By Nick

A few months ago, Trattoria al Forno opened at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort in Walt Disney World, replacing Kouzzina by Cat Cora.

Trattoria al Forno takes it’s patrons on a taste tour of Italy featuring regional specialties as well as classic dishes, such as wood-fired pizzas made with house-made-daily mozzarella and pastas prepared al forno, which is Italian for baked in an oven, using authentic ingredients and recipes hailing from all over Italy.

There is a wonderful back story created by Walt Disney Imagineering that tells of an Italian family that ran a modest tavern and boarding house on the boardwalk, which expanded over the years into a popular restaurant. As the establishment was handed down, each generation added their own touches to the meals and the restaurant’s design.

The interior helps to convey this story, starting with the original Entrata, or entrance, where the story begins, with intage family photos lining the walls introducing the generational story. A custom wine cabinet displays authentic regional wines offered on the menu.

The story continues into the dining areas, which were once boarding house spaces. There are four distinct rooms, with furnishings, finishes and lighting relating to the character of each original boarding house room.

The three main dining rooms are open to the show kitchen and to each other.

 On to the important part. The food!

My wife and I had dinner here in January, and it was the best meal of that trip.

The meal started with a warm loaf of Ciabatta Bread.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a beer guy, but I chose to go with the Romantic wine flight on that evening, primarily because I wanted to try the Sogno d’Italia Chianti, which is made exclusively for Disney.

Trattoria al Forno has an extensive, 100% Italian, wine list with over 60 offerings by bottle and more than 25 by glass.

For an appetizer, we shared the Fried Calamari with White Balsami and Lemon Agrodolce which is a traditional sweet and sour Italian sauce. Calamari is one of my favorites, and this was in all honesty one of the best I’ve ever had. Perfectly cooked and the sauce was excellent.

While our entrees were very good, we both agree we’d try something different next time.

Barbie had the Eggplant Rollatini with shaved fennel-arugula salad.

She actually preferred my meal which was the Braised Beef with house-made cavatelli. The beef was very tasty, but it could have used more sauce, as it was a huge hunk of meat, which would have benefited from more of a flavor variety.

Desserts were terrific. Barbie had the Tiramisu, lady finger-soaked espresso and layered with Italian mascarpone cream.

 I had the Bomboloni, essentially an Italian doughnut with dark chocolate, served with vanilla gelato.

Both my wife and I look forward to returning to try more meals at Trattoria al Forno in the future.