August is an extra happy affair for my family because it’s my and my sister-in-law’s birth month. (And I know it’s nearing October and I’m still talking about August, haha! Sorry for posting this late.) We were supposed to celebrate my birthday in Forchetta, a restaurant we haven’t tried yet, but we ended up in a “safe” restaurant that is on my list of tried and tested, TSC Signature. We couldn’t risk the time and effort of braving the traffic roads of Riyadh for a probably hit and miss food in a restaurant new to us. Good thing though because my bro and SIL treated us to Forchetta when her birthday came a few days later. Yey!
Forchetta is an Italian restaurant that first opened its branch in the Eastern part of Riyadh aka Khurais Road. It offers a bold, mix and match type of decoration and a charming atmosphere. Actually, it depends on your description of “charming” because I didn’t find their decor and ambiance charming at all when it comes to its atmosphere. Not that I didn’t like it. I would just describe it as rustic rather than charming. Anyway, being an Italian restaurant, it goes without saying that the pizzas and pasta are the stars of this establishment. While pondering on my order, I heard my brother saying to our other family members that ‘forchetta’ means bacon in Italian and I was like, ‘yeah…’ while bobbing my head up and down absent-mindedly in agreement. Until I realized he was probably referring to prosciutto which is a thinly-sliced dry-cured ham. I laughed my head off! Forchetta and prosciutto?! Really, they don’t even sound alike! Hahaha! So a simple Google led us to a translation of forchetta. FORK (not pork, bro! hahaha!).
It’s so hard to order because they have a lot of pasta dishes and the waiter couldn’t recommend the best ones saying all in the menu are the best. So they’re all equal? So if they’re all equal then they’re not best right? I should really stop overthinking things. We finally narrowed down our choices to Forchetta Special Mix, Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagne Alla Bolognese, Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci, Farfalle Con Salmone, Risotto Salmone, Filleto Di Manzo Con Funghi, Pizza Quattro Formaggi, Pizza Pepperoni… uhmn, it looks like we ordered everything in the menu and didn’t narrow it down but we did, I promise! There are a lot of other items in their menu that we didn’t order. Haha! And please take note that we’re a family of eight people so that’s just right, with take-out to boot! Hehe.
Now I actually get why it’s only named after fork. They totally ignored the spoon because it’s not that needed with the kind of dishes they have. See for yourself:
The Forchetta Special Mix is their sampler. It contains mozzarella fingers, calamari, fried shrimps, chicken croquettes, and brochette. It’s easy to disregard this as a platter of unhealthy, oily, fried food but surprisingly, we enjoyed this! They were hot, tasty, and crispy. When eaten alternately, the flavors and textures play along the tastebuds and we couldn’t get enough of them. I like the calamari and croquettes the most but the other elements of this plate are not far behind. A worthy appetizer!
Their Fettuccine Alfredo is a bit dry. Coming from a creamy, succulent Alfredo from TSC Signature the night before, we didn’t enjoy this one (and yes, we couldn’t help but compare because we’ve always been ordering fettuccine alfredo as long as it’s available in a resto’s menu). It’s also bland and just devoid of any exciting flavor or taste. I wish we ordered something else.
The Carbonara is tastier but it’s also a bit dry. I love the beef bacon on it because it gives the dish a slightly salty dimension that elevates it a notch higher than the bland alfredo.
The Lasagne Alla Bolognese sat in our table unnoticed. It doesn’t mean to say we didn’t enjoy it; it was just placed in a side of our table which made it easy to be ignored. Also, the Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci came to our table looking exactly like the lasagna, it’s topmost baked layer covering all of the ramekin, its content hidden until we prod it with a fork. Out comes the shaped pasta filled with ricotta cheese and spinach. We liked this one because it was creamy and bursting with flavors. So yeah, the lasagna was on its corner looking sullen. When we finally noticed it, we were too full to get a forkful. It went to the take out bag.
The Fettuccine Frutti Di Mare is the most colorful pasta in our table. It has a lone mussel sticking in the middle and herbs and tomato bits are thrown all around the flat thick noodles. It has the a tomato sauce base and it’s a bit sour, refreshing though after all the creamy pasta we first ate. There are shrimps tossed in there too and it’s quite delicious with soda. (Or maybe that’s just me and my liking for soft drinks and pasta together.)
To balance our table which was getting heavy with pasta, haha, the bro orders Risotto Salmon. It wasn’t outrageously creamy like I wanted it too but it was okay. The mix of cream, paprika (spelled babrika in their menu), and parmesan cheese was enough to make this dish rich and luxurious. I hope they made it creamier and softer though so it becomes absolutely sublime and luxurious. Risotto has a reputation of being time-consuming to cook but with the patience, it’s worth it. Other kinds of risotto in Forchetta’s menu include Funghi, Frutti de Mare, Con Limone, and Con Pesto.
It’s only fit that we get a steak for this dinner… well, just because. Haha! It’s a homage to my older bro who inserts Steakhouse in our ‘libre’ conversations every chance he gets. Haha! I ordered the Filleto Di Manzo Con Funghi which just translates to tenderloin steak with mushroom cream gravy. The steak is good for two persons but I wouldn’t say it’s the best that I have eaten in Riyadh. It was adequate; got a bit tough after a while. We enjoyed the mashed potato it came with though.
I only managed to try one slice of the Quattro Formaggi Pizza. I didn’t even finish it because I was too full with the pasta and steak. The thing was just salty with lackluster cheeses that’s combined to simply complete the four. It was cloying after a few bites that’s why I had to give it up. Their bread was okay though, a bit chewy and toasty at the same time. Sadly, I wasn’t able to try the Pizza Pepperoni but people in Foursquare seem to like it.
Speaking of Foursquare, one of the diners who reviewed Forchetta has an interesting and funny comment on the restaurant. He said, “Not sure [if this is] a restaurant or a graveyard.” You might laugh but I had the same feeling. Well, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a graveyard but more like a uhmmm, a villa with areas divided by concrete walls and with doors on their own. You know when you go inside a house and the second floor is dark and all rooms are closed? The layout of Forchetta is not one for social mingling, I get it, but they stick you in a room covered with walls and a door (not a curtain, not a divider) that shuts you out completely from the restaurant ambiance. Hahah! Well, some families might enjoy this kind of privacy. It’s just a bit sad-looking and boring for us. So yeah, charming is definitely not the adjective I will use to describe Forchetta. (By the way, we visited the Khurais Road branch. Not sure if the one in Exit 5 is the same but they’re branches right.)
The rest of our dinner was a blur because there were so many dishes to try. I managed to get bits and pieces, scoops and twirls of pasta here and there. We didn’t have room in our tummies for dessert. Maybe next time. The servers were attentive and there’s a buzzer used to summon them (summon?! what is this, Hogwarts? Lol). Forchetta is a good restaurant to go to when you want to enjoy Italian food in a secluded, private room in affordable prices (most certainly affordable when it’s a treat by the celebrant haha!)
Forchetta Italian Restaurant
a. Khurais Road, Exit 24 (after Habib Hospital Alrayan and Jarir Bookstore)
b. King Abdulaziz Road, Exit 5 (after Tala Mall and Carrefour)
c. Al Omary Center, Abu Baker As Siddiq Road
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966-11-4929792 / 4920097 (Khurais)
+966-11-4154919 / 4157943 (Exit 5)
Operating Hours: 12:00PM to 12:00AM