Friday, December 26, 2014

Trattoria al Forno Dinner - Disney's BoardWalk

Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, we dined at Trattoria al Forno, a casual Italian restaurant on Disney's BoardWalk.  Trattoria al Forno opened earlier this month, replacing Kouzzina, one of our favorite restaurants at Disney World.

Trattoria al Forno will be offering a gluten free menu at both breakfast and dinner, but they were not available for me to look at, because they are in the process of having them reprinted.  

Chef Miguel came out to speak with me about gluten free options on the menu.  I was shocked to find out that Trattoria al Forno is using gluten free breadcrumbs in all of their dishes, so I could enjoy the fried calamari, meatballs, chicken breast alla Parmigiana, and pork chop alla Milanese.  I could also order the pasta dishes, because they have Barilla gluten free spaghetti.  Gluten free pizzas are currently not available at Trattoria al Forno, but almost everything else on the menu was naturally gluten free, or could be modified to be gluten free.  

The rolls appeared to be the same dry Udi's rolls that I was served at The Wave last weekend.  They are definitely not worth eating.  I would much prefer a GNI roll, or a piece of toasted Udi's bread, which I know both restaurants have on hand for breakfast.

The highlight of my dinner at Trattoria al Forno was the fried calamari with white balsamic and lemon agrodolce.  It was just as delicious as the calamari I have had at the Flying Fish Cafe next door.  The agrodolce under the calamari was tart from the vinegar, which didn't appear to be white balsamic, and contained golden raisins and peppers.  I thought the breading was seasoned well, and I enjoyed my calamari with and without the agrodolce.  

I had a very hard time deciding on an entree.  I really wanted the pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes, and Genovese pesto, but spaghetti is my least favorite noodle.  I love Barilla gluten free pasta, but wish Trattoria al Forno carried their penne instead.  I ended up ordering the pork chop alla Milanese, which is a pork chop that has been pounded flat, then breaded.  It is usually topped with a shaved fennel-arugula salad, but I am not a fan of anything that tastes like black licorice, so I asked if they could substitute broccolini.  I found my pork to be a bit tasteless at first.  The breadcrumbs could use some salt and pepper.  I rectified the problem by asking our server for some salt and Parmesan, which added some much needed flavor.  I enjoyed my pork, which reminded me of the pork chops my Italian grandmother used to make, but I look forward to trying other entrees the next time we go to Trattoria al Forno.  

My broccolini, like my pork, was a little underseasoned, and I was shocked to see that we were charged for a side dish of it after we left the restaurant.  We spoke to a manager the next morning at breakfast, who gladly refunded our money.  This is not the first time this has happened to us at Disney, so be sure to check that you have not been charged for a side when you are substituting the vegetable in your entree.  

Gluten free dessert options include the affogato al caffe (espresso with choice of hazelnut or vanilla gelato), spaghetti gelato and meatballs, lemon panna cotta with almond crunch & macerated berries, or a spoonful of gelato (choice of hazelnut, double dark chocolate, strawberry-basil-balsamic, or pistachio-stracciatella).  I would have loved to have tried the lemon panna cotta, but I don't eat desserts with sugar substitutes.  

We ended up ordering three different types of gelato.  The pistachio-stracciatella was so smooth and creamy, and I actually didn't mind the chocolate running throughout it, which I wasn't sure I would like in pistachio gelato.  My husband chose the strawberry-basil-balsamic, which he liked, but I thought was too sweet.  My girls both loved their double dark chocolate gelato, but we all thought the portion size for all of our desserts was way too small.  

My husband and daughters, who do not have to eat gluten free, did not love either one of the entrees they shared.  They agreed that the lasagna could not compare to the lasagna they love at Maggiano's on International Drive.  My husband thought it was a little tasteless, and that there was too much pasta, and too little cheese and meat.  The prosciutto, potato, rosemary, and mozzarella pizza they ordered was served with tomato sauce, which they were not expecting.  It was not mentioned on the menu, and my husband and I both thought the pizza would be served like the pizza we so loved in Italy, without red sauce.  My husband said the crust was good, but the sauce drowned out the other elements of the pizza that he wanted to taste, like the prosciutto and potato.   Lesson learned - always assume that pizzas in America will be served with red sauce, so ask before ordering.

All of us agreed that we preferred the breakfast we had at Trattoria al Forno, which you can read about here, but I do look forward to dining at the newest restaurant on Disney's BoardWalk again soon for both breakfast and dinner.

February 15, 2014 Update

Last night, we celebrated Valentine's Day at Trattoria al Forno.  We started with their calamari, which is so ridiculously good, I might just order it as my entree the next time we dine there. 

This time around, I did ask for Udi's gluten free bread, which was lightly toasted, instead of the rolls I did not enjoy on our last visit.  The bread was great with some butter, and our waitress suggested dipping it in the agrodolce that comes with the calamari.  

My husband and I split two of the entrees on their gluten free menu.  The Pasta all Carbonara with guanciale was good, but not good enough to order again.  You could definitely taste the egg, but I found myself missing bacon on this dish.  The guanciale was either too scarce, or does not have as strong a taste as bacon, which I like a lot of on carbonara.  

The slow-cooked lamb shank with polenta was also good, but couldn't match the deliciousness of my favorite lamb dish at Sanaa.  The meat was incredibly tender, but I found my polenta to be a little runny.  My husband enjoyed both of our entrees much more than I did, and had no complaints about our food.

For dessert, I ordered both the spaghetti gelato with meatballs, and pistachio-stracciatella gelato.  Since the portions are on the smaller side, and it was Valentine's Day, I treated myself to two desserts.  The pistachio gelato was just as good as it was on Christmas Eve, but in the future, I will probably order the spaghetti gelato (vanilla gelato) and meatballs (raspberries coated in gluten free bread crumbs).  I loved the presentation, and the spaghetti (raspberry) sauce on the vanilla gelato, and the meatballs were delicious.  

We will be dining at Trattoria al Forno again over Spring Break with my parents, and I plan on sampling more of the dishes on their gluten free menu.  My daughters split an order of the chicken parmesan tonight, and loved it.  I would have liked to have tried their chicken, which is naturally gluten free, but it was sitting on a plate with gluten-filled pasta.  My husband sampled a bite while he was cutting it, and said it was delicious.

March 18, 2015 Update

Last night, we had dinner at Trattoria al Forno with my parents. 

My girls split an order of the Chicken Breast alla Parmigiana with pasta, which can be made with gluten free Barilla spaghetti.  They said it was even better than the last time they ordered it.  

My mom enjoyed her whole-roasted fish with roasted vegetables, which is another option on the gluten free menu.

Both my dad and I ordered the pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes, and Genovese pesto, which is the best entree I have had at Trattoria al Forno.  The pasta was perfectly cooked and sauced, and I loved the thin slices of roasted potatoes.  I am definitely going to have to try to recreate this dish at home with my homemade pesto.  My husband enjoyed his braised beef Bolognese with pasta, another dish that can be made gluten free.  He said the beef was nice and tender, and reminded him of a dish his grandmother used to make.

Trattoria al Forno's current gluten free offerings include:


  • Fried calamari
  • Shaved Italian cured meats with house-pickled peppers, olive, and caponata
  • Venetian mussels with tomato-curry broth
  • Regional Italian soup of the day
  • Romaine lettuce with cucumber, tomato, olives, and shaved Pecorino Romano
  • Caprese salad with house-made mozzarella
  • Grilled treviso with gorgonzola dolce and pistachio gremolata
Pasta e Riso
  • Spaghetti alla Vongole (spaghetti with clams)
  • Polpetta gigante - giant meatball with pasta
  • Seasonal risotto
  • Pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes, and Genovese pesto
  • Pasta alla Carbonara
Carni e Pesci
  • T-Bone Steak Florentine with broccolini
  • Slow-cooked lamb shank with soft polenta
  • Chicken Breast alla Parmigiana with pasta (chicken parmesan with gluten free spaghetti)  
  • Pork chop alla Milanese topped with shaved fennel-arugula salad
  • Eggplant rollatini with shaved fennel-arugula salad
  • Sauteed shrimp with lemon caper and anchovy butter with polenta
  • Braised beef Bolognese with pasta
  • Whole-roasted fish with roasted vegetables
  • Lemon panna cotta with almond crunch and macerated berries (a no sugar added dessert)
  • Affogato al Caffe - espresso with choice of hazelnut or vanilla gelato
  • Spoonful of gelato - choice of hazelnut, double dark chocolate, strawberry-basil-balsamic, or pistachio-stracciatella
  • Spaghetti gelato and meatballs
Kids' Meals
  • Appetizers - mixed green salad with fat-free ranch dressing
  • Mickey Check Meals (served with choice of lowfat milk or small Dasani water, and fresh fruit for dessert) - seasonal fish with green beans and potatoes; grilled chicken breast with pasta marinara and green beans
  • Desserts - Italian garden meringue mushroom s'mores

July 27, 2015 Update

On Saturday, we had dinner at Trattoria al Forno.  I was shocked when I saw their new allergy-friendly menu, because the gluten free menu they used to have listed 3 more gluten free appetizers, 8 more entrees, and 2 more desserts.  Because the pasta dish I was interested in ordering wasn't on the new menu, I asked to speak to a chef, who said he could prepare the dish for me by simply using gluten free spaghetti.

I asked for toasted Udi's bread instead of rolls, which looked great upon arrival, but I quickly discovered that my bread was only toasted on one side, which made it much less appetizing.

When my pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes, and Genovese pesto arrived, I noticed right away that it was swimming in oil.  It was so over sauced, I couldn't eat much of it.  When I told our server about it, she sent over a manager to talk to me.  

The manager was very apologetic, and offered me a new entree.  I decided to try the chicken parmesan, but asked for it without the pasta and without sauce, because I typically do not like red sauces.  When my new entree arrived with sauce, I didn't say anything about it being prepared incorrectly, because I did not want to send back a second meal.  I didn't love the sauce, but the chicken was excellent.  I could see myself ordering this dish with freshly grated parmesan on top of the chicken instead of sauce and melted cheese.

My pasta dish was removed from our bill, but I was charged for the chicken parmesan, which was several dollars more.  I don't mind paying for my meal, but I received the chicken parmesan without pasta, so it would have made sense to charge me for my original entree, which cost less.  I did receive a complimentary dish of pistachio gelato, but sadly, it tasted old, and as usual, the portion size was ridiculously small.  

The highlight of my meal was the fried calamari, which never disappoints.  

I spoke to the manager on duty about the reduced number of gluten free dishes on their new allergy-friendly menu, and she didn't really have a good explanation for it.  For my pesto pasta dish, she thought maybe it wasn't on the menu because it contains nuts, but that didn't make much sense to me, because it could just be listed without a peanut/tree nut designation.  I assume that all the dishes on Trattoria al Forno's old gluten free menu can still be prepared gluten free if you talk to a chef, which is why I have left that information in this post.

You can view Trattoria al Forno's menus, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Trattoria al Forno?


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