Diners who have been waiting since Summer 2015 for Buona Forchetta to arise in Liberty Station will only have to be patient for a little while longer. The 200-seat restaurant is just putting on its finishing touches and should be settling on an opening date soon, likely within the next week or so.
This particular project is a collaboration between Buona Forchetta owner Matteo Cattaneo and Mario Cassineri, the executive chef/partner of the Gaslamp’s BiCE Ristorante, who were patrons of each other’s restaurants before they became partners in this 2,622-square-foot eatery. While both men will continue to work on solo ventures, Cassineri tells Eater that more joint efforts are in the works, including a fast-casual Italian concept.
At the center of the modern eatery are two gleaming wood-fired pizza ovens, named Augusta and Sergio in honor of Cattaneo’s mother and father, with one solely dedicated to gluten-free pizza-making. Buona Forchetta’s pie prowess is renowned; its chef Marcello Avitabile is a five-time World Pizza Champion and its pizza offerings have now expanded, ranging from classic Neapolitan styles to a variety based on fried dough and party-ready ‘pizza al metro’ that stretches one meter (or three feet) long.
From the BiCE kitchen, chefs Fernando Gorrino and Francesca Peroncelli, will be contributing the specialities of the Northern Italian restaurant, from Milanese osso bucco to Florentine porterhouse steak. The menu also includes starters, salads and pasta, with sauces and shapes that can be mixed and matched. Italian wine varietals feature prominently on the bar list, along with craft beer, cocktails and Italian spirits for sipping.
Seating ranges from bar height perches along the bar, kitchen and pizza oven areas to traditional seating and plenty of tables spread between two large patios; one is reserved for more formal dining while the other kid-friendly outdoor space sits adjacent to a grass-lined courtyard stocked with playground equipment. There’s also a vintage red Fiat that's been converted into a cozy table for two; it must be reserved in advance.
Buona Forchetta is also offering a fast and accessible prix fixe lunch for $12 that includes salad or soup and pizza or pasta. The restaurant will later launch breakfast and weekend brunch.
As for the new North County Buona Forchetta, announced last year for the Encinitas/Leucadia corridor of North Coast Highway 101, Cattaneo says it will be completed this May.
Buona Forchetta Liberty Station