Typically, I don't prefer corporate chain restaurants, especially Italian chains. The food is usually only fair on their best days and pretty unimaginative. However, Il Fornaio is an exception. To be fair, it's not the standard chain. They don't have hundreds of locations and they are much more upscale than most others.
Il Fornaio truly acts as if it's a high-end local restaurant even though the menu is the same from location to location. Regardless, the food is very good, with a pretty good variety, and the service is first-rate. The atmosphere is excellent.
The kitchen is amenable to modifying dishes to suit your taste and however it's ordered, it comes out beautifully. The food is flavored just right and to the right doneness. I highly recommend the risotto which is cooked to perfection.
The pizzas are wonderful which coming from me--a pepperoni/sausage/mushroom guy--is quite a compliment as I rarely like the "gourmet" type pizzas.
Pure and simple, Il Fornaio is a great place to go if you want a nice night out.
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