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La Foresta Restaurant & Wine Bar, Killingworth, Connecticut, USA

La Foresta - Wine Cellar Dining - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
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Filet Oscar - La Foresta & Wine Bar, Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience

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.

La Foresta - Wine Cellar Dining - Killingworth, CT

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.

Oriental 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.

Giardiniera - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience

Our server 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.

Fried Oysters - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Fried Oysters

We love 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 - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Blackened Swordfish Tacos

We also 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.

Stuffed Lobsters - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Stuffed Lobster

In addition 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.

Filet Oscar - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Filet Oscar

For our 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 Oscar.

Vanilla Bean Gelato - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Vamilla Bean Gelato

We ended 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.

Creme Caramel - La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Crème Caramel

After 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.

La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT
La Foresta

Until next time, cheers and Bon Appetit!

La Foresta 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 9:00 pm.

Please check the La Foresta website for additional information and to make a reservation: www.laflorestarestaurant.com

La Foresta Restuarant & Wine Bar - Killingworth, CT

La Foresta Restaurant & Wine Bar
163 CT-81
Killingworth, Connecticut 06419
United States
Telephone: +1860-663-1155
Website: https://laforestarestaurant.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/laflorestact
Instagram: www.Instagram.com/laflorestakillingworth
TripAdvisor: La_Foresta_Restaurant-Killingworth_Connecticut

Read more about our visit to Madison, Connecticut in theDestinations, 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 SpaAdventures – Riding a Bicycle Built for Two, Madison, CT, Adventures – Thimble Island Cruises aboard the Sea Mist,Liquor Cabinet – Stone Creek Brewery, andWine Cellar – Chamard Vineyards and Bistrosections of Luxury Experience.

For more information on visiting Madison, Connecticut, please visit the websites: www.madisonct.com and www.ctvisit.com.

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