Il Fornaio Restaurant, Coronado Island, San Diego

With only days until the ASHA 2011 convention, it’s important to schedule your valuable time for the gruelling lineup of lectures, short courses, poster sessions, and exhibition stops. But even more critical is the need to answer that most important of questions: Where do we eat? [1]

Lat week, the Dudes tweeted a recommendation for Il Fornaio on Coronado Island but 144 characters hardly does justice to that – nor does it give you any specifics. So I thought I’d add just a few more details that might persuade you to make the trip. [2]

The first thing you need to do is take the ferry across the water to Coronado Island. This, in all honesty, is part of the fun of the experience. Provided there isn’t a force 9 gale threatening to provide you with a place setting at the table of Day Jones’ Locker, the brief trip across the bay is a relaxing prequel to the meal, and gives you the opportunity to see San Diego from the water.

San Diego

San Diego

There are two spots from which to catch the ferry, one of which is by the San Diego Conference Center and the other is at the Broadway Pier. The latter is at the west end of Broadway and the former just behind the conference center, so your choice depends pretty much on where you’re staying. For times, check the San Diego Harbor Excursion web site. The Broadway pier leaves on the hour and return on the half.

The restaurant itself is a short walk from the ferry landing on Coronado Island. You go through the Old Ferry Landing Shopping Center where you can pick up a cup of coffee on the way back.

Il Fornaio Restaurant

Il Fornaio

The restaurant offers monthly regional dishes so there’s never a bad time to go! On my last visit in March 2011, I had the Potato and Leek soup followed by Salmon Fettuccine, both of which were delicious. I could pretend that I kept copious notes on the flavors but in truth, I simply sat and enjoyed both the food and the company. [3] There was a group of us at the time and so we did the obvious in relation to dessert – shared several! Rest assured that chocolate, cream, and gelato play essential roles.

There are a couple of practical points to consider. The first is to book ahead just to make sure you get a table. By all means carpe diem and simply catch the ferry and hope for the best but if you can’t get a table because it’s full of SLP’s, you might be left with the Burger King for your culinary festivities.

The second is to time it so that it’s light when you go and dark when you sail back. This is so you can experience seeing the city in two ways and even, as I did above, take some pictures.

So that’s about it. The good news is that there are many fine restaurants in San Diego so if you can’t make it to Il Fornaio, you’ll be able to find other wonderful dining locations. However, if you want to combine a boat ride with dinner, this is an opportunity you’ll not be sorry to take.

[1] According to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “The history of every major galactic civilisation has passed through three distinct and recognisable phases: those of survival, inquiry, and sophistication. Otherwise known as the ‘How,’ ‘Why,’ and ‘Where’ phases. For instance, the first phase is characterised by the question: ‘How can we eat?’ The second by the question: ‘Why do we eat?’ And the third by the question: ‘Where should we have lunch?'”

[2] None of the Dudes is being paid by Il Fornaio for this recommendation. However, we’re aware that good social media trolls marketeers will be combing the web using RSS feeds to spot mentions of their clients, so it is possible that the nice folks at Il Fornaio may spot this blog and feel inclined to offer us at least a free drink at our next visit 😉 So, feel free, my Coronadan friends, to send us an email and we’ll work something out. And if, dear reader, you should decide to visit, feel free to mention the Speech Dudes and our website 😉

[3] So here’s a super secret tip that may – or may not – enhance your chances of improving the level of service you get in any restaurant. Carry a notebook, a pen, and occasionally scribble something. Anything. Make sure you are in visual range of your server who, if they are observant, will wonder if you are a restaurant critic. It’s a cheap trick but I am one of the more shameless Dudes when it comes to having a good time.


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