We were invited to review Portobello Country Italian Trattoria at Disney Springs. The restaurant is located at The Landing section of Disney Springs, but really is situated in a perfect spot that borders the Marketplace and Town Center as well. It used to be considered a Marketplace location. If you have any problem finding it, Portobello is right next to the large boat that used to be Fulton’s Crab House, but soon will be Paddlefish (Portobello, Fulton’s and Wolfgang Puck’s are all owned by Levy). This wasn’t our first time visiting, and won’t be our last either.
We were told by Executive Chef Steven Richard that much of the food here is locally sourced. While some items do come from Italy, it is more in the spirit of Italian cooking – and really, European cooking both at restaurants and in homes – to find the freshest food locally each day. There will be seasonal menu items occasionally. One of my favorite stories from Chef Steven was how the popular Rigatoni Calabrese was once taken off the menu, but there was so much vocal disappointment from guests that it was brought back. Not all restaurants will do that, and I appreciate that Portobello did.
Before getting to the review, you can join the Levy Preferred Program and receive perks for dining at Levy restaurants.
We will be talking about Portobello on next week’s Mousesteps Weekly show.
It’s been a while since we’ve been here, so it was nice to catch up on what was new and what was still here from our last visit. We did arrive early, just as the restaurant opened – so the lunch crowd had not yet arrived (it did sometime after noon). The restaurant can get crowded, and I’ve come to enjoy dining at Disney Springs when the restaurants open for the day. In general for review meals, we get a terrific server – and Jarrett was helpful but not hovering. I recommend asking for him if he’s there.
There is a bar at the center of the restaurant.
Portobello feels much larger on the inside than it looks like from the outside. There are a number of dining rooms, all decorated in earth tones.
My favorite location in the restaurant was where we ended up seated – next to these windows with a view of the outside patio.
Each table has a paper on top of the tablecloth.
We started with focaccia bread, which came with delicious bulbs of carmelized garlic.
The garlic is extremely soft and served with olive oil. It is so popular that the recipe is on the Portobello website.
A signature drink at Portobello is the Local Honey Lemonade ($8.00 per glass). I don’t drink a lot of lemonade, I’m more of an iced tea drinker – but this was refreshing, not as tangy as some lemonades I’ve had. It is made with Winter Park Orange Blossom Honey. The Local Honey Lemonade is extremely popular here. I ordered iced tea as well because lemonade is hit or miss with me, but I ended up drinking two glasses (and leaving most of the tea behind). So I do recommend it!
The Portobello Mushroom ($11.00) is wood roasted (are as many items here), with gorgonzola, polenta and rosemary sauce. This is another favorite item at the restaurant, and the wood gave it a wonderful flavor. I’m a big fan of mushrooms, and we finished this quickly.
Next, we were brought the Antipasti Platter ($21.00). This includes prosciutto, sopressata, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Toscano, bocconcini, farmer’s market pickled vegetables and olives. Jeff tried everything, I stuck with the vegetables and mozzarella. The pickled carrots were suprisingly sweet – I would order a side of those if they were available individually. The green tomatoes are also pickled in-house, and were sweet and tangy at the same time. I found the combination of sweet/tangy a welcome change from appetizers I’ve ordered elsewhere. The tomatoes had the texture I’d say of an apple, a little crunchy.
Fresh, marinated mozzarella cheese balls.
Here is a closer look at the tomatatoes.
For our entrees, we received 3 items. The first is the Grilled Pork Chop with polenta, vinegar and Florida sweet peppers ($29.00). The meat was very juicy, it is brined with local honey, salt and herbs. This is a dinner item, but guests can ask for it at lunch and we were told the request can often be accomodated. We recommend this dish very highly.
Here is a look at the top of the pork chop, with the sweet peppers. Jeff raved about the peppers, he liked them more than almost anything we tried, especially on top of the pork chop.
The Ravioli Gigante is just as the name implies – big pieces of ravioli and I found it to be a big serving as well. The ravioli was very soft, which isn’t always the case. The pasta is made here onsite, and this comes with handcrafted ricotta and spinach filled pasta, and imported San Marzano tomatoes and basil. There was quite a lot of ricotta and spinach in the ravioli. This is another entree I’d be happy to have again.
This is the Gnocchi, potato dumplings with Nonna’s Sunday pork ragu (the price is different for lunch and dinner). I don’t personally eat much gnocchi or pork at home or at restaurants, but this was quite tasty and Jeff especially enjoyed it. There was plenty of sauce (but not too much either).
We tried to save room for dessert, and the Panna Cotta was perfect for that. If you want a light dessert after what may be a heavy meal (anything Italian generally leaves me with little room), this is perfect – and with fresh berries and Winter Park honey as well.
We tried smaller samples of the gelato and sorbet, not the full portion size. These also make a terrific ending to the meal.
For something more unique – and much more heavy – the Biramisu ($7.95) is Portobello’s version of tiramisu. It includes Orlando Brewing organic porter, ladyfingers and mascarpone cream. This dessert was not as much for me because I’m not a beer drinker, and porter is a heavy beer. But I did try it and would expect that someone who enjoys porter and tiramisu would enjoy this as well. I appreciated how the dessert was served, inside an Orlando Brewing glass.
This is one of the more popular desserts here, and there is a recipe for it at the Portobello website.
We ended with House-crafted Limoncello. It has a kick to it, especially on the first sip.
We had a terrific meal at Portobello Country Italian Trattoria and look forward to returning on our own soon. I’ve already been asked what the pizza is like, and I didn’t try that so I can’t recommend or not recommend.
Chef Steven told us that he hopes that guests feel that, “If you come to Portobello, that you feel you’ve had dinner in our home”.
Full disclosure: We were invited to dine with Portobello, all opinions are ours. We did leave an extra gratuity for the server for terrific service.