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Where to Eat Now: Sforno Trattoria Romana

Home of the inimitable Osso Sforno

Sforno Marco Monnani

By Maya Silver | Editor 

Chef Marco Monnani has been bringing the tastes of Rome to Boulderites for about 14 years. From the piazza-style restaurant on Pearl, to the homemade pasta and mozzarella, to the imported Italian ingredients, to the Roman-to-the-core dishes dominating the menu, you may find yourself so transported at Sforno {1308 Pearl Street, Boulder; 303.449.1787}, that you expect to see the Colosseum out the window here. Oh, and Marco is in the kitchen six days a week (“I’m from Italy–work is good,” he assures us), so if you want something special, go ahead and ask him for it.

Here’s why Sforno Trattorio Romana is the place to eat right now:

Street cred: Not only is Marco from Rome, but he was the original chef at Antica Roma, and also opened the first mozzarella bar in Colorado at Bacco Trattoria, Sforno’s sister restaurant with three locations across the Front Range.

Piazza on Pearl: Wonder what it’s like to set foot in a Roman piazza or a neighborhood trattoria? Step inside Sforno. The casual ambience, tablecloth-less tables, and casual, friendly service will make you feel right at home.

Wood-fired everything: Okay, not everything. But the pizza, special fish dishes, portobello antipasti, and other creations get their crispy, smoky, sultry characters from a stint in Sforno’s brick oven, which is fired with pine wood and pine wood only, and reaches temps of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sforno

A little bit of this, a little bit of that: Marco offers many small plates, including bruschette, Carciofi (fire-roasted half artichoke with balsamic reduction, EVOO, and roasted garlic aïoli), and Fritto alla Romana–tempura fried eggplant, zucchini, and butternut squash with garlic aïoli.

Homemade con amore: Every ribbon of pappardelle and morsel of gnocchi here is made fresh by hand. The only pasta that’s imported is the dry pasta, like the spaghetti, bucatini, and penne. The kitchen also make it’s own sheep’s milk ricotta, Burrata, and mozzarella.

Sforno's Spaghetti

When not in Rome? Importing products from the streets of Italy is the next best thing. Sforno brings in cured meats (like prosciutto di Parma), San Marzano tomatoes, bucatini, mozzarella di bufala, stracchino, olive oil, and zero grano flour from Italy, which makes for the perfect pizza dough. Sforno also sources vegetables, some buffalo meat, and lamb locally.

Sforno's signature Osso Sforno

Sforno’s signature Osso Sforno

Must-try dish: Osso Sforno. “You can make the bone marrow many different ways, but the real authentic way is with a parsley salad with peppers, olive oil, and lemon–that’s a real authentic osso sforno,” Marco says of one of his signature dishes. He prepares it in this classic way–roasting it in the wood-fired oven, and served alongside spaghetti squash and grilled bread.

Other salutes to Roman: The Finocchio (braised fennel, anchovies, garlic, mint, and sambuca), the Carpaccio alla Giudecca (thinly-sliced raw beef with capers, baby artichokes, arugula, shaved Parmesan, and lemon oil infusion), and the Spaghetti Carbonara (pancetta, shallots, black pepper, and egg yolk with a touch of cream) are all authentic Roman dishes to try. The menu changes every three months, so expect new Roman experiences seasonally.

V-Day Dinner: Sforno will set the mood with its romantic setting, flowers for the ladies, and a four-course dinner for $55. Check out more information and the menu here.