"Il Forno" means "the oven" in Italian and is a fitting name for Sandgate's one and only wood-fire pizzeria.
After travelling throughout Europe for years, Il Forno owners Jane and Marco settled in the seaside suburb of Brighton and wanted to share their passion for simple, fresh food and good wine. Il Forno began in 2008 as an authentic Italian gourmet pizzeria and has since gained momentum as one of the most popular restaurants in Sandgate. One many locals and I have come to enjoy regularly.
Located in 3 Third Avenue in Sandgate, Il Forno is nearby the waterfront and a small walk from the Sandgate train station. In winter, the wood-fired oven keeps things toasty, and through summer, the cool offshore breeze travels in. Decor is modern and simplistic, creating a comfortable, vibrant dining space.
With a focus on pizza, the menu offers a range of classic flavour combinations (Margherita, Capricciosa and even Hawaiian), as well as those more distinctive to Il Forno, such as the spicy Arrabiatta or the L'Anatra (crispy duck). However the Moroccan Beef is my new favourite. Pizzas are made on freshly prepared bases with a gluten free option.
There is a small range of pastas and salads available, as well as some mouthwatering homemade desserts. The Bacio - a dessert pizza made with nutella, hazelnuts and gelato - is delicious and great shared or as an indulgence.
The pizzeria has a diverse array of wine and local and imported beers as well as a special Il Forno house beer, the '4017'. Marco's beer fridge seems to be ever expanding, offering a generous selection including a few you may not have heard of, such as Menabrea, Moretti, Ichnusa (Italy), Dixie (New Orleans) and Erdinger (Germany) - a welcome change of pace in Sandgate.
Il Forno always has a friendly, relaxed vibe about it. Staff are efficient and it is clear the owners understand quality Italian food and an enjoyable dining experience. It's great for a weeknight dinner when you just can't be bothered cooking and perfect for celebrations like birthdays - pizza is always easy to share among friends.
Il forno is open 7 days, from 5.00pm until late for dinner and is usually quite busy. Bookings for six or more people are a good idea.
We love Il Forno and go there with our kids quite often. They always make the kids feel welcome and will make sure the kids meals come out quickly. Marco knows his wine and beer and we can always count on him to pick something appropriate for us.
By Pippa van Wijk - senior reviewer Tuesday, 28th of February @ 10:48 am