Review: Il Fornello on the Danforth, Toronto

Oh My God. I have now posted Three Hundred Restaurant reviews since moving to Toronto in the winter of 2010! It was only a month or so ago that I decided it would be a fun project (read: brainless work with no real reward) to go back to my very first blog post (some 950 or so ago) to number every restaurant review I had posted since moving to Toronto. Seems like I have been celebrating one lovely achievement after the other. Just last week I announced my 200 000th viewer on dobbernationLOVES with my post Two Hundred Grand. “When it rains, it pours diamonds.”

A lot of people ask me how many restaurants I have eaten at. I would typically respond “oh probably over 200 by now.” I was very interested to see how many I had actually showcased here on dobbernationLOVES. I’m also sort of obsessed with lists so am going to continue to enjoy tallying these up. I just try and avoid thinking about how many calories those meals packed into my gut. It’s nicer to reflect on how these 300 meals have inspired me and allowed me to share unforgettable moments with friends and family (and well all of you on the internet too!)

So I organized a celebratory dinner and invited two of my best friends Mel and Erica as well as my family (mother, father and sister). I wanted to eat at a restaurant that I had actually experienced before. There is something nice about familiarity (this may shock you but sometimes restaurant reviews can cause a bit of anxiety when everything from food to service can sour). I wanted us all to be able to relax, enjoy good food and celebrate this milestone in my blogging career. I knew Il Fornello would be able to offer this excellent service, comfortable ambiance and stellar food.

I had the opportunity to meet the owner and chef of Il Fornello at their Queens Quay location last spring and summer when I reviewed their restaurant on the lake and also attended an event they hosted entitled 100% Waterfront. I had heard many great things about the ambiance of their Danforth location and was looking forward to sampling their winter menu.

Chef Ryan comments on the restaurants menu refresh:

Rather than make whole changes to an already popular menu, my main goal was to tweak and adjust recipes of items we wanted to keep and add new items we thought would be appealing to our customers. For the items we wanted to keep, we reviewed ingredients and preparation methods to ensure that we were getting the best results possible. Additions to our appetizer menu include grilled calamari, cod cakes,  bresaola and bruschetta with smoked salmon and mascarpone, items that are more reflective of Italian antipasti. With the help of our Chef dell Pizza Craig Ovenstone, we made significant changes to the pizza menu to put our pizzas on par with the traditional Neapolitan style. This began with a new crust recipe and a larger portion to make the pizza larger. We then developed a new sauce recipe with imported Italian tomatoes as the base and introduced more authentic Italian ingredients such as sopressata, speck, gorgonzola, ricotta di bufala, taleggio cheese. And the cheese we use now is fior di latte which is made daily exclusively for us.

We arrived shortly after 6pm and enjoyed several hours of wining and dining. We all raised our glasses and toasted dobbernationLOVES. Hours upon hours of early mornings and late nights writing and editing pictures culminated in a delightful Italian dinner with the friends and family in my life who matter most. So here is to another 300 restaurants! Clinks Glass!

Special thanks to the team at Il Fornello for hosting us as their guest for dinner.

We enjoyed (*notes my favorites):

-First Course-

Passionfruit Mimosa *

Bellini Cocktail *

Antipasto Plate

bresola, arugula with crostini, proscuitto, grissini, piave cheese, buffalo mozzarella and tomato caprese salad, marinated green and black olives


crispy fried with lemon caper aioli

Insalata Gorgonzola *

arugula, pear, gorgonzola candied pecan, red wine mustard dressing

-Second Course-

Ianselmi San Vincenzo Soave ’10

Donna Marzia Primitivo Conti Zecca *

Carbonara *

leeks, double smoked bacon, egg, cream, pecorino

Fettuccine Alfredo *

white wine, cream, butter, chicken and parmesan

Steak and Gnocchi *

N. Y. striploin, house made gnocchi in cherry tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil

Ravioli *

house made ravioli filled with sweet potato and ricotta with prosciutto, olive oil and sage

-Third Course-

Pizza Taleggio *

mascarpone, taleggio, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil

Pizza Fichi *

mascarpone, taleggio, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil

Salsiccia Italiana

tomato sauce, mozzarella, house made sausage, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers

-Fourth Course-

tea and cappuccino

Orange Polenta Cake

almond chocolate sauce, sour cream

Zeppole *

italian donuts tossed in cinnamon sugar served with vanilla ice cream

#300 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

Il Fornello on Urbanspoon

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