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: