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20 September, 2020

Pizza by the ocean

After visiting Italy in January, I consider myself to have quite high standards with what to look for in an authentic Italian restaurant, and Il Forno in Palm Cove is it.

By Tanya Murphy

Situated on Williams Esplanade with the relaxed ambience of palm-lined shores and gently crashing waves against a mountainous backdrop, it is the perfect setting for a relaxed evening of enjoying the finer things in life – good food, good wine, and good company. 

Drawn in by the mouth-watering aromas of baking and the musical sound of Italian being spoken inside, one finds a boutique pizzeria with a warm, cosy and intimate ambience as if you had just stepped off the streets of Rome. This restaurant’s strength is that they focus on their one passion (pizza) and do it to perfection. 

This is no mass-produced fast food churned out in bulk, but rather, infused with the care and attention only a small restaurant can provide. 

There are 22 pizzas to choose from but at the chef’s recommendation, I ordered an Alba pizza which features mushrooms, two types of cheese (mozzarella and provolone) and truffle oil. 

My friend ordered a Fresca pizza with a tomato base, rocket, prosciutto and parmesan flakes and a gluten-free base. Well, we were in heaven! I felt like it was the first time I had tasted pizza properly in my life, and am afraid I will never be able to eat pizza anywhere else again. 

Il Forno makes their own gluten-free pizza dough and my gluten-intolerant friend said it was absolutely delicious, which was beyond exciting for her because she’s used to processed shop-bought pizza bases which “taste like cardboard.” I think she was about to start crying! Established in 1992, Il Forno is the longest-standing restaurant in Palm Cove and it’s little wonder: locals and travellers alike just keep coming back, with locals regularly driving to Palm Cove from all over the Far North to get Il Forno’s famed pizza. 

Behind the scenes is the talented Luca, a Roman-born chef with a passion for Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. According to Luca, Italian pizza-making has evolved over the years and the contemporary way of making Italian pizza in the Roman style is recognisable by a light crunchy crust and lighter toppings of the best quality. 

Luca and his team of Italian-trained chefs have mastered the perfect combination of low-gluten Italian flour, small quantities of fresh yeast and a slow two day process of maturation to create a mouthwatering base for your meal. According to Luca, Il Forno uses only the best and freshest locally-sourced ingredients such as local seafood, tablelands meat, sausages made by the local butcher, and beers from local breweries. 

As well as pizza they also offer insalate (salad), home-made lasagne, antipasti, and one pasta of the day every day. As well as a selection of wine and drinks, they also offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals, and home delivery for the Palm Cove to Kewarra Beach area. Il Forno is open 7 nights a week from 5pm.

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