Il Fornaio is one of our "treat" restaurants for special occasions; it is a little pricey (most entrees are in the mid to high $20 range), but it can be counted on to be consistently good. With the opening of the new arena, Il Fornaio now offers free parking with validation at the adjacent Wells Fargo building in garage, which will be a huge help as traffic ticks up downtown. Everyone for our special evening was very gracious - from the hostess who let us use the house phone for an emergency call to our wonderful waitress Naomi, who bent over backwards to accommodate both the birthday guest and my elderly mother. Bread at the table was freshly baked and generously offered. We had the calamari also (a favorite) and the caesar salads that evening had wonderfully fresh dressings that may be one of the best caesars I've had in a while. The linguini mare chiaro (sp?) had a nice spice and a generous amount of seafood. The risotto was a very generous portion and my husband thought it was excellent. I had the mixed grill of fish, a new menu item for me, and thought it tasted fresh and nicely seasoned. We had the mixed platter of desserts, which is advertised as a trio but came with a scoop a delicious sherbert as well - it was plenty for four people to share. We left stuffed and delighted by our evening. The ambiance in the restaurant is absolutely lovely, although the high ceiling sometimes makes it a little hard to hear low conversation. My comments about the "family and kid friendly" nature of the restaurant have to take your particular kids into consideration. It's a big deal for us to go out for dinner, so our kids know they have to be on "church behavior" for lack of a better word. The restaurant is a destination, and other diners would not be grateful for kids misbehaving. That said, there is good yummy stuff for them to eat.
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