Last weekend we had the absolute pleasure of wining and dining at Forti Grill and Bar in Pretoria’s very own Times Square. Forti is a contemporary Italian restaurant in a fine dining environment. If you are a regular reader of Minkys, you will know that I have a very special place in my heart for Italian restaurants of all kinds and a need to try each and everyone of them. I can finally tick Forti off my “must visit Italian restaurants” list and add it to my list of “favourite Italian restaurants” now that I have visited and absolutely loved Forti.
The name Forti …
Forti is named after its owner and chef, Fortunato Mazzone. Fortunato (aka Forti) is a fifth generation Italian restaurateur so is definitely no stranger to the industry. He used to own Ritrovo in Waterkloof, which was known as the area’s best high-end Italian restaurant, as well as the BICCCS coffee shop brand and the late night Pretoria hang out, Priva.
We arrived at Forti at lunch time. We walked in and were absolutely wowed by the restaurant decor and it’s eclectic mix of art. It felt like we were walking into the trendiest restaurant/bar in New York – that’s how beautiful everything is.
What did we eat …
After a long while browsing the very extensive menu, we finally decided on what to order. We shared the mushroom risotto for a starter, and for mains Claude had the steak special and I had one of Forti’s signature dishes “Prawns of my Father”. This prawns dish is prepared using a family recipe inspired by Forti’s dad. The prawns are baked in the oven with champagne, garlic and butter, and served with Parmesan rice. I give this dish a whopping 15 out of 10 because it is simply delicious! The prawns were perfectly flavoured and the creamy Parmesan rice was something I had never tasted before and am now craving a few days later!
And last but not least, we shared the Bigne for dessert. This was profiterole with cream pasticcere and a cleansing sorbet on the side. This dessert was absolutely superb. The profiterole’s were perfect!
The restaurant …
During our meal, Forti came to say hello and offered to take us on a grand tour of the restaurant. The restaurant has an outside area that is as big as the inside. There is an on-site butcher shop, a walk in humidor for cigar aficionados, two private rooms where one doubles as the wine cellar and a state of the art modern kitchen. All of this left us totally impressed. But what impressed me even more though is the quality of everything in this restaurant, especially the food. All the meat is organic and grass-fed, fish is sourced from ethical producers and the pasta is all homemade made on a pasta-line. I also loved ALL the colour Le Creuset in the kitchen … It somehow reminded me of my kitchen (I love Le Creuset!).
We left Forti feeling satisfied, full and happy. This restaurant is truly special – from the absolutely delicious food, to the restaurant decor and even Forti himself. Forti is so charming, friendly and hospitable, it felt like we had known him for years. This has me thinking if perhaps we were a regular at Ritrovo when we were young (note to self: ask my parents!).
Thank you to Forti and the wonderful team for a truly special Sunday lunch. We already planning the next special occasion here because we cannot wait to return!