the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Review: Portobello Restaurant

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.

Atmosphere

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.

Seating Area and Wines

Seating Area

Large windows, dark woods, and white tablecloths create a stark contrast, and a well-appointed bar dominates the center of the restaurant.

Table Setting

Portobello Bar

Eats

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!

Bread, Garlic, and Oil

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.

Misti

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.

Mozzarella Stuffed Rice Balls

YUM

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.

Bucatini

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.

Spaghetti Bolognese

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.

Chocolate Paradise

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.

Overall

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!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

21 Comments

  1. DisneyandBeyond says:

    Gosh, every time I see the name of this restaurant, I think of the song “Portobello Road” from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

    Looks neat though. I don’t venture to Downtown Disney much, so I’m not as familiar with the food over there.

  2. TJ says:

    That cake looks divine…the pasta doesn’t look half bad either : )

  3. Melissa says:

    We went years ago when it was Portobello Yacht Club, and I was slightly disappointed. I felt for what it was, although good, was too pricey. It seems however from your post they may have changed things up a bit, so maybe I’ll consider going back at some point.

    That chocolate cake alone makes it look worth it :)

  4. AJ says:

    D&B — I LOVE THAT MOVIE!!

    TJ — It really was quite good, and you have to give me an extraordinary pasta for me to taken notice — especially if it’s not in a cream sauce!

    Melissa — I think they brought in the new chef and revamped the place about a year ago. It’s definitely a different restaurant now! Worth a try. Thanks for your review — it gives a good contrast to what I experienced!

  5. Melissa says:

    You definitely have me intrigued to try it again :).

  6. Jenn says:

    We tried Portobello our first night on vacation in June. It was delicious! I had the 4 cheese flat bread pizza and it was delicious.. and I’m not even a huge pizza person. And, it was relaxed enough that nobody complained when my 6 month old was fussy! And, there was no need for a reservation. That’s a win-win!

  7. robin says:

    i’ll take 2 orders of those mozzarella stuffed rice balls, please!

    on another note, i’m in sheer amazement at just how many restaurants & other places you visit while at WDW. are there any restaurants you haven’t tried that you are anxious to this upcoming october? just curious.

  8. Mark D. says:

    That meal look fantastic and the appetizers in particular, ridiculous!

    I have had fried risotto balls stuffed with motz with marinara at another restaurant, and for risotto lovers, yes it is as good as it sounds. Plus, its like the picked the antipasti platter based on all of my personal favorites.

    All of that and roasted garlic with the bread!? I may not get past the apps. This one is going on my (long) list to visit next trip.

  9. Eric says:

    That Bucatini was awesome. It is worth the trip just to have that.

    Keep up the great work!

  10. Alex says:

    I thought Top Chef Masters was on Bravo.

    Anyways, I went there when it was still Portobello Yacht Club. I’m going to go there on our trip in August and hope it’s as good as I remember. Although I’m going to miss the backstory that was there…

  11. Shayne says:

    Wow, that all looks delicious, especially those mozzarella rice balls. And that spaghetti has my husband’s name written all over it. We don’t typically spend a lot of time at Downtown Disney, but this restaurant makes it look worthwhile to make the trip!

  12. melissa sue says:

    Future Hubby and I were debating between Portobello and Wolfgang Puck’s as a table service dinner in DTD. We ultimately decided on Puck’s because the food looked more adventurous … are we making the wrong choice?? It’s not to late to change our ADR!!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Mozzarella Stuffed Rice Balls = LOVE! The Spaghetti Pomodoro is very tasty also. Thanks for the review of this great restaurant.

  14. AJ says:

    Melissa — Let me know what you think!

    Jenn — Yes, it is definitely a spot to try with no ADR. Good point!

    Robin — I’m VERY excited to try Hacienda de San Angel and Via Napoli this trip! Also, Turf Club will be new for me! :-)

    Mark — This is always our problem. We love so many of the apps that we order too many and end up not being hungry for our entree!

    Eric — Agreed! That Bucatini was one of my favorite pasta dishes ever!

    Alex — Thanks for the Bravo correction! Whoops! ;-) Let us know how you like the restaurant in its new incarnation!

    Shayne — Portobello is definitely a great option if you’re eating in DTD! Let me know if you try it!

    Melissa Sue — I’ve heard wonderful things about Puck’s. Stick with what you’ve got and book this one for next time!

    Rebecca — Thanks for corroborating my love of that risotto appetizer! YUM!

  15. chris says:

    That looks really good. I’ve totally overlooked this place in the past but will have to give it a try.

  16. Rachel says:

    Would love to order the rice ball app with the meatball sliders. Is that possible? Sliders are more to my appetite than a full-blown entree. Hope other “small plates” menus start catching on at Disney!

  17. Ohhhh that all looks so good! I like the sophisticated look of the restaurant, and all of that food looks SO GOOD!

  18. Kevin says:

    We ate at Portobello in February 2010. Had a terrible dining experience. The food was average at best and over priced for what it was. Kids meals arrived cold. We waited a very long time for the waiter to come take the drink orders. It took 45 min. for the food to arrive. The waiter never once came back to check on us once the food arrived. We had to get the attention of another wait staff to get our check. We had a terrible dining experience and wouldn’t recommend Portobello!

  19. wayne spitale says:

    I went to this restaurant just last night, very hungry and I found the food was very,very good but there were several disappoinments – our portabello appetizer came with a hair on it, which they redid for us and took off of the bill – after picking the hair off of the food, I went to wash my hands and I was amazed that the bathroom was a mess, not up to any Disney standards that I have seen. Service was not prompt, waited for both bread and wine at the wrong times and our server even forgot to bring one of the salads ordered. Four glasses of wine was almost $40, next time I will order a bottle.

    I will give it another try and if things change I will write another review -ws

  20. Edward Sanzo says:

    Re: Portobella restaurant. It’s been about 5 years since we ate there. It was the second time we ate there. the first time was fair at best and they deserve a second try to be fair. My wife had a veal dish. That poor calf must have been injected with sinew. It was the toughest piece of meat we have ever eaten. I don’t recall what I ate but it was some sort of pasta. I also can’t remember specifics but recall really disliking it. They offered us a free desert to make up for the food. I appreciate their attempt to make things better. They should have given us the dinner for free. We never finshed our food. Some poor girl was out front, by the line of people waiting to get in, taking a survey. I let everyone know how bad I thought things were. They’re still in business so I don’t think anyone left. It is the ONLY restaurant anywhere at Disney World or Land that I would never recommend. Over 40+ vacations, we’ve eaten at every restaurant at Disney USA. Ed Sanzo

  21. Kim says:

    We had dinner here last week. While the food on the adult menu was good, I must warn you not to take children with food allergies here. My son is allergic to pecans, so we avoid all tree nuts. Upon sitting down and telling the waitress this, she then told us what he could NOT have off the children’s menu — just a about everything except grilled steak, fish and chicken. They apparently use some type of flour for all their bread products and pizza dough that contains nuts. Really? So we had a very unhappy nine year old who could not eat the rolls, pizza or meatballs (breadcrumbs). I’m sure if he were ordering off the standard menu there would have been more choices but with an already limited childrens menu, it was not a good night.

    A positive was that the waitress was extremely knowledgable about the menu and did give us great information as to why he should avoide each item. With so many other restaurants that are more allergy friendly, I wouldn’t bother with this one again.

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *