forgotten we were in Disney World…it’s time for Mickey-shaped food!! You knew it was coming, didn’t you? We ordered the Kids’ Mickey Cheese Pizza ($12).
The dough is house-made and topped with the same marinara sauce we tried throughout the other dishes. And, if Mickey Ears weren’t fun enough to begin with, these are made with CHEESY GARLIC BREAD! You might want your Mickey Ears covered in sequins and glitter, and we respect that. But, we’d definitely prefer ours to be garlic bread. Sry.
We thought this pizza was fun AND delicious! The crust was perfectly cooked thanks to the stone oven. FYI: there’s also a pepperoni pizza option, and, in that case, the pepperoni would only cover the slices, not the ears. For a kids’ pizza, this was a huge hit with us!
Then, it was time for some sweet stuff! In true Italian fashion, we tried the house-made gelato. We ordered one scoop but to our surprise, our amazing waitress brought out all four! WOW. We tried every flavor — Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Stracciatella, and Pistachio.
In Italian, “stracciare” means “to shred.” So, stracciatella is vanilla gelato with little shreds of chocolate mixed throughout. Think of it like chocolate chip ice cream but NEXT level. Super good. This adds a fun little crunch to every bite. We loved it!
Our second favorite had to be Pistachio. And we really loved the way it paired with the Milk Chocolate flavor! Every flavor was very creamy and delicious.
Each scoop costs $6.
Nosh or Not:
Consider trying the new menu at Trattoria al Forno if:
- You’re a lover of classic Italian food, but you’re not afraid of changing things up. Little modifications to classic Italian dishes (like the lasagna roll-ups) add a unique spin on a traditional meal.
- You’re looking for an upscale meal, but you don’t want to go all-out on an especially fancy experience — Trattoria al Forno offers the best of both worlds. The food is high quality but the location isn’t stuffy.
- You have an appreciation for fresh flavors and house-made ingredients. So many different things we enjoyed during our meal were made in-house!
Consider skipping Trattoria al Forno if:
- You’re not a big eater when in Disney World. Sometimes, the Florida heat makes you less hungry than you anticipated. The dishes here were definitely hearty and filling. So, if you’re not one to eat a whole lot, consider some appetizers or instead opt for the BoardWalk Pizza Window (or share an entree!).
- You don’t want to splurge on a meal. Although many of the portions here were sizable, this isn’t an inexpensive dining option.
- If you’re used to visiting Trattoria al Forno for the Bon Voyage Character Breakfast, you might be taken by surprise with the differences between the experiences. Now, we’re not saying you’ll be badly surprised, but if you’re used to the fun of visiting with Ariel and Rapunzel, you may want to shift your expectations accordingly.
As previously mentioned, we’ve enjoyed our past dinner experiences here at Trattoria al Forno. But, we really thought that this new menu took it to the next level! We were appreciative of all the different flavor pairings, fresh ingredients, and unique spins on classic Italian fare. And, it wasn’t just us. During our visit, we overheard guests saying they’d been dining at Trattoria al Forno for years, but their meal with the new menu was beyond anything they’ve experienced in the past!
If you’re looking for a change of scenery from the Disney World restaurants you normally frequent, this unsung option at the BoardWalk might be a nice change of pace! Change can often be a good thing and it sounds like these new menu options might’ve been the little refresh that Trattoria al Forno needed! Because of its proximity to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this could be a nice, relaxing sit-down meal following a long day in the parks. There are plenty of places in Disney World to get Italian food, but most of them aren’t…very…good. We were pretty surprised by how great we found everything we tried here!
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Have you ever dined at Trattoria al Forno? Tell us in the comments!