Trattoria Il Forno, Horsforth, Leeds

il fornoThere’s a new Italian on Town Street in Horsforth… opened in August 2014 is Trattoria Il Forno.

Their facebook page states:

Trattoria il Forno is a trendy wood fired pizza restaurant, in the beautiful market town of Horsforth. Trattoria IL Forno will be happy to welcome everyone from penniless students to VIPs, with the authentic taste of Italy, according to the motto – ‘Quality and quantity at the honest prices’.

Not sure about the claim that Horsforth is a market town, it does now have a Deli Market held at a local school but it’s never had a ‘market’ as neighbouring market towns Otley and Pudsey do.

I originally spied this new eatery at the beginning of September when I went for my Bowen Therapy a few doors up the road, I noticed the new sign and heard lots of chatter coming from inside the open door.  A quick peep in the door and it looked pretty impressive so when I got home I was straight on the internet to find out how I’d missed this previously, finding out it had only just opened made it top of my list for where to eat asap!

So for my pre birthday meal with my parents and the Curly One we arranged to meet at Il Forno yesterday after work at 5.30pm.

There was no menu on their facebook site so I couldn’t even drool over what I fancied for my tea.  I’d found a few reviews online and spoken to @unharmonic on Twitter who’d eaten there the week before so I was definitely looking forward to some scrummy authentic Italian pizza.

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I love pizza… but always struggle to find a good one when eating out locally. Yes there’s always Pizza Express who aren’t bad for a chain but I’m still to find a good independent Italian that I’ll return to when in need of a pizza fix.

And the verdict was…

Oh I hate this part… can I sit on the fence for now and go back when they’ve been open a while?

I’d booked a table but there was no table set for four people when my parents arrived at 5.30pm. They had to split some tables while my parents waited. I arrived with the Curly One ten minutes later to a very noisy restaurant as a children’s party for around 12 kids was in full flow. During the next 20 minutes we watched the birthday cake come out, listened to happy birthday being sung, then portions of ice cream were served to the children. We still hadn’t been asked if we wanted to order drinks though we were ready to order our food as it was now 6pm. We could only see one lady serving and two chefs in the background.

We were finally served just after 6pm asking if we’d like to order drinks so I said we’d like to order food too. Dad ordered a Tropicana pizza, I ordered a Pesto pizza, mum the Fig and Goats Cheese pizza and the Curly One ordered the Calzone Mercadante and requested it without olives. When our pizzas arrived there was a bit of a delay with the Curly One’s being put on the table… the chefs had realised the ticket said no olives but they’d put them inside so had shouted across the restaurant to the gentleman who was also helping with service now, they did offer to re-make it but the Curly One said he was very hungry so would pick the olives out. Six olives later on his plate he said it had spoilt the taste of his pizza making it taste over salty.

I want to say the pizzas were amazing and in many ways they were, the toppings were wonderful, great choice and quality ingredients. The menu wasn’t the easiest to read, not sure what order the pizzas were in, it wasn’t based on main ingredient or alphabetically. One of the main problems was that we all found our pizzas hard to cut, the bases of three flat pizzas were still slightly doughy and were very hard to cut with a basic table knife as was the Calzone pizza.  That situation where you feel you’re tearing your pizza. I know some other restaurants serve a serated knife, like a steak knife, and that would definitely have helped.

The Pesto pizza and the Fig and Goats Cheese pizza were delicious with plenty of topping. The Tropicana pizza had a good amount of ham and pineapple on it. The ingredients definitely weren’t skimped on!

Pesto Pizza

Tropicana Pizza

Fig and Goats Cheese Pizza

Calzone Mercadante

The Calzone was ordered without olives, unfortunately the chefs missed this despite it showing on our final bill.  They were marinated olives and were absolutely delicious, I had a few on my pizza too.

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I was a bit disturbed at this whole clove of garlic that I found in the middle of my pizza.
Another of my pet hates is wooden boards. This was a board with a difference, depending which side you were trying to cut your pizza on it would move and rock due to it’s design underneath.

The wood burning stove a the back of the restaurant looked very impressive and we saw one of the chefs throwing a huge pizza base up in the air stretching the dough out, love how they do that, I’d just end up with it in my hair or on the floor.

Desserts were a choice of Tiramisu and gelato.  There was an Ice Cream Sundae mentioned on the menu but that wasn’t available when the Curly One asked for one.  There were 10 different ice creams on offer.

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Tiramisu is usually served in a square slice, I like how this was served in a sundae glass.  The top was lavishly covered in finely grated chocolate rather than cocoa which added to the taste and flavour.  Layers of sponge and cream with lots of coffee making this a very delicious dessert!  I hate when you get a huge spoon with a dessert and was pleased to see they brought out lovely shaped teaspoons with our desserts.  We all know that desserts are less fattening if you use a small spoon!!

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Mum ordered the Cassatta and Limonetta ice cream and the Curly One had the Ferrero Rocher ice cream and Mint Choc Chip.  I also had a scoop of Ferrero Rocher ice cream which I shared with my dad and it was delicious.  The Limonetta that mum was full of citrus zing and had the effect of a sorbet and was very fresh at the end of the meal.

As were eating our desserts the lights were turned down to a nice evening level and some music was put on in the background.

It’s currently bring your own with a corkage fee though I’m sure this is only temporary and that they’ll have a licence waiting to go through.

The restaurant was lovely inside, I loved the sparkly white granite wall and the effect of the logs.  As I’ve said already the pizza over looked amazing.  There’s definitely been a lot of thought and money put into this restaurant and I wish them luck in the future.  I’m not sure if the couple serving were the owners but they were both lovely and I think it can’t be easy to open a restaurant, it must require a lot of money, passion and hard work.  A few hiccups are allowed when somewhere is new and trying to make its mark and I look forward to eating there again soon.

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4 November 2014

I know lots of people who’ve visited Il Forno and every comment I’ve heard recommends their pizzas but a few mentions of service problems. I know it’s a new restaurant but service is a big priority. I do wonder how the paying restaurant diners can get 100% service when take away phone calls are coming through all through service.

Anyway I returned for pizza tonight with Mr C. The restaurant wasn’t full at around 6.15pm but we were told we should have booked, there were less diners in when we left later.

I was very pleased to see steak knives set on every table. This was one of my recommemdations in my original post.
Once again I was very impressed with the food, Mr C ordered a Carne Pizza and I again went with the Pesto Pizza. Delicious flavours with excellent quality produce.


Service was a little bit better but only two people doing everything front of house which included answering the phone for bookings and take away orders.

Il Forno definitely make good authentic style pizzas so I highly recommend if you’re in the area! We will be going again soon and hope this restaurant has a successful future as Horsforth is a competitive area for eating out.

The menu is a bit complicated so don’t miss the extra pizza choices on the back!

Don’t forget it’s Bring Your Own Bottle and pay corkage.

Trattoria Il Forno

85 Town Street



LS18 5BP


Telephone:  0113 345 0150


Like them on Facebook at:

Twitter: @trattoria_forno

I have not been asked or paid to make this review.  All comments are my own.


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