We had an
elegant and romantic dinner at La Foresta Restaurant &
Wine Bar in Killingworth, Connecticut, a gourmand's
and oenophile's dream of a restaurant with exceptional
cuisine and a wine list of over 1,600 selections and more than 16,000
bottles. Owner Francesco Lulaj opened his stunning fine
dining Italian restaurant in July 2014 and has been attracting
attention ever since. A beautiful setting, gracious hospitality, outstanding
cuisine and wine, and service are the hallmarks of an excellent restaurant, to
which La Foresta succeeds.
La Foresta - Wine Cellar Dining
We dined at
La Foresta on Saturday, July 15, 2023, when the restaurant was in full swing. The
spacious and attractive restaurant has different dining options to appeal to
their clientele's preference. For small parties, guests can dine in the private
first floor wine cellar, or in the larger wine cellar on the second level for
wine dinners, wine tastings, or private gatherings. There is also another more
open dining room, and for less formal dining, guests can dine al fresco on the
covered deck, or enjoy dinner in the spacious square wraparound bar.
For a more
intimate and romantic dining setting, we were seated in the attractive dining
room with a cathedral ceiling, a floor to ceiling window, and original oil
paintings by Killingworth artist, Diane Aeschliman on the lower part of the walls.
The name, La Foresta translates as "the forest" in Italian, and the large-scale
wood sculptures by the artist Doug Ball on the dark wood that cover the upper
portion of the walls and ceiling deftly capture that essence. Interesting to
note about the wood sculptures is that the artist created them by dismantling and
repurposing wine barrels. Reflecting Francesco's heritage, the double-headed
eagle of Albania soars majestically over the window, and a large horse and a
bull also grace the dark wood walls.
carpets added warmth, while a massive wrought iron and glass chandelier along
with soft music added ambience to the attractive room that was a visual feast
for the senses. Dark wood tables were positioned around the edges of the room,
and high-backed wraparound leather banquettes created a more private dining
space in the center of the room.
brought us a bowl of spicy giardiniera, a heavy mix of pickled celery, red and
green peppers, and red onions, accompanied by crusty bread to pique our
appetite as we perused the well-crafted menu, which is divided into Starters,
Seasonal Favorites, and Entrees, with enough diversity in each category to
appeal to a variety of palates.
oysters, and when we saw that they had Fried Oysters in the Seasonal Favorites
section, we had to try them. Presented as a dozen delicately golden battered
fried oysters drizzled with siracha aioli, they were sheer perfection, melted
in our mouths, and were about as good as you can get. While many restaurants
have raw oysters on their menus, it is not often that restaurants have fried
oysters, so when they do, we indulge, and La Foresta's version was delicious!
Blackened Swordfish Tacos
enjoyed their Blackened Swordfish Tacos, one of their Starter specials for the
evening, which were two tacos wrapped in miniature corn tortillas with mango,
slaw, avocado, and red onion, and topped with lime slices. This was another
very tasty introduction to the style of the kitchen.
to the diverse entrees on the menu, there were a number of specials for the
evening, including four lobster specials. We opted to have the Stuffed Lobster,
presented with creamy mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus, which was so
large it hung off both sides of the platter. The lobster meat was succulently
sweet, and the stuffing so well-seasoned that a squeeze of lemon was all that
was needed, although there was hot, drawn butter to accompany it. The pairing
wine for the lobster was E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône AOC, Southern Rhône, France,
2021, 14% alcohol, made with a delectable blend of 60% Viognier, 15% Roussanne,
10% Marsanne, 8% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc, and 2% Grenache Blanc, which was
offered by the glass or the bottle.
other entrée, we also opted for one of the specials, the Filet Oscar topped
with a crab cake and bathed in a generous, rich pool of Hollandaise sauce, over
beautifully presented creamy mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The pairing
wine for this course was Hess Select Winemaker's Blend Treo 2017, 14.5%
alcohol, American Canyon, Napa County, California, made with a blend of 35%
Petite Sirah, 33% Zinfandel, 19% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, and
2% Carignan, which was offered by the glass or the bottle. The result was a
richly aromatic, full-flavored wine with dark fruit and berries on the palate,
soft tannins, a lush, lingering finish, that fully complemented the Filet
Vamilla Bean Gelato
our dining experience on a sweet note with their Vanilla Bean Gelato with berry
compote and whipped cream and a selection of Bridgewater Chocolates, and their
Crème Caramel, also accompanied by berry compote and whipped cream.
dinner, we took a tour of the wine cellars with Frank J. Mosca, Wine &
Spirits Manager, who explained how the wine tablets help him manage the more
than 16,000 bottles of wine. Important to note about La Foresta Restaurant
& Wine Bar is that it has received the Wine Spectator Best Of, Award of
Excellence, consecutively since 2016.
time, cheers and Bon Appetit!
Restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 12:00 pm until 9:30 pm, Friday
and Saturday from 12:00 pm until 11:00 pm, and on Sunday from 12:00 pm until
check the La Foresta website for additional information and to make a reservation: www.laflorestarestaurant.com
Restaurant & Wine Bar
about our visit to Madison, Connecticut in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts - The Homestead
Madison Bed & Breakfast, Restaurants - The Wharf
Restaurant, Restaurants - Café Allegre, Restaurants
- La Foresta, Chefs' Recipes, Spas - The Healing Salt Cave and Wellness Spa Adventures - Riding a Bicycle Built for Two, Madison, CT, Adventures - Thimble Island
Cruises aboard the Sea Mist, Liquor
Cabinet - Stone Creek Brewery, and Wine Cellar - Chamard Vineyards and
Bistro sections of Luxury Experience.
information on visiting Madison, Connecticut, please visit the websites: www.madisonct.com and www.ctvisit.com.
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