Photo: Wat Lanka, Phnom Penh.

Il Forno

Contender for best pizza in town

#11, St. 302, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: (010) 660 515 
http://www.ilforno.restaurant

Il Forno

The newest bambino on the block, Il Forno is a smart, contemporary Italian restaurant with a traditional menu and big, gorgeous flavours. Opening in the heart of BKK1 in mid-2015, the Phnom Penh version of the mega-popular Siem Reap restaurant is a very different bowl of pasta from its more rustic and homely sister.

Super sleek looks.

Super sleek looks.

With acres of plate glass offset by sleek, black tiling, black, muscular furniture and white walls, the look here is very modern, and the service equally slick. Friendly, informal staff are on the ball, delivering up plates of housemade pasta, beautiful thin-crust pizzas, baked dishes and entrees.

Prices for a regular pizza range from $4.50 for a marinara to $10.50 for a pizza ricca loaded with rocket, fior di latte mozzarella and Parma ham. For us, the pizzas are the real winner here, and they come out generously topped with properly sourced ingredients and perfectly crisp where they’re supposed to be crisp and that little bit gooey in all the right spots. Pastas range from $4 for spaghetti or penne with fresh tomato and basil sauce, up to $11 for homemade black ink tagliolini with prawns and courgette.

Spaghetti carbonara packed full of flavour.

Spaghetti carbonara packed full of flavour (and bacon).

If pizza and pasta aren’t your thing, then the Tuscan-style pork belly with roasted potato, pumpkin and shallot ($15) or perhaps the crispy seabass fillet with tomato salsa, spinach and potato puree ($15.50) might float your boat, inter alia.

If those prices are a little out of your range, stai calmo, the lunch set menus are a steal. From $6 for a salad, foccaccia, drink and coffee, to $9 for a burger, drink and coffee, $8 for a pizza, drink and coffee, or $7 for a pasta, salad, drink and coffee, you should easily come out with a loaded stomach and unabused wallet.

The service was flawless.

It wasn’t open yet when we visited, but upstairs there is also a smooth-looking wine bar open in the evenings. Thursday evenings look set to get lively, with an offer of free tapas with each glass of wine ($5) or Aperol spritzer. But you don’t even need to go upstairs to slip into a cool, chatty vibe. The long, downstairs bar is smooth, smart and entertaining. Much like everything else here.


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Il Forno
#11, St. 302, BKK1, Phnom Penh
Daily 12:00-23:00
T: (010) 660 515 
http://www.ilforno.restaurant

Location map for Il Forno