Being Italian myself, I have very high requirements for an Italian restaurant. Over time I’ve slowly but surely removed the various Italian restaurants in Manhattan from my list of acceptable restaurants. It’s not that they’re not good; it’s more that they are good, and not great. My mother is a great cook, and I’ve just been having a hard time accepting food cooked by someone else which isn’t as good as my mother’s. I feel a little bad for the restaurants, since it’s not really their fault. My mother just sets a high bar, a challenging target. And few measure up.
With that said, I am eternally interested in finding new, interesting, and hopefully exciting places. I always want to find and share great places. And that means that I try every restaurant that I can, especially Italian restaurants. I hold out hope that each new one I try will actually end up being worthy of my comparison to my mother’s food.
The restaurant takes advantage of the best part of Medellin: it’s eternally temperate climate. The restaurant is open-air. It’s in a building, so there’s a roof overhead, but there are no outside walls or even windows. Any inclement weather is hopefully warded off by the overhanging roof. I think it’s a great idea!
Peering at the menu, my optimism was perked up a bit. They had stuffed tomatoes, grilled portobello mushrooms, and many of the antipasti that I would expect to see in a top notch restaurant.
We picked up the beef carpaccio for an appetizer (I know it’s meant to be a meal…). I was immediately satisfied that this place was worth the hype. And if there isn’t any, there should be! The beef was excellent, and clearly prepared just exactly as it should have been!
My wife ordered a basil seafood salad. The seafood turned out to be shrimp, calamari, and crab. The seafood was fresh, lightly sautéed in olive oil, and tasted delicious. The salad was served fully mixed with some caramelized toasted onions which were good enough to have made me proud!
I ordered a combo plate with a salad, chicken breast, and pork chop. The chicken was lightly spiced with salt, pepper, and basil, with a drizzle of olive oil over it. I enjoyed it a lot, and may have wished for both pieces of meat to be a chicken breast if not for the pork. The pork was done to perfection. It was soft and flavorful on the inside, while the outside was crisped just right, complimenting the pork flavor with the lightly charred flavor that I love.
I can’t help but be excited by il forno. Finding an Italian restaurant worth my recommendation is definitely something I am willing to go well out of my way for! And il forno is definitely worth stopping in!