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Forno Italia

43-19 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, NY - (718) 267-1068
Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on May 22, 2008 7:15 AM
Crust is the story at Forno Italia. The pizza dough is stretched out on a semolina-sprinkled board, resulting in a sandy-textured surface around the edge and underneath the pie. It's baked in an impressive wood-burning oven, which you see to your left as you enter. These pizzas pick up a whiff of smoke from that oven, and the intense heat gives the crust a good crunch without drying it out. The baked crust has a faint yeastiness and well-developed flavor to go along with a chewy texture. There won't be a pan of pizza crust edges left over on your table.

And in fact, one of the finest pizzas you can have at Forno is not a pizza at all, and won't cost you a cent. A basket of hot-from-the-oven focaccia is presented to your table even if you've ordered pizzas. This bread is exactly the same pizza dough used in the pies, seasoned with oil and salt and rosemary. We could eat baskets of this stuff and call it lunch, but then we'd miss out on the housemade mozzarella that tops the individually-sized pies.

The best of the bunch is the white pie that showcases this mozzarella, a pure white field dotted with occasional tan freckles where the cheese has toasted. The pizza is well-oiled and garlicked. The red pies are painted with tomatoes and topped with a judicious hand. The pie named Forno Italia holds crumbled Italian sausage with serious red pepper heat. Each pizza is cut in quarters, and is a very generous serving for one, but not really sized for two eaters(certainly not two pizza fanatics like us). We recommend getting three pies for variety's sake, and taking the leftovers home.

Forno Italia is not really a pizzeria. It's an Italian restaurant consisting of two rooms painted to look like an old villa, each with about a dozen tables. This restaurant just happens to serve great pizza. We haven't tried the other parts of the menu, save for the occasional salad.
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Posted By Alan Liskov on September 14, 2014 1:57 PM
This restaurant is now called "Forno Siciliano." According to reviews, the food is as good as it was under the old name. I ate there twice when it was still called Forno Itialia. It was good, but once in January 2011 when I went with a group of six or more friends, the service was not good. There was not enough space in the pizza oven so those who ordered pizzas did not get their pizzas for at least an hour, by which point those who ordered pastas had finished eating! I don't know if that has changed by now, but it's definitely something to consider if going as a group on a busy night.
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