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My Groupon brought me to Portofino Restaurant on a recent June evening. We were celebrating Glen’s daughter’s birthday. And we thought Portofino’s Italian / Mediterranean would be agreeable with a teen’s tastes. Three things to note if you are planning to visit Porfino: 1) Forced valet is NOT complimentary (they want 5 bucks – WTF?), 2) Regardless of a reservation or not, patio seating is first come, first serve, 3) Ladies – entrance and walkway is so NOT heel friendly.
So, you know how when you use Open Table to make a reservation, there is an option to put any special requests in for the restaurant? Well, I wrote that we were celebrating a Sweet 16 and anything they could do to make it special would be appreciated. My hopes were that Portofino staff would have brought out a dessert with a candle in it after dinner or something of the sort.
As the restaurant was rather busy, we could have been seated immediately inside or wait for the outside seating. Since it was lovely outside, we chose to wait for outdoor seating to become available. Also, the restaurant is rather noisy inside, so if it is full, don’t expect to having some romantic dinner if you sit indoors. Close to 9 a patio table at Portofino became available for us.
Our server told us that Portofino highlights a different region of Italy every month by crafting appetizers, entrees and selecting wines from said region. This month was Cambria, but the mushroom calzone appetizer didn’t sound too appealing so us, however, Glen did try one of the white wines from the region which he was very pleased with.
I chose Our server recommended a Tuscan Red which was velvety and delicious.
For starters, we chose the Short Rib Bruschetta ($11) and the Fried Artichokes ($8), having heard good things about both. The Bruschetta had a very generous amount of meat on it, so much so, that the bread almost couldn’t hold up. That being said, I found this bbq-like appetizer to be mediocre but not a standout in any way. The three of us enjoyed the Fried Artichokes more and of the 2 appetizers this is a better value. The breading was the perfect temperature, crisp and not in any way salty. And the tarragon aioli served with it was a perfect compliment.
Entrees were Shrimp and Eggplant as well as the Veal Saltimbocca: Veal Scaloppine, Prosciutto, Sage, White Wine, Tomato Bacon Potato Salad, and Asparagus. Yum- what’s not to love? The veal cutlets were pounded very thin, and all the flavors seemed to play off each other well. I had a tiny bite of Glen’s Veal, which was pretty tasty, and he cleaned his plate, so he must’ve thought it to be excellent too.
I quite enjoyed my Shrimp and Eggplant dish. The medium shrimp were properly cooked and the cubed eggplant pieces were well-prepared. The Basil Pappardelle that was part of the dish tasted like it was house made. I forgot to ask and didn’t see that information on their website, but suffice it to say it was delicious and extremely filling. My only criticism of this meal is that the smoked ricotta never came through. I saw it, it was definitely there, I just didn’t taste it in the slightest.
After our plates were cleared, I was anxious to see if any special dessert was brought out, which would have been a nice touch and acknowledgment of my message via Open Table. Nothing was done, so either they didn’t get the message or chose to ignore it. We decided to skip their dessert and head down to Cafe Intermezzo where dessert options are endless as are the coffee and hot chocolate selections.
Extras: I’ve never seen a server so excited about a diner using a coupon. No, I’m not being sarcastic. She was more enthusiastic about us using our Groupon than anything else the entire evening. Go figure.
3199 Paces Ferry Place
Atlanta, Georgia 30305