249 E Main St, Lexington, KY | Directions 4050738.043811 -84.493974
Mon. - Fri. 11am - 2pm;Sat. - Sun. 5pm - 10pm
Neighborhoods: Martin Luther King
always a good choice – I love dining out and when I am in the mood for Italian I always choose Portofino. I have been dining at Portofino for over five years now. Their house made cheese ravioli with the garlic sage butter is my favorite. Their bruschetta is, in my opinion, the best in town. The gorgonzola cheese sauce makes it stand apart from all others. For dessert, their tiramisu is my first choice. As far as drinks go, they are one of the few places in town which actually has in stock all the wines they offer. It is very frustrating to carefully select a wine for the evening, only to find they do not have any in stock. This is the case in many other Lexington establishments, but not at Portofino. The only downside to me is that the bar can sometimes get very noisy on busy nights, so if you want a quiet dinner, be sure to let the hostess know that when you make the reservation.
Food was excellent, service was very disappointing. – We went on a Friday evening, and as we are somewhat new to the area I had heard really good things about Portofino and was excited to try it out.
We were seated on the patio, and our server seemed to be overwhelmed the entire time, start to finish. She did not appear for our drink order for about 20 minutes, and then we waited another 10 for a bottle of wine. She made many very basic mistakes (my water glass was empty a couple of times, forgot the appetizer) which resulted in a quite unsatisfactory experience. She brought us dessert as an apology for forgetting our appetizer, which was much appreciated, but could hardly make up for all of the other issues.
What was really disappointing was the fact that while she seemed poorly trained and overwhelmed, there was no help of any kind in sight.
Organization of the patio area was poor; trips back and forth to the inside seemed wasted. Servers carried oil and vinegar, plates, water pitchers, etc. when these thing could have been set on a table outside and saved a lot of legwork.
The manager did not show up on the patio for the first hour that we were there, and when he did he made cursory rounds, stopping to talk at length to some acquaintances at the table next to us about a party that they all all attended the night before.
As a former restaurant manager, my primary frustration came from watching a manager who, once he finally appeared, seemed clueless as to the strain on his staff and who stood around, hands in pockets, while basic errors were being made all around.
And our server seemed to take a cue from him and paid extra attention to the table of his friends, further neglecting our table and others around us.
If the manager is unwilling to take a more active role in helping his staff, perhaps he should invest in a busser who can handle some basic service items and allow the servers to do a better job.
While the food was excellent, the service made it a place that I would hesitate to recommend.
Fair at best – I was really excited to try Portofino, but I was very disappointed. I do not mind paying Portofino's prices, but I want the service and the atmosphere and food to justify those prices. First off our server did not know the specials. He had to keep referring back to his notes and did not seem like had had even tasted that evenings specials. After bringing us bread he did not clear the crumbs from the table cloth. If I am going to pay $27.00 for a pasta dish I want my crumbs cleared from the table.
I noticed that three of the meat entrees came with mashed potatos. I would expect a restaurant that claims to be this caliber would have some more creative side dishes for their entrees.
There is a lot of restaurant competition in Lexington and it seems to me that Portofino is resting on its laurels.
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