Enjoy a warm atmosphere along with the finest Italian cuisine at Portobello Ristorante.
I have to disagree with previous review on over hyped, and on portions size. I don't think there really has been much hype about this restaurant, but the food quality certainly deserves it. As for price, it's a lot cheaper than some other really over-hyped Italian restaurant that I can think of.
The portion sizes are smaller than what we've grown to expect from Italian restaurants, but I thought the portions were perfect for me. Any more and would have been a waste.
Service is their only real weakness. Indifferent, rushed, and not particularly friendly. Hopefully, this is something they can fix, they would have the potential of being great if they did.
Food tasted good but portions were too inconsistent. My GFs pasta was very well portioned, she had the mussels and it was delicious (i had some). I had their special of the week (something never to get) which was jumbo shrimps and fetuccini. It tasted good but it was so small i did not believe my eyes. I had to eat it so slowly to keep up with my gf its not even funny. I thought it was going to be very cheap considering the size but it turned out more than my gf's dish. we also had the callamari. Not bad but seriously small. Service was very good and they look like they care alot about customer satisfaction.
While looking for a new genuine European family-style restaurant for my social group to dine at, I decided to check out Portobello Ristorante on Broadway for a quick lunch.
The interior is clean, tidy and updated well. The background music contemporary italian, but maybe a tad to loud for an empty restaurant. Yes, empty at 12:30pm on a Thursday.
Well, ok, there was 1 other guest. Maybe italian isn't the hottest thing to go out for, but that doesn't explain an empty place at the peak of lunch hour. Maybe it's the timid young server, who can't remember the price for beer or how to smile. Maybe it's the unmotivated chef, that prepares oily pasta to match his hair. Or his recommendation against Parmesan cheese on my partner's vongole pasta, yet pairs his Scaloppini al Limone with spaghetti tomato sauce. Tomato sauce with a white wine lemon sauce on the plate ?? I did request the spaghetti to remain plain without the tomate sauce, hoping it wouldn't incur the "change fee" of $6 on top of the $16 entree. Yes, $16 for a lunch entree.
While the portion was decent, it was too big and pricey for lunch. Yet, quantity never substitutes for quality. The al limone sauce was bland, acidic and contained too much gelatin, flower or some other thickener. Instead of serving the spaghetti in the white wine sauce that's already on the plate, it came with an orange-colored oil that I couldn't identify. It was tasteless and boring. The espresso was ok, but not much above Starbucks quality.
$40 for 2 at lunch with only 1 beer & 2 mediocre plates is way too much. I'll be looking elsewhere to take my group of 25.
First, the place is so small. It is very very dark in the whole place. I mean I guess they think they're being romantic by doing that, but they should let people have an option as to what they want, like they should just have a certain section where it's dark for some people to sit at, and just put those candles or tea lights on the table.
Being so Dark in the place, we could barely see our Menus, and what we wanted to order.
The Prices are Riduculous for the small portions they give you. I mean, the portion is filling enough for a woman, but, it's definitely not a Man sized meal! They give you a piece of Ciabata bread with your order, but they don't even know how to cook it it, they give it to you burnt!
We both don't drink Alcohol, so we asked for some pop/soda. and they give you such a tiny little glass, and it's not refillable. so we asked for some water. well they don't even give you ice in your water. we had to ask for ice, and they acted like they were mad because we wanted ice. then they gave us some ice in this tiniest little glass. one smaller than the glass of pop.
The service wasn't very good, the owners kept watching you from the kitchen, like they were watching to see if you would eat and finish your food.
And like I said about the prices, just for the 2 of us, my boyfriend and I only ordered 1 entree each, and 1 glass of pop each, and the bill was between $ 47- $50. And we've gone to other Italian Restaurants where we've gotten a lot more than 1 entree, and it sure never cost us that much. We are Definitely Never Going back here Again!
Well, this may have been an anomaly given the nature of the previous reviews, but this place was awful when we visited, as the food was completely unacceptable. I'm not sure if it were the items we ordered or the chefs had an off-night, but they clearly could not remotely balance out the flavors properly, in any of the three courses, going from the extremes in blandness to the pillars of salt tasting.
The portobello mushroom appetizer, its own namesake, tasted extremely bland, as did the seafood linguine, which was extremely underwhelming, inferior in quality to any chain restaurant you can name in town (yes, even White Spot pasta) and something that I could probably have made better myself. The seafood risotto was so terrible I had to send it back, as there was probably more salt in that dish than five pizzas - it was the first time I've had to do this in half a decade as I usually just bear with it as long as it is edible. Its second incarnation was no better, so I didn't even bother with it. Dessert, a tiramisu cake serving, was flat and uninspiring - again, beneath the standards of what should be "inferior" establishments like a neighborhood cafe, yet costing double what it would. The wine was the only saving grace.
In terms of service and ambiance, it is what is expected of the price range of the establishment: Quiet, contemporary, relatively comfortable seating (though the temperature was a little cold when we visited so we had to keep our coats on). Service was acceptable - the staff were not particularly friendly or accommodating but were quick and effective.
Bill for two came to around $70 with tax and tip, including our very disappointed appetites. I do not mind dining at finer establishments and have had wonderful experiences in many higher-priced restaurants in this city, but the level of quality for the food has to justify the cost. We will not be back and will recommend all our friends to do the same.
My wife and I enjoy the cooking and food at Portobello. Unfortunately the same can NOT be said for the service staff. Dined at Portobello three different evenings over the last 6 months and always we come away feeling liked we have had our dining experienced spoiled by slow and disorganized and incompetent service. Attention from the waiters is slow to appear and people who have ordered after us are often serviced their food first. Extremely difficult to get any waiter's attention. Find these problems to not be going away, despite being served by different waiters. It is too bad, since the cooking is solid, but there are just too many choices of good Italian places in Vancouver to put up with Portobello's service. We will NOT be returning. Not recommended unless you enjoy feeling very frustrated while you are out for dinner.
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.
My meal at Portobello was a mix of highs and lows. It started on a low, when upon arrival we were greeted and offered any seat in the restaurant as we were the only patrons at 6PM on a Friday night. We chose a table and the server (manager as well?) came by and very quietly rattled off some specials. It was almost like a 14 year old asking a girl to a dance. He seemed nervous and uncomfortable, and spoke so quiet we could barely hear him in an empty restaurant.
After a few awkward trips to our table to bring some bread and the different menus we ordered some drinks and appetizers. The Bocconcini and Tomato Salad ($10) was good, nice and fresh. The size was also pretty good for the price, with a good amount of cheese. But beware, if you ask for it to share, they will bring it out on 2 plates (handy!) but then charge a $2 share charge on the bill.
They were sold out of Stella, disappointing but the wine selection was decent. Waters were brought out with lime but no ice. Strange.
Entrees were solid, but far from spectacular. Again, ordering was a challenge as the communication from the waiter was bad. It's hard to describe. He was not around much when you needed him, but way too much when you didn't. Regardless, our food came in a reasonably timely fashion. We had the Veal Parm, Salmon Fettucine, Rib Eye and chicken fettucine. The pasta was fresh and perfectly cooked, although the sauces were disappointingly bland. THe steak was a thinner piece, but cooked well. Veal was delicious, but the side of gnocci was disappointing. Prices were around $22 for meat dishes and $17 for pasta.
Dessert was the definite highlight. Tiramisu was good, and the Creme brulee was amazing. If I ever go back it will be for the creme brulee. Great vanilla flavour and a good way to end a so-so meal.
If this restaurant could inject some personality into their servers, and spice up the entrees a little more it would be a much better place. Props though for allowing us to use 2 entertainment coupons for our 1 table of 4.
Went into this restaurant with reasonable expectations for a great italian food experience, but I found the experience mixed.
The decor and atmosphere was very contemporary and felt quite cozy.
The appetizer (boccocini with tomato) was great and the portion and price were reasonable. Same with the dessert (chocolate hazelnut pear ice cream)
The service however was the weakpoint of the whole experience. The service staff were quite unfriendly and didn't even crack a smile through the whole time. We had to initiate all our requests as they didn't come by the table very often. Coffee served was not hot.
For the entree, the gnocchi that I ordered was also not as good as reviews stated. First they got the order wrong, and when I got the gnocchi, it looked like they just drained the sauce from the first dish and put in gnocchi to fix it. The portions were very small and bland and I felt it was overpriced for what I got.
I won't be returning to this restaurant anytime soon.
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.
As the previous reviews note, the service is very weak. It definitely matches the energy of the restaurant. The restaurant's decore itself is extremely cozy and warm, however, the energy of the restaurant feels strangely quiet. To add to it, the servers were not very friendly. However, the food was quite enjoyable - the seafood is a definite must. Overall, it was a positive dining experience but just don't expect much from the service.
We had a big group. 15 of us crammed into this tiny restaurant and you know what, everyone left happy. The service was very slow - but the ambiance was outstanding and food was very decent as well. One of the best "little" places in Vancouver.
We have been there a few times now and each time it has kept getting better and better. They have only been on Granville and Broadway for a few months now but you can tell that they are finally starting to settle in. Fridays and Saturdays can be a bit hectic and loud . Expect lineups if you Don't have a reservation. We went last Friday and it was a blast one of the waiters was singing in Italian. The music and atmosphere was warm and cozy. The service was very friendly and helpful with the wine. The food the reason we all go out to eat of course. Excellent homemade tasting. Not overdone at all. You can tell they use fresh stuff daily. This is the type of food you can go to and eat regularly and never get sick of. Recommended dishes would be the ossobucco , saltimboca, calamari and the prawn appetizer.
We had the homemade sicilian cheese cake for dessert. Was nice and light and melted in your mouth.
If you are looking to get in someplace for dinner on a Friday evening nead Granville and West Broadway, you usually have to be prepared to wait. We weren't too willing to wait in the rain at the usual places and that's when we stumbled across Portobello Ristorante, a place none of us were familiar with.
The place filled up fairly quickly after we got in. The room is very attractive and comfortable. The menu is not very large but features many classic Italian dishes. And all very reasonably priced.
I started with prawns in a creamy, spicy garlic sauce. Very delicious! My wife had the caesar salad and brother-in-law had the mussels. The mussels were very large, meaty, fresh and tasty.
For an entree, I had the Veal Scallopini. It tasted incredible! It was served with a prosciuotto crust and a variety of fresh vegetables. My wife had a chicken dish and brother-in-law had a different veal dish. I wasn't about to part with any bites of my veal to trade for bites of their's so I didn't try them. But they both enjoyed their dishes.
The only negative comment I have would be the service. There were a couple of the wait staff that seemed to be fairly inexperienced. The empty glass from my drink that I had when I first arrived, was still on the table when I left. I had placed my prawns tails on my bread plate and they remained on the table during my main course. Also, it took about 1/2 an hour to get the bill after we had finished our dessert.
But we all agreed that we would definitely return to Portobello. We can deal with weak service to enjoy great tasting Italian food.