I live 2 blocks from Gran Forno Pronto, and I hadn't even done take out in 3 years. There are reasons for such things; I find the place kind of annoying. The service here is so inept that it more than cancels out the positives.jump-->
It's pretty cramped inside, but on a nice day they have a lot of tables on the sidewalk.
Gran Forno Pronto Outdoor Dining
On a nice day in October, the view is nice from a table on the sidewalk.
Gran Forno Pronto View
There's no hostess or structure to the place, just a bunch of people flying around randomly. When I got there only 1 other table was occupied, so I just sat down. As a server was flying by with a handful of menus taken from the other table, I put my hand out "I'll take one of those". And so it begins.
A bunch of servers passed me but nobody offered to take my order. Finally while I was waving the menu one stopped by. I ordered an iced tea and the Eggplant Parmesan; extra lemon please. Not a word and she zips off. She comes out several more times; finally she puts down the tea in front of me and runs off again. There are 3 skinny slices of lime on the glass. No splenda. An Italian cafe with no lemon?
Ok, so this happens now and then, although there is no excuse for a restaurant charging Las Olas prices not to have Splenda. I mean the pink is so yesterday. So I'm waiting and waiting, listening to bad club music cranking; hoping to get some bread. Nothing. So after about 15 minutes she drops off the eggplant and starts to take off. "No Bread with this?" I said. After all, they do own the most renowned bakery in town. "Oh, I'll get you some". Thanks babe.>
She came out with a basket of bread and an olive oil dip; the bread was cold but a veritable offering. I don't like balsamic in my dip but I made due.
The eggplant was a big portion; no pasta; just the main event. No offer of freshly grated cheese, of course; just the sawdust garnish on the dish.
The eggplant was cooked properly, although I prefer it to be peeled. The sauce was a bit watery and too pungent for my taste; no onions or garlic, so it failed to get more than a B grade from me.
When I was 2/3 done, my tea glass was empty. Servers were flying by right and left; nothing. When I was done eating, the empty plates failed to gain anyone's attention. Finally a woman came by who seemed to be a busser; she took the plates, leaving the empty glass and not bothering to have someone fetch my bill.
I literally sat at a table with an empty glass for more than 10 minutes, with servers walking by continuously.
Gran Forno Pronto Empty Glass
So the girl that served me is standing in front of the table looking around, still oblivious to the obvious. "Can I get my check please?". So she drops off the check, still with the empty glass on the table. Servers that want a tip would usually realize their mistake and offer a refill; but not at Gran Forno Pronto.
Adding insult to injury, she walks by 3 more times before picking up my credit card. A completely inept performance from beginning to end.
It's interesting when a restaurant name seems not to fit the establishment, and here we have a perfect example. If there's one place in Fort Lauderdale that I wouldn't use the word "Pronto" to describe; it's this one.>
Gran Forno Pronto has really grown up since if first opened. On my first visit here, it was a cold empty space where you could only get some pastries and illy coffee. Now, its a bustling restaurant with waitress service and a full menu.
They've added some tables outside since the main picture here (there were a lot of people dining and I didn't want to photograph them). Inside there are some stools at the bar and some tables mostly suitable for 1 or 2 people.
I decided on a "Mixed Italian" Panini, which is sort of like an Italian Sub on Ciabatta bread and then pressed.
Mixed Italian Panini
The sandwich is delicious; the bread is particularly good, although it was mis-sliced and it made one half particularly difficult to eat. House-made pototo chips are included; I had to throw them out after eating a few to keep from eating all of them.
I'm sure the owners will be horrified, but I added banana peppers and deli mustard to the 2nd half of this sandwich, and it was darn good.
It appears that Gran Forno Pronto has evolved into a solid, full-fledged restaurant that is a definite choice for lunch or a light dinner.