Buona Forchetta

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Review #97

Back on April 22, 2017 we blogged our second location:  Pandora’s Pizza.  I will include a paragraph I wrote way back then:

“Now when it comes to pizza, I hold everything in comparison to the Holy Grail of pizzas which, for me, is at Buona Forchetta.  Since I am only blogging about dining on the 101 in Encinitas, and Buona Forchetta is located at 3001 Beech St. (South Park) San Diego, I can’t tell you about the amazing homemade authentic pizzas they make using recipes of their ancestors from Italy.  It wouldn’t be right to mention their pizza “Marisa” with their luscious pesto, fresh, crisp, grape tomatoes and pine nuts toasted to perfection. So good, that you have to rethink if it is even worth eating any other pizza for the rest of your life….And if you do make it down to Buona Forchetta, say hello to Sofia for me (their handmade pizza oven with clay that comes straight from the Sorrento region in Italy.  Yes, she’s named Sofia.)”

Fast forward two and a half years later, and where does Buona Forchetta open up another location after Liberty Station??  That’s right, our little town of Encinitas.  And where in Encinitas?  Right here on the 101!  Coincidence?  Maybe….but come on!  I’m pretty sure that after I wrote that blog, swarms of Encinitians (well, what else are we called?), flooded their South Park location.  My readers begged, pleaded, even threatened the owners of Buona Forchetta to open a location all the way up the coast, right here on the 101.  All due to this little blog. That’s just one theory of course.

We knew how fantastic their South Park location was and we were excited to try it again, here in our ‘hood.  We got a nice group together and stupidly went for a 6pm dinner on Sunday.  AS IF!  There was a line out the door.  We were told by our hostess that she would try really hard to get us a table in about an hour.  My people were hungry.  They couldn’t wait.  We ended up aborting our mission and had dinner at one of my favorite go-to’s: Encinitas Fish Shop.

A few weeks later we tried again, only choosing 5pm as a more realistic starting point.  But by then, every single one of our friends had been there!  Not one of them could wait for the blog, and ate there on their own.  So it was a romantic evening for just Hubby and me.  Which was kind of sad because we love blogging with our friends.  But  was also good because getting a table for two took no time at all, even with a line out the door this early.  And yah, it’s always nice spending time together, just the two of us, blah blah blah.

The restaurant is quaint with seating inside and outside.  By “quaint” I mean this location alone will never do, they need a much bigger space!  But you are seated right next to other patrons which makes socializing and kibitzing with your neighbors almost a must.

They started us with a plate of crusty bread plus a dish of lentils in EVOO right away.  If you’re clueless like Hubby, EVOO stands for extra virgin olive oil.  I think Rachael Ray coined the term.  The plate didn’t last long.

Buono bread

Before I knew it, a fresh plate of refilled bread and lentils were sitting on our table.

Buono more bread I had to barricade it away from myself, because I can’t be trusted with something this delicious.

Buono barrier

Our neighbors were just finishing up their meal and were hugging the maître d’ as if they were life long friends.  I asked them if they had been here before, as if there was even a question.  I was told they come every week.  They said tonight was all about the brussel sprouts.

Our waitress, Alessia, came over with the thickest Italian accent I have ever heard.  She out-Italianed every local Italian I met in Italy last summer!  She’s from Padova, a small city nestled between Venice and Verona.  She’s the Real Deal and couldn’t have been sweeter or more accommodating.

Since Hubs won’t eat pancetta which accompanied the brussel sprout dish, and there was no one else here ordering food at our table because some people COULDN’T WAIT TO EAT HERE FOR THE BLOG….we had to go sproutless.  Instead, we ordered something to share from the “Specials” to start our meal that sweet Alessia recommended.  It was called “Zuppa Della Mamma” which I was told translates to “soup from the chef’s mamma’s kitchen”.  How does one not order that?  Thank goodness mamma loves calamari because so do we!  And I can tell you I have never in my life had calamari melt in my mouth like butter until now.  Seriously, no teeth required.  This soup, or stew really, was so hearty and delicious, Hubby says it’s one of the best things he has eaten on any blog we have done.  It ain’t pretty, but it sure is good!

Buono stew

Trying to stay away from cheese and carbs (great idea to come to an Italian restaurant), I ordered the Marinated Seafood Salad, hold the dressing.  The flavors were delicious but I wasn’t crazy about the marinated texture of the seafood.  Hubby had no problem finishing it for me, he loved it.

Buono salad

Like their South Park location, the Encinitas has a pizza oven made in Naples then brought to San Diego to cook these amazing pizzas.  This pizza oven is named “Isabella”.

Hubby ordered a pizza with half pesto and half pesto with red sauce with fresh tomatoes.  The bottom of the pizza is paper thin, almost tortilla-like, with a crunchy rim of thick baked dough around the outside.  The half with both the red sauce and the pesto won.  Of course I tried it!  As long as I was only sampling Hubby’s, the carbs and cheese didn’t count.  I didn’t order one myself after all.  It’s all in the ordering you see.  Fantástico!

Buono pizza

Ok, I made it through dinner with minimal damage of carbs and cheese.   One slice of bread.  One taste, ok, slice if you’re being technical, of pizza, and just soup and salad.  I did pretty darn good if I do say so myself!  No pasta, no alcohol…I rock!

But then…

Buono dessert

Oh Alessia, what have you done?  I’m all out of willpower!  You kicked me when I’m down!  I made Hubby try the mystery pastry first.  It was filled with Nutella.  This was going to be ok because I’m not a fan of Nutella.   But after trying the second one, he just looked at me and said, “Uh ohhhh” because he knows me.  Believe it or not, I have never tried panna cotta before.  It was a little mold of vanilla heaven.  Rich, creamy and delicate with just the right amount of slightly tart, slightly sweet raspberry sauce.  I was hosed.  This was way too good for only one bite.

I tried snapping some pics of the gentlemen at work on the pizzas, but there was too much glare behind the glass.

IMG_3802The maître d’  invited me to go around into the kitchen to get better pictures.  The kitchen is tiny!  I can’t imagine how these chefs work their magic in such a minuscule kitchen, but they do.  And here is lovely Isabella in all her glory, heating up pizzas past 1000 degrees to perfection:

Buono oven

This is practically the entire kitchen you are looking at in front of Isabella, with these guys killing it.

Buono kitchen

When you love what you do, your passion shows through and through.  Head chef, Marcello, on the right.

Buono Chef

It’s not like Buona Forchetta has to actually thank me with profit sharing for the great Encinitas 101 location idea.  I’m not suggesting they put my face on the menu or anything like that.  But maybe a pizza called “The Kori” or “Korinana” to sound more authentic, would be nice.  It would have both red sauce and pesto.  Check the menu folks, I wouldn’t be surprised!

Bottom Line:

I would have loved to tried more dishes, but with only two of us, we could only order so much.  Next time I will get the brussel sprouts and the grilled artichoke that we heard about.  We love Buona Forchetta for it’s authentic flavors, charming atmosphere and scrumptious menu choices.  But there’s something more.  The people eating here are happy.  The people serving here are happy.  The people cooking here are happy.  There is a sense of “family” here.  A true sense of “home”.  There’s a reason why Buona Forchetta made it into Conde Nasta’s 2019 top 25 restaurants in San Diego: https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-restaurants-in-san-diego

Buona Forchetta is truly “Good Fork”!

Buono shirt


Oops, you can’t join us on our next blog at Choice Juicery, because it was today.  And if you are only now reading this, then you missed it because you weren’t there.

But our next blog will be on Sunday, November 3rd.  Check back soon for the exact location if you would like to join us!

Author: foodkibbitzer

I love to cook, especially soup, and bake challah. I ride horses, enjoy sarcastic people and am a food snob. I'm busy being mom to my two boys and I play mahj jong.

One thought on “Buona Forchetta”

  1. Really enjoying your blogs, wish I had found you a year ago! So helpful as we have tried many places to eat along 101 in the past few years and felt robbed for the cost for bad food! Buona Forchetta is a new wondrous place we have eaten at only a few times but now have your suggestions of which dishes to try!

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