Forno Osteria & Bar – Cincinnati, OH
Here is a restaurant review of Forno Osteria & Bar in Cincinnati from Doug Roberts. He’s a food lover, wine lover and has a super palate. I take his word on restaurants very seriously.
Forno Osteria, Pizza, Pasta, Gnocchi, More
There is nothing I love better than a cozy, neighborhood restaurant with outdoor seating, a friendly and knowledgable wait staff, and great food. Forno Osteria & Bar in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Cincinnati is just such a place. All of the online reviews I read bragged on their wait staff and I concur.
The menu is right up my alley. At most restaurants I visit, I know what I want to order within one minute of scanning the menu, as there will be one or two items that stand out. Not here. The entire menu stands out, and I plan on coming back here to eat my way through their menu.
They have a very impressive wine selection, with many affordable red wine options by the bottle, with a heavy emphasis on Italian reds, which are my favorite. While they don’t offer a large by the glass selection, they do have enough good options that you won’t be disappointed. On my first visit I had an $11 Chianti Classico and on this last visit I had a $14 Super Tuscan and both were fantastic.
On my first visit I started with the Sicilian salad with shaved fennel, arugula, orange, anchovy, with a shallot vinaigrette. It was so delicious. Unfortunately, I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture. On this last visit, I ordered the goat cheese & chestnut honey bruschetta, which was so good I could have eaten it as an entree.
This is obviously a place to get pizza, as they are known for their wood fired brick oven. However, they are also known for their pasta dishes. SpinachTiger would probably be surprised that, on my first visit, I chose gnocchi over pizza (I was just in a gnocchi mood) and it was fantastic. Soft, pillowy perfection, with Leek-Parmigiana fondue and speck.
On this last visit, I got the Calabrese pizza.
This is not the best pizza I’ve had in the states, but it is excellent and I enjoyed it immensely, all the more so because of the perfect atmosphere, sitting outside on the sidewalk with ideal weather. I would think I was in Italy if it weren’t for the SUV’s lining the street rather than Vespas and smart cars.
While the inside of the restaurant is beautiful and cozy with lots of wood and brick, I opted to sit outside whenever the weather permits, which has been both of my visits so far.
There are many things on the menu that I am anxious to try on future visits. A few standouts are the braised honeycomb tripe appetizer, the octopus salad with potato & escarole, and the tagliatelle bolognese made with beef and veal. Also, I can’t wait to try their Ribollita, a Minestrone soup made with organic Tuscan kale, Umbrian olive oil with smashed bread. This is one of my favorite dishes that I had in Italy so I hope this lives up to my memory.
So far, I have not ordered a desert here as I am trying to cut out sweets and there was nothing so compelling to cause me to make an exception. I did order a macchiato, which was a perfect end to a nearly perfect experience. This is one of those places that I can’t wait to visit with SpinachTiger so I can share the experience with her. While I have never minded dining alone, it is so much more fun sharing the experience with someone else who appreciates the great food and atmosphere, and all the better when it’s the one you love.
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