Sunday, December 3, 2017

Trattoria al Forno Dinner - Disney's BoardWalk

Over Thanksgiving Break, my family had dinner at Trattoria al Forno, a table service restaurant on Disney's BoardWalk.  Trattoria al Forno, which serves Italian cuisine, has been one of our favorite restaurants at Disney World since it opened.  It is a short walk from the back entrance of Epcot, which is located between the United Kingdom and France pavilions.

Trattoria al Forno uses gluten free breadcrumbs in all of their dishes, which means that fried calamari, meatballs, and chicken Parmesan are all safe options.  Most allergy-friendly menus at Disney World will only include dishes that meet the standard of being safe for at least four allergies.  If you see a dish you are interested in on the regular menu, and it is not on the allergy-friendly menu, have your server check for you or ask to speak to a chef.

The following dishes are listed as gluten-friendly at Trattoria al Forno:
  • Calamari Fritti - crispy pepperoncini, balsamic agrodolce 
  • Insalata Caprese - fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, aged balsamic (ordered on a previous visit
  • Insalata de Stagione - seasonal salad, Rosa Regale vinaigrette

  • Wood-grilled Strip Steak - with rosemary potatoes and seasonal vegetable
  • Parmigiana di Pollo - with allergy-friendly past marinara
  • Pasta alla Bolognese - braised beef, smoked pork belly, mushrooms, tomatoes, allergy-friendly pasta
  • Pasta alla Carbonara - pancetta, local organic egg, Pecorino Romano, allergy-friendly pasta
  • Pesce al Forno Intero - whole-roasted fish with seasonal vegetables and charred lemon 
  • Chocolate or vanilla gelato
  • Strawberry-Basil Sorbetto
  • Vanilla Bean Cheesecake and Seasonal Fruit - A No Sugar Added Dessert

On a previous visit, our server told us that almost anything on the dinner menu can be made gluten free except the pizza, gnocchi and lasagna.

For guests ages 9 and under, gluten-friendly options include the mixed green salad, seasonal fish with vegetables and potatoes, grilled chicken breast with pasta and vegetables, pasta marinara with house-made meatballs, a fresh fruit cup, and vanilla gelato.  The Italian Garden - Meringue Mushroom S'mores were on Trattoria al Forno's old gluten free kids' menu, so they might still be gluten free.

Trattoria al Forno serves Deanna's Gluten Free dinner rolls, which I just placed an order for earlier today. They are my favorite gluten free rolls at Disney when they are heated well.  Sadly, for the second visit in a row, my roll was not heated all the way through.  In June, I sent them back, and was given perfectly heated rolls, but this time around, I did not want to fill up on bread, because of all the food my husband and I ordered, so I just took a few bites from the edges, which were heated better than the center.  I always request my own side of butter, so it does not get cross-contaminated by my family that eats the gluten-filled bread.

In the past, my favorite dish at Trattoria al Forno has been their calamari with crispy pepperoncini and balsamic agrodolce. I was surprised when our calamari arrived at the table with a lemon aioli drizzled all over it.  It was not mentioned on the regular menu I looked at outside the restaurant, or the allergy-friendly menu.  I do not like aioli, so I asked for the dish to be remade. I guess they were afraid I would send it back again, so version two arrived with the balsamic agrodolce on the side.

Here is a picture of the calamari we ordered in June, with the balsamic agrodolce on the plate.  Trattoria al Forno's calamari is one of my favorite gluten free appetizers at Disney World. The breading is nicely seasoned, and we all love the sweetness of the balsamic agrodolce.

For an entree, my husband and I shared the oak-grilled strip steak with fire-roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  The regular menu mentions that this dish is served with herb-scented beef butter, but it is not mentioned on the allergy-friendly menu.  I am not sure what was served on my steak, but it was one of the best entrees I have ever had at Disney, and I told my husband that it was better than the steak we make at home. This meal took place two weeks ago, so I am having a hard time recalling all the little details about this dish, but I remember the sauce on the steak being slightly sweet, and there was some type of meat mixed in with my potatoes, onions, and Brussels sprouts.  It tasted like pancetta, and I thought it might have been candied.  My steak was cooked to temperature, and it was incredibly tender.  My aunt ordered this dish too, and loved it as much as my husband and I did.

When I was told that the seasonal risotto was gluten free, and that is was pumpkin, we asked if we could order it as a side.  It was very good, but once I tried my steak, that was all I wanted to eat.

My mom always orders the whole-roasted fish with seasonal vegetables and charred lemon, which is another gluten free option on the allergy-friendly menu.  She shared a meal with my aunt, who ordered the oak-grilled strip steak.  My aunt thought the steak was better, but my mom picked the fish as her favorite dish.

I finished my meal with my favorite gluten free dessert, the pistachio-stracciatella gelato, which is not on the allergy-friendly menu, because it does not meet the standard of being safe for at least four allergies.  No matter how full I am after eating at Trattoria al Forno, I always enjoy this small bowl of gelato.

My mom asked for a sweet white wine before our entrees were served.  After smelling hers, I decided to order one myself, but did not like it enough to order it on future visits.  Keep in mind that I am super fussy about wine, and rarely find one that I like.

Overall, we all loved our meals at Trattoria al Forno, and look forward to having dinner there again in July.  My daughters shared their favorite dishes, the calamari and chicken Parmesan, a gluten-friendly option when made with gluten free pasta.  My dad ordered the pasta with clams, which he said was terrific.  A gluten-friendly version of this dish should be an option if made with gluten free pasta, because it used to be on the gluten free menu they had before the allergy-friendly menus were introduced.

Disney's BoardWalk Villas is one of our Disney Vacation Club home resorts, so it is super convenient to have breakfast and dinner at Trattoria al Forno when we are staying there.  Breakfast is difficult to book now, because of the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast, but they also have an a la carte menu and tables available inside and outside for walk-ins.

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

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


  1. Look at all that delicious food!! Alexis, I always enjoy reading your reviews. I would suggest noting that having dishes like calamari made with gluten-free bread crumbs alone doesn't make them gf, of course. Most of us know that but I'm surprised how many newbies don't know that dedicated fryers are needed as well to make such fried products gf. I am also surprised how many folks who eat gf for medical reasons will knowingly eat food from a shared fryer but that's another discussion. Again, I appreciate your reviews and sharing on Facebook and Twitter!


    1. Shirley, I don’t even think to include information about dedicated fryers or waffle makers in my Disney reviews anymore, because I have written so many of them, and just assume everyone knows they do things the right way. I will try to remember to include that info in the future, because it is a good reminder. I don’t ever eat foods made in shared fryers or on shared surfaces, which I do mention in my non-Disney reviews. Thank you for all you do for the celiac community! We need more advocates like you.

  2. This is super helpful. We're visiting soon and your post features a few of the gluten free dishes that we want to try. I'm looking forward to our reservation. Thanks