Fortina

17 Maple Ave. Armonk, NY 10504 • (914) 273-0900fortinapizza.com

fortina

Fortina has a great vibe about it, especially in the Summer with its large outdoor seating area. And even the inside is so open that it’s basically like sitting outside as well. Unfortunately you aren’t overlooking much, unless parking lots and strip malls do it for you.

On the inside, it has some nice touches as well, including a well stocked bar. And service was very friendly and attentive, which is good when you have two small children in tow. They were a little slow the second time around, but compensated generously by comping both our glasses of wine as well as two desserts. Class act.

To start we’ve had the arugula salad with toasted pistachios and parmesan, which was good, but nothing you can’t make at home. As is the bibb lettuce with avocado.

The farfalle pasta with peas and mint was very good. Bright with lemon and perfectly al dente. In fact, the second time we went we had a different pasta and it too was impeccably prepared. These guys nail there pasta as well as anywhere I’ve eaten.

The only miss for me, and the entire reason we went, was the pizza. So many pies on the menu sounded great that we ultimately asked for a reco from our waitress, going with the second most popular, the funghi with bone marrow and black truffles. Like I said, sounds awesome, right? Well, I actually found it quite bland. Granted once you put red pepper flakes on it, and eat it with the salad, it helps bring it back from the dead, but I most certainly won’t get it when I return. And I will definitely return, because the crust is solid and everything else we had showed has some serious chops. But to those who call it the best pizza in Weschester, I would ask that they try The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry, Polpettina in Eastchester or Frankie & Fanucci’s in Mamaroneck and then let’s talk.

*Okay, crow eating time. I may be ferocious, but I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong. Well, not that I was wrong about the funghi per se, just wrong to judge the place by one pie. Upon returning, both the Margherita pizza and the Tenderoni were excellent. The former simply being a dimension of incredibly fresh tomatoes and basil. The latter being the result, most likely, of emulating one of my favorite pies on Earth, Roberta’s Bee Sting. Spicy soppressata, honey and chili oil.

But let’s get back to those serious chops. Especially when it comes to dessert. We shared two the first time; the ciocolata with amaretto cookies and the affagato with espresso poured over it. Both were delish. But I don’t think you can fully appreciate how monumental it is for me to say such a thing until you’ve had a little deeper insight into the Ferocious Foodie. I actually hate the taste of coffee. It is in fact the ONLY thing in the world of food I don’t consume. And it’s pretty categorical. I don’t like it as ice cream, in desserts like tiramisu, as sweet drinks like Cappuccino. With a fox in a box. You name it. That is until now. Yes, after 44 years of hating everything I’ve ever tried that has to do with coffee, an espresso smothered dessert finally showed me the light. So praised be Fortina! I can see!

P.S. Their bread pudding is damn tasty too!

P.P.S. Having been back now over a dozen times a few other shout outs worthy of note would be the Bisteca (rib eye), the Totes Ma Goats pizza and the sweet corn polenta. Three of my favorite things on the menu and the rib eye is probably the best steak I’ve had since the French Laundry, and that’s some insanely high praise right there.

4 teeth

Via Vanti!

Mount Kisco Train Station • 2 Kirby Plz. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • (914) 666-6400 • viavanti.com

ViaVanti_Meatball

If you want 4 star Italian or better, this isn’t it. I’m sorry Yelpers, but you must be smoking the oregano if you think this place is that incredible. It’s just okay at best. Granted I thought the service was worthy of 4 stars. But the food is only marginally better than an Olive Garden, with crazy inflated prices. Which is hard to believe that some of you thought it was a great value! I guess compared to NYC, but that’s not saying much.

Here’s the breakdown. I had a glass of their most expensive wine by the glass, basically an Italian Pinot Noir and it was hardly worth $6 much less the $15 they charged. And having just had a glass of wine two days prior at Village Social that was excellent, it only exacerbated the issue for me.

As a starter, we shared the sunflower seed salad with grapes, which was good, best thing we had.

And for entrees, we all had various pastas. The kids had farfalle with meatballs to the tune of $17 bucks each! Does this sound like a cheap place?

I had the Arribiata with Shrimp for $24, which was far from spicy and equally distant from worth it. Granted I like a lot of heat, but this thing didn’t even register on my scale. Tasted more like marinara.

The wife had the orcchiette and that was probably the best of the bunch, but there is a place in Irvington called Mima that makes a very similar dish, but does it about 5 times better.

And as for the gelato, “amazing” it is not. If you want “amazing,” go to Eataly in the city. Then you will know what amazing is. And this is not that.

But I suppose I only have myself to blame. I mean an exclamation point in the name is a pretty big hint that you’re not exactly in for a culinary delight.

Now, before I leave on a down note, I wanted to offer some sage advice; if you truly want excellent Italian at a great price in Westchester, then go to The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry. Sure it’s harder to get into, but that’s because it actually deserves its stars.

2 teeth