Rome wasn't built in a day, likely because all able bodies were needed to help in preparing the world's largest bowl of spaghetti. Observe monumental cuisine with today's Groupon: for $35, you get an Italian meal for two at Il Forno Caldo in Beverly Hills (up to a $77 value). The meal includes:
- A choice of any one appetizer (up to a $13 value)
- A choice of any two entrees (up to a $24 value each)
- Two glasses of prosecco (an $8 value each)
Il Forno Caldo's chefs enlist the aid of high-quality ingredients and pasta made in-house daily to assemble a menu of authentic Italian cuisine. Boycott noodles with antipasti appetizers including eggplant parmigiana, which smothers its namesake veggies with thick tomato sauce before gently crowning the warm dish with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses like the prom king at a culinary school. During the main course, linguine alle vogole entangles fresh clams in tender knots of pasta, and lobster risotto arrays a claw-fisted feast on a bed of Italian arborio rice. A hefty list of pizzas applies adventurous twists to traditional Italian pies with varieties including chicken curry, which cloaks poultry in a piquant chipotle sauce. Beneath the stained-glass window of the rough-hewn dining room, effervescent sips of prosecco slip across tongues in lively cascades to aid joviality without giving Bacchus a ride to the mall.
Il Forno Caldo
Il Forno Caldo translates to the hot oven —an appropriate name for an Italian restaurant where chefs fire up a cavalcade of Old-World dishes to pair with pastas rolled and cut fresh daily. While angel hair, rigatoni, and penne simmer in sauces such as pesto and bolognese, the tireless chefs fashion linguine lassos to reign in clams, mussels, and other delectable sea candies. Out in the dining room, which Gayot calls an "unexpected charmer," diners dig into slices of pizza fresh from the kitchen's eponymous hot oven, or sip one of 300 wines extracted directly from the giant, pulsing grape in the restaurant's cellar.
During the meal, guests can form finger-puppet ghosts with the white linen tablecloths or compare blowfish impressions in the mirrored wall panels. Rich red curtains lend an air of Old-World glamour to the romantic dining room, whose honey-colored wooden shelves display gleaming bottles of rare, classic, and California "cult" wines.