slow service, great italian food, mediocre food, great dining experience, great bar, great trusty fare, beautiful setting
WORST SERVICE EVER!!!!!. we went to il fornaio last night for a friends 30th. they warned us that they were very 'crazy busy' (unprofessional to begin with), but we couldn't have expected such poor service! a server dropped a plate of pasta next to one of our group and it spattered all over him, and he was hardly offered an apology. the service was slow and inept--although they were busy, the servers seemed to be bustling about aimlessly. it took 30 minutes to get wine (and they forgot the water, which we had to ask for 4 times, and then only brought to half our table!), 20 more minutes for them to take our order, and another 30 minutes to get our food.we were not offered a second glass of wine ,or coffee at the end of our meal (talk about dropping the ball on sales!). besides the horrible service, the food was mediocre at best--my meal was quite good (i had a pasta special--beet ravioli w/sage cream sauce), but my boyfriend's salmon was fishy and overcooked and they forgot the crispy leeks that were supposed to be served with it, and another guest in our party had the rissotto special which was underseasoned and undercooked--hard rice=sooo gross! if you want crappy italian food you might as well go across the street to the macaroni grill. its about half the price and the service couldn't be any worse! i waited tables thru college and am usually the first one to 'cut some slack' to servers, but this was outrageous!!! i could go on and on about how bad it was!
Big, brassy, and hot, Il Fornaio demonstrates that chain restaurants can do it right..
At first glance Il Fornaio looks too frenetic and unwieldy to be a serious restaurant--but it is. The sprawling, stylish dining room attracts a diverse crowd. Adding to the show are the pyrotechnics in the gleaming open kitchen. At peak hours the place can be loud but not distractingly so.
The kitchen turns out well-honed renditions of regional northern Italian fare, with a dozen or more daily specials. For starters, salads are vibrant and attractive, as is the grilled ciabatta bread swathed with chopped tomatoes, basil and kalamata olives. All the pastas can be recommended--don't miss the ravioli filled with Swiss chard and pinenuts, and the mesquite-grilled chicken flattened with a brick (no joke) to make it extra crispy. Be sure to check out the impressive and fairly priced wine list.
Italian at it's worst. The food at Il Fornaio was poor at best. The service was slow and the food came out wrong. We tried them a second time, but it was the same. I am Italian and have never seen such poor quality in food presentation.
Service makes a difference!!. We've been to Il Fornaio twice - the first time was great - the second not so much. The sampler appetizer is great - and it was a pleasant surprise that it wasn't exactly the same each time. Everything we ate was delicious. The marguerita's are marginal, but since I'm not a wine drinker, I was at a disadvantaget there. About the service, though. The first time we had a charming waiter (Italian, ;-) ) who provided excellent service and we had a great experience - I couldn't wait to go back. The second visit, the service was terrible, we sat and waited for 10 minutes before we even saw our waiter and we couldn't get the waiter or bus boys attention when we needed something. After being so anxious to go back after our first visit, now I don't care if I never eat there again.
The good side of chains. If you have been up and down the California coast, odds are you have seen Il Fornaio. Great Italian food in a beautiful setting -- that is exactly what you are guaranteed each visit. The pasta with lobster and beef tenderloin are two musts.
Great bar, trusty fare. Il Fornaio is one of the better chain Italian restaurants. The Manhattan Beach restaurant in particular has a great bar, tucked in a corner. If you can find a seat at the counter, nosh on fresh-baked bread dipped in an olive-oil-vinegar mix and sample the grilled shrimp appetizer. The Peachywood Canyon Zinfandel is an excellent accompanyment.
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