In Medellin, one of the first restaurants someone recommended to me was Il Forno.
It’s an Italian place, and Steve, the person who recommended it, is half Sicilian, a native New Yorker who also has Italian citizenship.
Steve makes delicious tomato sauce from scratch, something he let me try a couple of times and later taught me how to make, so if he says Il Forno is good, I’m going to take his word for it. And I decided to find out for myself too.
There are 13 locations, according to the website, and two that I have been to: one in the Zona Rosa at Parque Lleras, the other at the Los Molinos mall in Belén.
The first time I ate there, it was at the one in Parque Lleras. My friend Valentina invited me to have a beer in Parque Lleras at Dash, the bar where she works, and since I was already going to be in the area — I teach English in the nearby Castropol community — I took her up on her offer. Her friend Maria was there too, and eventually, we got hungry. They decided to get a to-go order from Il Forno.
“Mi amigo me dijo sobre este restaurante,” I told them, my excitement quite obvious.
I wasn’t very hungry, because I had eaten a late lunch, so I got something small: chicken cannelloni with a tiny Cesar salad on the side.
Cannelloni has always been one of my favorite Italian foods and since one of the options was for just one with a salad — more than enough to fill me up on that night — it was an easy decision. I think I paid only 11,000 pesos, or just under $6, and it was delicious.
Maria and Valentina split a pizza. I think it was a typical basil and tomato pizza, and they liked it a lot. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t have a camera so I couldn’t take any pictures. But I knew I’d be back.
I returned to Il Forno this month, this time to the one at Los Molinos, and I was really hungry and camera-ready. I wanted a big lunch. I ordered Cannelloni again, but this time I got the regular order, the one that comes with three of them and bread as well.
My friend Jeison got the same thing and Lucas ordered spaghetti alfredo. Once again, everyone enjoyed their food. The service was really good too, the staff very friendly.
My cannelloni was stuffed with chicken, ham and mushrooms and covered with mozzarella cheese. Even though I was hungry, I couldn’t finish it. Jeison and Lucas couldn’t finish their food either. That means leftovers. Jeison also told me to take his leftovers, so I had enough for dinner.
We were smiling even more when we got the check: only 33,000 pesos, or a little over $16. There is no way you can find that much good food for that price in the United States. No way.
There’s also no way I’ll stay away from Il Forno for long.
Additional photos from Il Forno:
Have to disagree. Il Forno is terrible. Most of the dishes smell like vomit. I’m going to assume you are British. And by the way they have at least 7 locations in Medellin.
I prefer real Italian food. In Medellin I definitely recommend Opera (Calle 42, 70-22, Medellin, Colombia )
@catalina: no, i’m not british. and yes, i know there’s better italian food out there. but i still think it’s pretty good, especially for the price. but i’ll be trying the higher end places soon enough. oh, and i found out there are 13 locations. one of my local friends told me he knew only of the two. my bad!
@alexander: i will definitely check out opera.
I’ll put in a good word for Il Forno, I love it too. Great (super-economical) place to go get a bite to eat.
The person who said Il Forno is bad is a hater for real. It’s very good Italian restaurant and it’s success and ability to continually grow as a franchise is proof.
I absolutely love the spaghetti carbonara and steak combo at Il Forno…just the right amount of each. nice atmosphere and the pepperoni pizza is pretty good too. The Bolognese sauce was a little thin..I will stick with the lomito and carbonara.
I have to agree with Catalina and Alexander! I am Italian and I love food (eating and cooking)! Unfortunately Il Forno is an insult to Italian cousin. I definitely do not recommend to go there if you are looking for Italian food. It’s like going to Domino’s for pizza, it just tastes so different that should not even be allowed to call it pizza (American Pie it’s a more appropriate term).
Anyways, thanks Ryan for trying and writing about restaurants in Medellín area, my only advise is: be more critical 🙂