This Alberta Street pie joint, opened in late February, sprang from a popular food cart near Portland State University specializing in thin-crusted, freakishly good pizza, calzones, scarpetta and stromboli. Owner Stephen Ferruzza, whose dad was born in Sicily, favors high-quality ingredients, such as the Argentine reggianito that’s sprinkled on just about everything that leaves the kitchen. No matter what bubbly baked thing you order, the dough is filled or topped with a medley of 10 or more rotating ingredients: northern propeller clams, caramelized Walla Wallas, salami, roasted black olives and sun-dried tomatoes are just a few. Al Forno’s decor bucks the polished-concrete minimalism of many newer restaurants. A worn couch and comfy chair in a corner strewn with books share the floor with mismatched tables and chairs and an open kitchen with a counter made from reused wood pallets. Big murals and burlap coffee sacks adorn the walls. It’s a cobbled-together joint, run by a group of friends, that happens to serve incredible food.
Order this: Stromboli, a sesame seed-encrusted pizza pocket filled with salty cured meats, vegetables and cheese.
Best deal: Kickass pizza on super-thin crust.
I’ll pass: The cannoli sounds good—with blended maple syrup, ricotta, Valencia orange and bourbon vanilla—but is heavy and grainy.