Portland >Food & Dining > Portofino Caffe Italiano
8075 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720245.464585 -122.653109
Neighborhoods: Sellwood - Moreland Improvement League, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program
A deliciously authentic Italian eatery. Family recipes fill the menu and Italian wine overflows in their wine cellar. I should know because I ate dinner down there amongst racks and racks of beautiful wines that were all accounted for and way to plentiful to fit in my purse that evening. Pasta made fresh daily and cooked to perfection. Ricotta Gnocchi pan seared and topped lightly topped with white truffle oil and herbs, cavatelli swimming in a rich vodka sauce & home-made sausage - fingers to lips and proclaim delizioso!
Finally some real Italian – I've been to just about every Italian joint between the Pearl and the East side, and finally I found a place that serves real Italian comfort food. We had the wild mushroom fettucine, the seafood risotto and the linguini and clams, plus a flatbread with homemade finnochiona and the gnocchi. All was amazing. So pleased, full with out being uncomfortable and the bill was pretty kind two. With tip, it was right at $150, and we had two bottles of good wine. Both were awesome and reasonably priced, and the list is packed with lots of inexpensive selections. Cute, cozy and relaxing. Thanks, Portofino, you made a tough week far more bearable.
Oh the gnocchi! – I've been going to this place for years, and they have never disappointed me. It's always my go to place for a special occasion or when I have family and friends in town. And it's also where I go when I want a really solid meal. I could rave about a lot of different dishes there, but the gnocchi is literally the best I have ever had anywhere. Mmmmmm, truffle oil! They're done in a pan, so they have that little bit of crispiness, too. Ridiculous! They are consistently changing the menu enough to keep me interested, but the theme is always Italian comfort food. So if you don't want to take out a second mortgage, but you want a top of the line experience, this is the place. You'll find me there at least once a month.
Not a family kind of place – I don’t usually write restaurant reviews but in this case I feel compelled. I have heard that Porto Fino was excellent so I took the hook.
Now it is easy to compose a good review when you go with a small group (no more than 4 adults. If you wish to find out if a restaurant is really worth its salt, give them a challenge. A group of six to eight should do. Add two to three children and include a baby.
I know what you are thinking “children, how horrible. Sorry but family is a benchmark of the Italian experience.
The price of the meal is pretty high so the expectation should match. We were not offered a children’s menu so I am concluding that children are tolerated but not encouraged. So much for the “family” concept
Ok, so how did they rate? Let us begin with the food.
Seafood; the selection was pretty basic and with respect to preparation and display fell in line with but did not exceed say Denny’s. For the price very disappointing.
Italian; I got the impression that the sauces came out of a can. It did not scream Italiano too me. The whine was workable. I walked away thinking that I could have done better by going to Safeway and buying the lasagna in the aluminum pan. Add a little seasoning and you are there.
I will give them credit for the bread. They bought it well.
The service was good but not exceptional. Our server was definably present but some (not all) of the rest of the staff left me with the impression that they were annoyed by the presence of the children. That pesky family thing again.
The gratuity (in gratitude for service rendered) was added to the bill at 18% without our input. I am not really sure that it should be considered a “tip”
So three hundred dollars later I would have to say pass this one up.
Inconsistent food w/1 great & 1 less than great waiter – We've eaten here three times. The first 2 were good experiences, but then there is last night. The first two times we were a party of 4, seated in the window with great service and food. Last night we were a party of 8 seated smack in the middle of the place and most of us left unhappy. It started with a brusque waiter with no warmth or charm being dismissive and downright rude to several of our party. We were not being difficult either, just asking questons about the menu. Eveyone who had the pasta was disappointed with their dish ("heavy handed" "gummy" "just okay"). The "signature dish that has been on the menu for twenty two years" was overpriced glorified mac-n-cheese with red sauce. Was it an off night or a new cook? It makes us hesitant to go back.
Best Italian! – We went to Portofino lastnight for my birthday with another couple and were thrilled! The food was amazing from beginning to end. The gnochi and calamari appetizers were incredible. I had the scallops special and the rest of our group had the sausage and vodka. We tried three different deserts and they were also amazing. We are putting Portofino on our short list of must go to's!
A surprise – Recently met my family at Portofino for dinner and we enjoyed the atmosphere. The waiter was very personable. We ordered the family sized Caesar salad and found it to be a surprising disappointment. Lettuce was chopped into very small pieces, like the kind that comes in a bag at the grocery store. The dressing was flavorless-- not what one would expect for a Caesar salad in an Italian restaurant. There were a very few croutons, but nothing else. Very blah. The main course was better-- the porkchop with the fondue cheese was very good, and the creme brulee for dessert was also good. But the salad... needs work!
Fabulous, intimate dining!! – Ate here tonight with some friends. It was absolutely wonderful. We were waited on by Seth, the owner. He is really pleasant and obviously takes a tremendous amount of pride in the place. The calamari was not the best I have had...sort of bland, but all else was wonderful. Nice wine list, yummy pastas and risottos. I had the sausage and pasta with vodka sauce, awesome! The desserts are also delish! Highly recommend! Can't wait to go back and try some more yummies.
pasta heaven – The pasta is absolutely the best in Portland. Wine list is reasonable, and the server recomended the perfect wine for our specifications.
Wild mushroom fettuccine is a must have - tons of mushroom flavor without being too earthy or looking like a brown mush mess. The scallops with cream sauce was too lite on the basil, which is a very minor complaint due to the absolute perfection of the scallops. I would have just a plate of those scallops anytime!
Service was wonderful. Laid back and knowledgeable without a hint of snootiness that usually comes in portland 's smaller fine dining places.
This is definetly a date place, or if you just want a great intimate dinner experience. The food is so good I would go back by myself with a really good book.
In reading the other negative reviews, I would have to note that this is not a place for large groups or for children. The restaurant is very small, yet intimate - which is part of the charm. If there had been any larger groups or children there while I was eating, the atmosphere would not be as intimate. It's a Grown-Up restaurant, please leave the kids at home.
Best Italian Restaurant in SE PDX – Great Local Authentic Date Restaurant
The owner/host/waiter of portofino is one of the perks of the dining experience. He makes us feel like we're the only ones in the restaurant, and is incredibly knowledgeable about pairings. Never a bad meal--everything on the menu is amazing, and the seasonal specials are worth checking out. The revolving appetizers are a treat, and the wine selection is great if you want a nice bottle with your meal without spending a million dollars.
It's located in cute sellwood, and definitely has a neighborhoody vibe. We've yet to try their brunch, but I've heard it's killer.
The desserts can't be missed--their pots de creme are possibly the best desserts in town.
Skip Gino's, go to Portifino
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