I’ve heard mumblings about Al Forno in Providence for years. People raving it’s the best restaurant in the city or that it changed the way people dined in Providence since it’s opening in 1980. So obviously, Al Forno was on my radar. My mother-in-law recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and Will and I decided to take her to Al Forno to ring in her special year. And, we were not disappointed.
Located in a semi remote and quiet area in the city, Al Forno is situated in a renovated two-story brick mill building with quaint pockets of dining areas. They don’t accept reservations, so naturally we arrived at 5:08pm. While there was a wait (!), the stars aligned and we were seated right away at a Chef’s table near the bar with a fireplace roaring a few feet away.
After studying the menu for weeks, I knew we needed their famous clams, and a salad, pizza, pasta, entree, and of course, their made-to-order desserts. We/I decided on the Al Forno clams, Caesar salad, mushroom duxelles pizza, short rib ravioli, seared scallops, and the chocolate bread pudding. Everything was tasty and well prepared. Some dishes I preferred over others. The clams were good in a spicy sauce — make sure to save some of that delicious bread to sop up the sauce. The Caesar dressing was well balanced, not too creamy with a hint of anchovies and acidity. The pizza was a stand out — they grill the dough so it’s nice and thin-crusted with the perfect blend of cheese and toppings. In fact, we ordered a pepperoni pizza to go. Yes, we did that. I liked the short rib ravioli — lots of little dumpling-like bon bons — but I wished the sauce was a tad thicker and I found the meat inside the raviolis to be slightly dry. The scallops were excellent and that chocolate bread pudding was a true stunner.
There is still so much more to explore and I cannot wait to return!
577 S Water St, Providence, RI 02903