Enjoy a warm atmosphere along with the finest Italian cuisine at Portobello Ristorante.
Although the waiters at Portobello can be best described as surly and unattentive, the food makes it all worth it. The restaurant is small and cozy, lit by candles and very intimate. The kitchen is also open, adding plenty to an already delightful atmosphere. If only they could get their servers to do their jobs! On entry, we were curtly shown to our tables, and didn't see a server for a good 10 minutes. When he finally did arrive, he took our orders (Carpaccio to start, leading into Penne with Italian Sausage and Risotto) and a couple waters. He then left the menus there for some reason, and didn't reappear with the waters for another 10 minutes, despite us flagging him down and asking again.
But whatever, the food was outstanding. The carpaccio was perfect; fresh and flavourful, seasoned perfectly. At only 12, it's a perfect starter to share over a date. The main courses were also very good, the risotto comes with prawns and scallops and has a lot of taste to it. For people who prefer simple pasta, the Penne is cooked quite well.
The place has an opportunity to be a lot better though. Scanning the room, I didn't notice much improvement on the lackadasical service I was getting from my waiter. They all seemed to just not care. Hopefully the owners notice this, and take the necessary steps to push this great little restaurant over the top.
Their osso buco is absolutely delicious! Flavourful, tender, juicy and huge! The accompanying risotto is delicious as well. Their linguine is pretty well made but the chorizo isn't that great. Their desserts can be skipped as well as their tiny, though very tomato-y calamari. Though freshly made, the desserts are not very exciting and most definitely not their strong point.
The room is cozily small, while the booth seats are nice, and the lighting/colouring is pretty, but some of the table seatings feel a little cramped especially the 2-seaters right up against the wall. The table feels a little narrow and with it up against the wall, it feels even more squeezed in.
The service is very warm & friendly and our server was the host of the evening and seems like the husband of the family-run place as I believe it was his wife behind the counter/bar who's also the one that makes the desserts, if I am not wrong in who he was referring to by name when he was promoting the lemon tarte and profiteroles (which basically was just cream puff inside a sundae cup topped with lots of whipped cream & chocolate syrup).
I will be making this a regular hangout, but I'd definitely just pass on dessert. Their house flatbread is really good though! Perfect for use with making pizzas, but unfortunately, I didn't spot a single pizza option on the small menu.
We went to this restaurant because it is in the Entertainment book and despite some of the poor reviews. I was expecting a dark interior, possibly a little dingy, poor service and so so food; but it is in the book and it is handy to the Stanley Theater. The front doesn't look overly inviting but what a pleasent surprise when we got inside. A very nice interior, great service and the food was as good as some we've had in Italy. The appetizer (melon and proscitto) was very good, the house red was great, the gnocchi, perfect, and the recommended dessert delicious. Though we shared the appetizer and dessert we were stuffed. Oh, and they make each cup of coffee fresh when it is ordered. Could this be the same place that some people described? We will definitely eat there again. Maybe it is true that generally only unhappy customers write reviews. Well this happy customer has written one too.
We were in the area and wanted to try the new location of Portobello and see if it was a good as we remembered a number of years ago when it was on west 4th avenue . Arrived at 5.30 P.M. without reservations and rather than make us feel like how could you even think of eating here without reservations on a Saturday night they smiled and took us to a very cozy table . The waiter was most charming and the food was nicely presented and tasted great . This is not the most creative menu but the items are what you expect from a traditional Italian trattoria type menu . the mussels wer an excellent started and the freshly baked pizza type buns were incredible . My wife ordered the tiger shrimp in a very tasty sauce and I asked if the veal Scallopina could be cooked with a Lemon sauce instaed of Marasal and the waiter instaed of having to ask the chef quickly responded that it would be no problem . one of the highlights of the meal were they vegetable acompliments that were both varied and properly cooked . All this combined with a great bottle of Volpocella made happy diners and we will be back .
We ate at Portobello because it offered an entertainment coupon, and with the discount we felt we got a fair value for money. Without the discount, though, I would have been unhappy with the value based on the quality of the food. The dishes we had were perfectly fine but nothing stellar. The service was decent and we were in and out in under an hour, but the bread didn't come until 2 minutes before the entrees, and even though I had told our server we need to be out by a certain time he didn't ask if we wanted dessert until it was so late we barely had time to process the bill. Oh well, we weren't sure we wanted dessert anyway, but we might have been persuaded if he had been quicker. I did like the wine list - not too long but with some local and foreign offerings by the glass and half litre.
After reading all the reviews I usually expect the worse about a place. I guess it was because we went on a weeknight and we went early so the service was not bad at all.
We got the mussels and calamari to start. I would definitely order the mussels again. And a good deal for $12.
The buns were nice and warm. Soft on the inside and toasty on the outside. Perfect to go with the sauce of both appetizers.
For the main course we shared the butter lemon veal and rib eye. Veal was a little too lemony. The steak was great, I mean, how can you mess up steak?
The portions were decent, did not feel ripped off.
The highlight was the tiramisu and really good Americano.
Will return to take advantage of their 3 course menu.
Newly renovated ristorante attracts those who enjoy great dining in the South Granville area. Italian is their specialty and no detail is missed when it comes to aromatic flavors, presentation in both the food and the décor.
Small and quaint place perfect for a table for two or a small gathering of great friends. Best time to be there is before 7-ish otherwise you could expect to wait in line on a Friday night.
I went there twice. The first time to check it out and see what the food was like there which was enough to organize a group to meet up for dinner for Singles Dine Out.
We had the special soup of the day, cream of asparagus that was rich and creamy and not salty followed by Insalata Mista (organic greens with vinaigrette dressing) and the Calamari Pizzaiola (squid sautéed in tomato sauce, capers, olives, garlic, and herbs). For the main course, the Scaloppini Di Pollo Con Carciofini (free range specialty chicken - thin slices of breast sautéed with butter, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, white wine and vegetables) and Filetto Di Rombo Alla Livornese (halibut filet lightly sautéed and drizzle with chardonnay, diced Roma tomatoes, capers, garlic, herbs, and vegetables). On a sweet note, homemade lemon tart and tiramisu.
Have food allergies? Let them know and the chefs will be able to accommodate your needs.
As great the food is, be aware for the weakness in service, as some of the servers are inexperienced. As mentioned before, arrive early to avoid disappointments or wait in line if you like standing.
If you plan to meet a group there, expect to have everything on one bill, as they do not have a system where they can cater to individual billing needs. If time is a concern, request your bill early as arrives in its own timely manner. This has been the common comment the singles had made. But if you are enjoying the company of a great date, perhaps it won’t matter when the bill comes. You may just order more wine.
This family run restaurant has been our family favourite Italian spot for a very, very long time. The generation running it and the location has changed more than once) but the quality, authentic flavour and nice family atmosphere remains.
Not sure I can understand the complaints about the service; we've been squeezed in without reservations (on New Year’s no less), had every special-dietary request accommodated with cheer. They even honestly tell you what is especially good today (or not). Every time, year after year. Never, ever had a bad meal here or a bad dish whether pasta, specials, the mains or dessert. And we are particular, almost fussy. Nice wine list too. Plus the prices are super-reasonable for the quality and ingredient freshness.
I would have to give this place and the family who runs it top marks for maintaining quality with consistency: rare for a Vancouver restaurant. Thanks for all the nice meals!
The staff (presumably family) were excellent and it had a very warm and inviting feel.
There were other patrons who were clearly regulars which always speaks well for the value.
Nicely portioned and the starting antipasto platter was terrific.
My husband main dish was the veal Ossobuco with risotto he was impressed by the big portion and taste
I ordered the three coarse dinner special,$29.95 Caesar salad followed with linguine con Vodka Alla Pescatore lots of Seafood
It was pleasantly spicy very good portion!
the dessert to die for, Hazelnut chocolate Cheese cake. excellent deal!
We definitively will be back.
Four of us ate at Portobello this past weekend, I was sceptical because of all the bad reviews, but I am glad we decided to give it a try anyway. Generally, we eat at the high end Italian restaurants in Vancouver, but couldn't get in as we waited to long to make a reservation, I really wasn't looking forward to this meal. But to my surprise, from our appetizers to our dessert, everything tasted great. We each started our with an appetizer - a minnestrone soup (huge portion and delicious), mussels (again, huge portion and delicious), a ceasar salad and a bocconcini and tomato salad - both delicious. For our mains, we had a spaghetti bolognese - delicious, tasted really fresh and like the pasta I have had in Italy; a penne alla salsiccia- the sausage had great flavour, as did the sauce; veal piccata and a veal parmigiana - both delicious. For dessert, we all shared a tartufo and finished off with some macchiatos - coffee was nice and smooth. The portions were huge and our service was good. I noticed that our waiter really paid attention to certian things that were mentioned in previous bad review ( such as not re lighting the candle) and was on top of all of these things. Our drinks were quickly refilled, he was attentive and an all around solid waiter. I would definitely recommend this restaurant and we will definitely go back there again. I generally don't write reviews, but I felt that this restaurant was so good and that since some of the previous reviews were not good, I needed to write about our experience. Give it a try!!
Me and my girlfriend decided to try out Portobello restaurant when we found it in our entertainment package. From the moment we walked in the door, we knew we were in store for a wonderful night. The restaurant had a wonderful atmosphere, from the decor to the music - everything just said 'romance'. The staff was energetic and friendly, and very helpful when I asked questions about their menu. They recommended several dishes that I hadn't had in quite some time, like the ossobuco, and the veal marsala. I haven't had an ossobuco like that in YEARS, and my girlfriend absolutely LOVED her marsala. For dessert we ordered the mini lemon tarts and a creme brulee. Both of them were absolutely incredible - likely because they were all made from scratch by the owner. You could just taste the quality and care put into each of these dishes. I would HIGHLY recommend Portobello to anyone one going on a date for the first time, or with a long time partner, or even with the family and friends. My only regret though, was that my stomache wasn't bigger so i could try some of the seafood dishes!
I luv having dinner at portobello's. I've been a customer for almost 9 yrs. I have absolutly nothing bad to say about the food I have had. Everything has been wonderful here. I've had birthday's here, held birthday's here, a wedding pre-dinner and a staggette dinner. My friends love it! If ur looking for cheap go to McDonald's. This is fine dining at a very reasonable price! Great food !! Luv Luv Luv it !
We ended up going to portobello on a cold saturday night. We entered the door and were quickly greeted by the hostess. Instantly noticed the open kitchen and warm atomosphere. It was quite refreshing to see the actual owners and chef cooking your food. Instead of just being used as a marketing tool and having a bunch of kids cook for you instead.
We started out with a bottle of san peligrino and a cozze appetizer with some of their homemade hot bread. The server was attentive and polite . Next moved on to the veal marsala con fungi and gnocchi. Both were very well done. Fresh and a nice light sauce feeling to them. The veal was nice and tender came with a nice variety of vegetables and felt nice and healthy . I could see how some people wouldnt like it if they were used to eating sauces with tons of spices and some msg. It had that homemade feeling to it.
We finished the night with some tiramisu. Again it was light and melted in your mouth. We thought the prices were very reasonable here and will definitely come back since we live in the neighborhood.
I went to Portobello with my long time friend from wayy back. We found this place by driving along Boardway, Portobello caught our eyes we didnt want to go joey's or catus club, nor all those big/lots of people/loud places.
i wanted to chat with my friend in a quiter place with a nice environment.
Portobello did it for us. It was busy but yet we can talk gently without screaming and yelling. The atmosphere definitely convinced me to write this review.
the food we ordered was great we had the calamari for appy, and the pasta ravioli/liguine calm for the main course. We both shared our food, the Liguine was absolutely amazing, all i can say is fresh fresh and plentiful!
the only downside about portobello is parking. So i would suggest either going there after 8 to park on the street or try the rear parking lot if its not full
i would advise people to try this place for a casual date or just for the great food.
What a pleasant surprise awaited us on Hallowe'en night after giving out all the candies to the children and shut out the lights and made our way to Portobello's to be with friends...
We were greeted by the warm ambience of Portobello's and the friendliness of the staff and owner was welcomed ...
Starting with Pino's homemade Minestone soup is always a good way to begin to wake up your taste buds..
Delicious ,piping hot and always made fresh..... what more could one ask.
As it was late - I decided on Angel Hair Spagetti Boglanese --- just spicy enough to excite the taste of the pasta.
And to finish off -- what else but one ( if not several ) of Rosa,s homemade desserts - that have usually been prepared that morning...
...... and the coffee - the best Americano I have had in this city...!!!
It was the perfect way to end Hallowe'en and always makes me realize why I keep coming back.
The UBC Food Society headed tonight to the Portobello Restaurant, not only to dine in, but to learn how to cook as well. The club approached Chef Roberto and Pasquale regarding a potential cooking class at the restaurant, and received a very enthusiastic response from both chefs. This being a very first class hosted by the restaurant and for the club, neither sides knew what to expect, but from my (student) perspective, it couldn't have been any better. The chefs opened the restaurant just for 20 or so of the students, and taught each of the club members how to roll their own fresh pasta dough, and make a fresh fettuccine carbonara in open kitchen. Chef Roberto helped us plate and create our own tomato and bocconcini salad. It amazed me as to how much attention and detail and prep time they put into hosting us, especially since we are not food critics, but simply a group of hungry university students. Even though we did not come for a sit-down dinner, all I can say is that we had a fantastic time, and those two chefs are not only knowledgeable in traditional Italian cuisine, but are passionate about what they do and considerate to those who walk through the doors of their restaurant. And of course, their fresh pasta is worth every bite. I highly recommend this restaurant and will be bringing my friends and family back in no time.
We have dinned here quite a few times now since we live close by. First thing you will notice is there is no table cloths. The atmosphere and service is more on the casual side. If you are older and expect table cloths and fancy music with snobby waiters this place is probably not for you. The music has an upbeat jazzy italian vibe to go along with the atmosphere.
The food here seems to lean towards classic homemade italian. Nothing is over the top. The average person will know most of the ingredients used. While the food is simple they manage to keep it very flavorful and fresh.
We usually end up having the penne with the italian sausage and tomato sauce and the linguine with vongole for pastas. The veal marsala (thin slices of veal) for entree is probably my favorite.
Prices are about the same as joeys across the street $10 - 24 range but the food is much much better and homemade.
I dropped in for an early dinner on a weekday, and was instantly greeted and seated. Service was both friendly and efficient from beginning to end of what turned out to be a very memorable night out.
My dinner companion and I ordered the calamari and stuffed portobello mushrooms to start, and both were fantastic. A previous reviewer commented on how the flavors are so "naked that on first bite it tasted like nothing I've had before." This statement is absolutely true for the food here - the calamari was so refreshingly "simple", yet complex in a way that I've never experienced before. The natural flavor of calamari was front and center, with the sauce serving to highlight and accentuate (not to overwhelm.) It is easy to season and dress up ingredients, but it takes the greatest skill to preserve and compliment the natural flavors of what you're working with.
I next had the gnocchi alla cardinale, and it was easily the best gnocchi I've ever had. The Georgia Straight wasn't kidding when it crowned it "Best Gnocchi in Vancouver." The creme brulee and tiramisu were very good as well.
The decor and ambience are both excellent - it is quite a romantic and cozy restaurant, and the careful placement of mirrors grants all diners a look into the open kitchen where the expert chefs create their food.
For a high end Italian restaurant, the bill was surprisingly small. I've easily spent over twice the amount of money at Cioppino's, and the quality of the food is very comparable between the two establishments.
Portobello Ristorante is one of the hidden gems of Vancouver, and I will definitely be back.
Wandered in on a whim on Friday night and were pleasantly surprised. Neither of us was in the mood for the usual South Granville spots and restaurant chains. The menu was simple (that's rare!) and we both opted for pastas.
My girlfriend had the spinach and ricotta agnolotti with tomato sauce. The flavours were so naked that on first bite it tasted like nothing I've had before. But it was so refreshingly simple, and the quality of ingredients and preparation were so high that I couldn't stop stealing bites from her plate. I chose the house-made gnocchi, which was tender and simple in an equally simple rose sauce. The flavours were subtle but beautiful, and the light wines that we chose seemed more full-flavoured than usual in context. We agree with previous posts that the fresh flatbread was fabulous. Portion sizes were perfect - not too large or too small.
The service staff did seem inexperienced, though very polite and friendly. For a Friday night the place was very quiet, maybe three other tables at 8pm. Has a nice Italian family vibe and it was great to see the chef preparing meals in the small open kitchen close by. Atmosphere is cozy and inviting. A nice quiet dinner escape amid the noise of Granville and Broadway.
Will definitely go again soon!
Couldn't decide were to go for a rare night out for a nice quiet dinner for two. Cruised the various reviews on this site and happened upon reviews for Portobello and all seemed very positive so decided to give it a try. Were delightfully surprised at the experience and it was exactly what we were looking for. The restaurant was very intimate, nice atmosphere and very inviting. The waiter was attentive, albeit a "low talker". Although the prices were in the medium range felt that the quality of food was worth the extra. All in all a very pleasant experience and we will be back.