Dating back to 1998, Forli Restaurant was an Alamo favorite for many years, closing in 2016 when it became Alamo Grill. But Alamo Grill was not as successful as it might have been and when it closed, the previous owners bought it back.
Set at the back of a shopping center in the heart of Alamo, it just looks like a hole in the wall but the new Forli feels very different to the old one. The owners of Alamo Grill spent a lot of money on refurbishing and updating including a modern bar area and new décor throughout so now the new, old owners are reaping the benefits. Alamo Grill had the vibe of a hip, noisy restaurant and bar but the new Forli has moved away from that and feels more like a tastefully updated version of its former self.
Sylvia and I visited on a recent Thursday evening around 6.30pm. The bar was obviously doing a strong trade and the restaurant was about half full although while we were there, there was a steady influx of diners. I would certainly recommend making a reservation to be sure of getting a table. This is despite the fact that this is a pretty large restaurant. The bar takes up the front portion and the main dining room is divided into two sections by an attractive screen and seating is a mix of booths around the wall and many tables.
We sat in one of the comfortable booths and we immediately saw that they have a much smaller menu than before. The original menu seemed to have every dish you would expect to find in any Italian restaurant from pizza and pastas to a wide range of entrees. The new menu is very much a typical Italian menu including pizzas and pasta dishes but the choice is smaller. Very reassuring in my opinion as from experience, restaurants with smaller menus usually provide better quality food.
Our experience here tended to confirm that thought. After a bowl of lentil soup each, which was certainly very tasty, Sylvia opted for the chicken cacciatore, one of the day’s specials, while I had pappardelle with a meat ragu. Both dishes were cooked exactly as I would have hoped. The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked and served with what we would call a hunter’s sauce in England – wine, tomatoes, garlic, onions and peppers. This was presented on a bed of sautéed vegetables and was a generous sized portion.
My pappardelle was no less generous and this is a classic Italian dish, although typically served with a wild boar ragu in Italy. This version was with an Angus beef ragu which had a really good, intense flavor.
We accompanied this satisfying meal with a couple of glasses of very reasonably priced wine, a chardonnay for Sylvia and a Barolo for me but neither of us had room for dessert. The wine list is notable for having a good choice of wines by the glass including a very reasonably priced Rombauer chardonnay.
A word of warning before you go: The website appears to a work in progress and most of the menus you can find online relate to the old Forli . But this really is an authentic Italian restaurant and is definitely worth a visit.