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“Needs Better Pizza” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Il Fornaio

Il Fornaio
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Ranked #19 of 192 Restaurants in Manhattan Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $50
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Brunch, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Aviation Blvd.
Transit: Blue Line
Description: Step inside Il Fornaio and take a culinary journey through Italy. Early mornings bring rustic, crisp crusted bread hot from the oven accompanied by the scent of fresh brewed espresso. During lunch and dinner hours, pastas and flavorful sauces simmer while meats and vegetables roast over hot coals. Bottles of wine from small, regional wineries are uncorked to complement the dishes, which have been crafted in the custom of Italy's chefs, bakers and homemakers. Il Fornaio means "the Baker" in Italian. This award-winning restaurant offers an authentic and unique Italian dining experience. Specialties include wood-fired rotisserie and grilled meats, poultry and game; housemade pastas; pizzas from an oak wood burning oven; fresh salads and housemade soups; a wide variety of desserts; and fresh baked bread made daily from scratch. Winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Needs Better Pizza”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

Il Fornaio is a favorite of ours. We go there often. This time we ordered their pizza (Cristina) for the first time. It turned out to be dull and tasteless (also upscale Tin Roof Bistro nearby has much better pizza), quite disappointing. Shared antipasti and dessert were delicious though. Service was excellent, as always. Don't want it to be like a pizza joint pizza, but they need to raise the taste and quality level to match the rest of their menu.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank chascal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    75
    65
    15
    9
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Wine? sure! Beer? What's beer?”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2012

We met family here for dinner on a Saturday night, early. We had reservations. When we entered, we were immediately seated, the server came to take our drink orders, they have an extensive list of wine, it isn't clear which are available by the glass and which require an entire bottle. No other beverages are listed, I had to ask about the beer selection, the waiter could name two. They brought bread for the table and oil and balsamic to dip. Dinner was very tasty, although they overcooked one of our meals. They took the plate and came back with a new entree to go. It was reasonably priced and the staff were very gracious. I would dine here again.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank TsarChasm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan Beach, CA
Level Contributor
57 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Good atmosphere, but it doesn't taste so good”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 11, 2012

We walked in and it had a very Italian atmosphere. Beautiful restaurant. Our waiter had a deep accent.The food came out warm and it looked amazing. We were disappointed by the taste.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Bubbles72000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Better than I expected”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2012

This is another chain restaurant that i feel comfortable recommending. Very attentive service, a well designed space for atmosphere and conversation, and great salads and pasta dishes. If you want something with FULL flavor, probably not the place to go. It appeals more to the middle of the road italian cuisine crowd.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank matski_001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gold Coast
Level Contributor
45 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Sublime Italian......!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2012

Il Fornaio is so good I'd normally keep it to myself, however it's a big restaurant and they have many so I guess one more accolade won't make a lot of difference. We went there at the end of a long road trip (actually, two road trips) over five weeks and we were stunned, firstly by the room, gorgeously and classically ornate, great comfort and studied Italianate ambiance and then by the extent of the menu. We sat at the end of the room in a booth for two, so cozy, near an open fireplace (might have been a bit early for this, the day was 85*!!) and admired the hand painted murals.

The staff were attentive but not intrusive (Italians do this soooo well!!), we started with a complimentary bread basket, olive oil and balsamic. I couldn't tempt my wife with a starter (shame, I would have liked to have tried their carpaccio, but we had been eating out for five weeks solid!!), so we had just entrees. I had the bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge T-bone (porterhouse) simply char grilled with olive oil and lemon. Mmmmm.... medium rare and perfecto! My wife had the Petto di Pollo, free range and it does have a different taste, texture and colour to battery chicken, my wife ate it all (unusually!!) Both dishes nicely accompanied with contorni..

We complemented the food with a bottle of Nero D'Avolo, a native Sicilian red, actually I could write a paragraph about this $30 wine, let's just say it's a first for us and we loved it!

We paid a very modest-at-the-quality bill and wandered off into the night. As we looked for the car wife said 'you know, if we lived here (we're Australian) we'd be regulars' I replied 'yes, at least weekly!!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Cornucopia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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