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Did you know that it once took weeks to book a table at this highly-rated restaurant on Google and Openrice called Al Forno Cafe and Bar? Now you only need a couple of days of planning ahead to get a table.
Since it was difficult to get a reservation here, I wondered what the fuss was about. It was on my restaurant bucket list for the longest time because I don’t usually visit Causeway Bay as often as some of the other districts in Hong Kong. When a family friend near the area asked me where I wanted to go for dinner, I immediately thought of Al Forno.
The restaurant is on Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, an area known for its various shopping and dining options. Al Forno is not exactly right in the center of this district but it’s not too far off as it is about a 7-8 minute walk from Al Forno to Times Square, a famous mall in HK.
First Impression of Al Forno
I almost walked past the restaurant because it was smaller than I imagined. It might also be because I went to Al Forno at night so I can’t see as well.
There are only around 10 tables inside.
No wonder this place is always booked up!
There isn’t much space to start with.
And here I thought Al Forno was the type of restaurant with dozens of tables and even potentially another floor for diners.
Due to the size, the space felt intimate. It’s a chill place with Western pop music playing in the playground like Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.
There’s also a bar area where you can order alcoholic drinks. There are quite a few choices too in their drinks menu. Of course, people who choose to be sober might not even want to look at the drinks menu but it’s there if you want to.
My table was closest to the wall. The wall is filled with all sorts of bear bricks. You’ve likely seen this figurine around somewhere before because it’s that famous. I have and I’m not a figurine collector. I didn’t even know this was called a bear brick until I looked it up online after eating at Al Forno.
The vibe feels young with the music and the figurines. It reminded me a bit of Good Day Bad Day Mama Day in Tsim Sha Tsui except Al Forno has darker lighting in the restaurant.
Food at Al Forno
Al Forno has typical Western food like pizza, pasta, and chicken wings. Between the two of us, we got a pizza, pasta, and an entrée. The menu says entrée but we treated it as an appetizer because it was small chicken bites.
Mushroom Truffle Pasta
The pasta portion at Al Forno was pretty big and the sauce was creamy with tons of truffle.
My friend, who usually has a small appetite couldn’t help herself and continued to eat this even when she was full. She marveled at how delicious this was.
I definitely agree with her.
It is the best dish out of the three things we ordered here. I would even say it’s one of the best pastas I’ve had in a while.
Those who like truffles will not be disappointed with this dish at Al Forno.
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Maybe because I’m used to seeing bigger pizzas like the restaurant Fini’s but the pizza at Al Forno was quite small.
It even seemed petite compared to the other two dishes we got here. But no complaints there because the pizza wasn’t that great in comparison to the rest of our order.
As a fan of BBQ chicken pizza, I’ve had my fair share of them at different places.
Let’s just say that you’re better off getting BBQ chicken pizza at California Pizza Kitchen rather than at Al Forno.
The toppings like the chicken and cheese kept sliding off the dough and I had to keep putting everything back on the pizza to eat it together. It was so slippery.
That bit was annoying.
The BBQ chicken pizza at Al Forno is one of those dishes where it’s quite forgettable. Nothing really stands out like the dough or the sauce.
It is not something I recommend people to get at this place.
Try something else instead.
Popcorn Chicken with Spicy Mayo
Al Forno served us a generous portion of popcorn chicken inside this little grocery basket. It was absolutely adorable!
Even though this was an entrée, we saw it as an appetizer or a side dish. Isn’t popcorn chicken usually one of those two anyway?
The chicken bites were small, juicy, and a bit spicy.
The restaurant serves this dish alongside spicy mayo as a condiment. With the spicy mayo, the spiciness level increases a little. Those who like spicy food would probably think it’s not even a thing but for non-spicy eaters, it’s just enough to add more flavour to the dish.
Don’t worry, it’s not one of those hot foods where you feel like your mouth is on fire.
Serving popcorn chicken with spicy mayo was interesting. Don’t people generally eat fried chicken with ketchup? This dish works with the spicy mayo but it was very American style.
When I lived in Boston, people ate sushi with spicy mayo all the time. At first, I thought that was weird until I tried it for myself. Now, I can eat a lot of things with spicy mayo. It’s sooo good!
The popcorn chicken is in solid second place after the mushroom truffle pasta.
Although I didn’t order a croffle, it’s worth mentioning in this Al Forno restaurant review blog post because the menu has a separate section just for croffles.
For those who are wondering what in the world a croffle is, it is a dish that combines both a waffle and a croissant.
People already know what to expect with chicken wings, pizza, and pasta but croffles might be a bit surprising since it’s not as well-known as the others. However, it’s not uncommon to see HK restaurants selling this.
I first had it at Banchan and Cook. It’s cool because the croffle is crispy but also has that pull-apart dough thing that people like in croissants.
Originally, when I first found out about this restaurant, I wanted to try their shrimp croffle. It’s fried shrimp, scrambled eggs, and mayo. However, Al Forno updated their menu recently and it doesn’t seem like it’s an option anymore.
I could have asked our server if I could still order that but with two girls, three dishes was more than enough for us. I regret not asking though because although I enjoyed my chicken bites, I would have preferred getting the shrimp croffle instead. It’s more unique. A lot of places offer fried chicken but not as many offer croffles.
Many tables near us ordered a croffle so it’s worth trying if you’re at Al Forno. There is also a variety of flavours to choose from.
Final Thoughts – Al Forno
Al Forno Cafe and Bar is a smaller-sized restaurant with plenty of reasonably priced food to choose from at a good location.
Overall, I do not necessarily agree with all the raving reviews people have talked about on Google and Openrice but it’s still pretty good. I’m glad I came here to eat because it’s something off my restaurant bucket list and now I know what the food at Al Forno is like. I’m open to coming back here the next time I’m in Causeway Bay.
As for booking a table at Al Forno? Thankfully, the restaurant does take online reservations so it is highly recommended that you reserve in advance. The chances of walking in to grab a table are pretty much zero. There aren’t that many tables so there is limited space. On the bright side, it will only take a few seconds for a table reservation so it won’t take up too much of your time.
Another important note is that there is a time limit of 90 minutes per table. The food comes out pretty quickly so you will have plenty of leftover time to relax and chat with your companions during the meal. I don’t mind a time limit on a table as long as the food comes fast and Al Forno does just that. You won’t feel annoyed or rushed by the restaurant to get out of there.
What do you think about Al Forno? Let me know in the comment section down below!
Now to You – Al Forno
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