Restaurant Review : Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station

by on March 27, 2017 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

Restaurant Review

Buona Forchetta
2816 Sims Road
(Liberty Station)
San Diego, CA

After months of waiting for this South Park restaurant Buona Forchetta to open in Liberty Station, the wait has come to an end.  And even though I don’t like to do a review only a few days after opening, I couldn’t resist having lunch there with two widows on this day.

I felt that if it was adequate I just would not send in the review. As you can tell, if you are reading this, the meal must have been good because here is the review.

There are times that I am glad that I have a Handicapped Parking permit, because parking is not easy. Even at 11:30am all of the surrounding parking spaces were full, including the handicapped ones. One probably should park in the Liberty Market lot and just walk around the corner for accessibility to the restaurant.

We were greeted by the hostess, who gave us the option of eating inside or out.  Since it was rather chilly we elected to eat inside – until we walked inside and changed our minds.  Inside has a pizza counter; a beer counter; tables and music.  For some reason I felt rather claustrophobic and so did Candy and Irene.  We then said we would rather eat outside.

There are two outside patio’s – one that faces the street, and one that is in a pseudo play area for children.  Since we didn’t want to breathe the exhaust from the cars waiting for parking places we asked for the inside patio.  As we were walking through the area to go to the patio area, we passed a restored vintage red Fiat convertible, that doubles as a table for two. The hostess told us that one needs to reserve the “table” and there is an additional cost of $20. ( I used to have the same car!)

After we were seated, Ivan, our server, presented us with menu’s and told us about the specials of the day.  There were so many of them that we almost needed a notebook to keep track of them.  Ivan is from Serbia, and was absolutely delightful with a winning smile.  It was obvious that he had not worked here long – after all, they have only been open a week – and needed to ask the chef some questions that I asked him.

(For example – I asked him how the “Fritto Misto Classico” was served and his answer, in all seriousness, was “on a plate.”  Cute, huh?)

Potato Leek soup

The menu, like the one in South Park, is extensive.  There are 11 “Antipasti” – beginning with Zuppa del Glorno ($6) and ending with a Cheese Plate for $17.  There are 7 “Insalate”, beginning at $7 and going up to $15 for their marinated mixed seafood.

Listed under “Pasta” are 7 sauces ($13 for the Vegetariana and either $14 or $15 for the others) and five Pasta’s to put the sauces on. Additionally there is  Lasagna and/or Melanzana Parmigiana for $15.

The “Cucina” start with Scarpinocc for $16 and top off with a “T Bone FiorentinaX for two at $40.  There are seven other entrees listed besides the specials of the day.

Six sides are listed, all at $6.00.  There are 7 desserts listed for $8; and Dolci della nonna is $10.

And … the most amazing of all – there are forty-five varieties of “Pizze” listed.  Each one different than the other. There is one section of six Pizze listed that is either Vegan and/or Vegetarian, all at $15. On the Pizze menu are the classical NaPletane STG; Classiche Italiane; Le Fritte “Fried Pizza”; Calzoni; Le Bianche (no sauce) and six “Pizza Gourmet”.  One additional item is a “Pizza A1 Metro” which is described as “ … two feet long, no gluten free.  3 Flavors of your choice for $35.”  It also states that vegan is available for up to 3 people.  (There is also a note that says “Gluten Free Crust add $2.) Are you drooling yet?

All of the above items are featured on one page of a very long menu. On the back of that menu are the drinks – House wines, Sangria, Belnis, Sparkling Wines, Cocktails, White Wines, Italian Spirits, Red Wines Beers – bottles, draft and cans, Dessert Wines and non-alcoholic beverages.  There is a $15 corkage fee listed.

My student, Hitomi and our next door neighbor Celeste, went to the grand opening of Buona Forchetta, and  when she came back and raved about the artichoke. Of course we had to try it.  It is listed under the Antipasti section as artichoke hearts, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil for $10.  We decided to split it.

Artichoke hearts.

Also on the Antipasti menu was “Pizza in a Jar” ($10) and Irene decided to try it.  It is described as “fried dough, san marzano sauce, basil and stracciata.  The special soup of the day was Potato Leek  ($6).  Candy decided to try that.  I asked Ivan if they had other soup, like Minestrone, but he said they only had one soup a day.  I ordered the “Fritto Misto Classico” ($12) which was listed as calamari, shrimp, vegetables.

Now for the taste test!  I am a native Californian.  I have eaten artichokes ever since I was a little girl.  I grow artichokes now, but I have NEVER had an artichoke like the one we were served. (Actually there were 4 stems on the plate.)  Before anyone thinks I am being critical – they were delicious.

So what was my problem? I wasn’t sure how to eat it!  Do you eat the stems too? Did you take the leaves off of it and eat the heart separately?  I finally decided to cut it into fourths and devour it that way.  I could not decide whether or not to eat the stem so I left mine.  Candy ate hers and said it was delicious.  As I pick the artichokes from my tree I will attempt to cook it the same way.  (Wonder if I can get the recipe from Matteo?)

Pizza in a Jar

When Irene asked Ivan to explain the Pizza in a jar, I don’t think that any of us were prepared for what was ordered.  Yes, it was served in a jar; it appeared to be “soupy-like” but only served luke-warm.  What she thought must have been pasta really turned out to be the fried dough.  No bread was served with jar, so Irene asked if we could have some.  It was brought without question.

While we were eating it became apparent that the space heater near our table had gone out.  We asked the bus boy if he could turn it back on and in just a few seconds a handsome man, obviously Italian, came to fix it. (Ivan had some trouble in turning it on originally.)

I asked this man if he was the manager and he answered in the affirmative.  (I also asked him where he was from – my daughters spent some time in Napoli – and he answered “Texas.”  I don’t know how many times he has given that answer, but we all laughed.)  It turns out that this was Matteo Cattaneo, one of the co-owners of the restaurant.)

I asked him if he could explain more about the “Pizza in a Jar.” Irene would have liked it to be hotter, but Matteo said that the ingredient “Stracciata”  is a fresh cheese made of spun paste originally from Italy.  It is formed into flat strips and folded in on itself in a uniform manner or woven wire, made with cows’ milk. He said that if it was hotter it would melt but offered to make a new one for Irene. She declined, but he was most gracious.

The  potato-leek soup was delicious.  We all tasted it and agreed it had flavors that all complimented each other.

Fritto Misto Classico

But I think the best thing of the day – besides the artichoke – had to be my order.  Not only was everything cooked to perfection, there was a lot of it, particularly at the $12 price.  Besides the shrimp and calamari, there was also baby octopus, cauliflower, broccoli, and greens – served on the plate that Ivan spoke about earlier.  It was truly delicious, and I actually took a great deal of it home for dinner again. (Although the items were fried, Ivan did find out for me that I could have had them grilled if that was my preference.)

With the exception of the occasional airplane flying over, the noise level on the outside where we were eating was minimal.  (Louder inside the restaurant, and not quite as loud on the street.) It was a pleasure not to have to shout to be heard; and since I have lived in the area for so long am rather used to the 45 second pause several times an hour.

Our total bill, without the tip was $47.97.  (That included a can of Sprite for Irene and a can of Limonata for me.)

Would we go back? In a heartbeat.  After all, we have 45 pizza’s to try!


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Mercy March 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm

We have been anxiously awaiting the full opening of BF. I knew they were serving pies the past couple of months, but not the rest of the menu.

We avoided the pies too because of my very low carb diet which I’m now adding things back into since I’m power walking it all off these days.

When we first tried BF in South Park a couple of years ago, my New York, very Italian boyfriend said, “This is food like my Nonna used to make.” That warmed the heart of our server to hear.

Now that I’m eating a few more carbs here and there, we’re looking forward to going back in. So glad to hear you liked it too.


judi March 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm

The only thing that I didn’t mention – and it has nothing to do with the restaurant – was that we killed several mosquitoes while eating outside. That will be a problem for the establishment, and I meant to point it out to them but forgot.

But as I said – I’ll be back!


Don L. March 28, 2017 at 6:23 pm

awfully loud sitting and eating under the flight path. should probably be some prop 65 signs posted due to the soot from departing aircraft, too.


judi March 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm

All of the restaurants at Liberty Station have the flight path noise. Breakfast Republic was terrible. Another call to move the airport!


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