Located in Downtown Disney, Portobello (formerly the Portobello Yacht Club) is currently in an upswing. Consulting Chef Tony Mantuano — you’ve seen him on Top Chef Masters — has renovated the menu into a short, but delicious list of rustic, hearty Italian trattoria food.
While simple, the decor offers a neutral and natural setting for a delicious meal. Unlike the more themed restaurants on Disney property, this one seems to prefer that we ignore the furnishings and focus on the food.
Large windows, dark woods, and white tablecloths create a stark contrast, and a well-appointed bar dominates the center of the restaurant.
We were seated quickly after arriving at the restaurant and were greeted by a fantastic server. After a few minutes with the menu, we made our choices and were treated to a gorgeous bread presentation. The crusty rolls, olive oil, and garlic was almost too pretty to eat, but we triumphed in the end!
Starving, we’d ordered two large appetizers and two pasta dishes. I guess this visit was a carb-fest for us! Our first appetizer, the “Misti” antipasti platter, included prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano, bacconcini, ricotta and Winter Park honey crostini, and oven dried tomato crostini. This dish, again, was gorgeous, and the addition of local Winter Park honey was a delight — I love when restaurants incorporate local ingredients. Why? I don’t know. But the marketing tactic is working on me.
After the Misti, our second appetizer arrived. This was a HUGE winner in my book. Any Disney Food Blog reader knows I love mozzarella sticks and risotto, so combining them was just about the most genius move I’ve ever seen!
The Mozarella Stuffed Rice Balls were delectable. If I could have ordered them for my meal, I would have. Crispy outer coating, creamy risotto, and salty mozzarella combined into the perfect bite. Add a little of that sweet marinara sauce and you get an incredible burst of tastes and textures from this dish.
Of course, by this time we had barely any stomach space left, but we kept on. It’s a sacrifice, but somebody has to do it! Our pasta dishes — Bucatini and Spaghetti Bolognese — arrived soon after I’d savored the last bite of the risotto.
The Bucatini was mine, and consisted of pasta tubes with tomato, guanciale, garlic, chile pepper, and olive oil. I’m a sucker for anything spicy and pasta-y (if it’s named “diablo,” I’ll probably order it), and this did not disappoint! I hadn’t ever tried bucatini pasta and was surprised to see it was basically super long Beefaroni noodles (no kidding!). Very cool. They soaked up all of the delicious, spicy sauce and made every bite extremely flavorful. I loved — LOVED — this dish. Here’s hoping it’s on the menu the next time I head to Portobello. Highly recommended.
My husband ordered Spaghetti Bolognese — one of his favorite dishes. He was significantly impressed with the sauce on this dish and gave it two thumbs up. The menu lists the sauce as being a slow-cooked beef and pork ragu.
Finally, we had to make room for dessert. Seeing as we were going traditional (we almost never both order pasta in an Italian restaurant), we figured we’d go for the “Chocolate Paradise” to finish off our meal. This chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and toffee crunch was truly outstanding. I usually don’t love chocolate cake desserts — they’re often too dry, too rich, or too boring for me to get through my half — but, again, this is highly recommended. It was, indeed, rich, but the taste was creamy, sweet, and bitter all at the same time. The ice cream gave it enough variation in texture to be a good addition, as well. I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture, but trust me on this one.
Finally, while this was just introduced and we didn’t have a chance to sample it when we were last at Portobello, a new meatball and Beer bar has been introduced at the restaurant. You can read up on it here: Portobello Meatball and Beer Bar.
This restaurant got two thumbs up from us. It’s a more casual spot than California Grill or Jiko, but it should still be on the list for a nice, relaxing dinner. Costs run from $10 (pizzas) to $40 (filet mignon), so in terms of Disney restaurants, you’re not going to break the bank.
To see menus, discount details, and other posts about Portobello on the Disney Food Blog, visit our Portobello Page.
Have you dined at Portobello? What are your thoughts and reviews? Please let us know in the comments section below!