Portofino Bistro

     (Redirected from Portobello Ristorante)
Former Location
2171 W Henrietta Rd, Rochester NY, 14623
CLOSED (as of January 2012)

See Gone, But Not Forgotten

It is closed as of January 2012.


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Ross adds:

Well, it finally happened - Portobello's done. Portofino, on the other hand, is just getting started.

After a long absence, we gave it another shot. I was very impressed by several things, some of them pretty surprising.

I'll go through our meal in chronological order:

Bread is fresh (rather than the frozen-microwaved garlic bread I had previously at Portobello). It was served with butter, and an olive oil mixture that included balsamic vinegar (a new and appealing addition to the olive-oil-and-friends butter alternative).

We started with a rich lentil soup, with tomatoes and an impressive mix of spices that was neither flat nor over-the-top (a hard trick, to tell by the other lentil soups I've had locally).

The salad was solid (fresh greens, tomatoes, e.t.c.). The dressing was a little heavier than I would have liked, but I tend to prefer very light dressing.

We had the Chicken Valentino - an eggplant chicken dish with an interesting mix of what I'd describe as Italian and Moroccan flavors. While the veggie accents were a little salty (though again, we prefer an unusually small amount of salt), the entree was lovely.

We also had a seafood risotto, which was spot-on. Not too light, not too heavy, with the rich broth flavor of risotto, and the tang of seafood (muscles, shrimp, little clams, and my favorite, the little calamari (Which were neither over nor under done)).

Desert was a "ding-dong cake". Basically, a chocolate cake with a layer of cream and a layer of chocolate cream, whipped to have a slightly marshmellow-y texture. It was well-executed and fresh.

All-in-all, I'm very pleased with Portofino's transformation.

Other points: Decor is nice, not as well-appointed as some places around here, but nicer than most, with much more of a home-y feel. Prices were higher than I'd like as a grad student, but pretty reasonable compared to the other nice Italian places in the Rochester area (I'm thinking of places like Joe's Mendon House or Roncone's (I think that's the name). Lastly, and perhaps most surprisingly, this one is very vegetarian friendly - they have seven dishes on their vegetarian menu, as well as a gluten-free section. If the dishes we had were any indication, they know what they're doing with vegetarian cooking (I.E. the dishes weren't all about the meat).

2006-09-15 05:33:43   It used to be Blades way back when. Trying to find the entrance can be tricky. Big wide deck and good "happy hours", especially during the summer. (Note: this person is describing Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar, located on University Ave) —KarenMask

2007-08-30 15:18:01   I enjoy the food at Portobello. It is great Italian food in an old world mafia atmosphere. Being renovated as of 2008.

Dont let the rundown unassuming exterior of the old house it is in turn you away, the food is excellent.

I personally feel Granas in the Renaissance and Olive Garden are the worst Italian food I have ever eaten, but then Im not Italian and may not be an expert.

Good Italian restaurant —MrRochester

2008-01-12 15:07:07   Not what I would call fine dining. The place is a little tired looking and the food was very "meh". Not a place I would go back to or recommend to anyone. —BrianSchultz

2008-02-02 17:10:02   Paula, Gail & Co do a great job @ PB's. They are like family. The food is always great and I recommend it to all my friends and coworkers. The Tilappia is incredible. —CliffBaitsholts

2008-03-27 16:06:40   The first time we went it was great. We went 3 more times and it was worse and worse. The food was awful and the service was inexcusable. We never went back and never will. Don't waste your money. —JamesPatrick

2008-04-14 10:06:40   looks like its closed for renovations at the moment. —JcPop

2008-06-29 20:46:09   the awning now reads "portofino wine bar"... no updates on the website —JcPop

2008-07-24 16:37:46   according to the D&C article today ([WWW]http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080724/NEWS05/80721037/-1/BRIGHTON), Portobello is now Portofino. Basically a makeover. —TippingPoint

2008-08-02 07:49:58   My name is Dominick Morano, I recently bought into this restaraunt and I am really looking forward to serving the Rochester market. I believe we have an excellent product. The location, our chef! wow, the prices reasonable, especially for lunch, the express menu for time sensitive guests, and gourmet pizzas, last but not least our servers. They will be knowledgeable, and attentive not to the point of annoying. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, we want you to be happy, and content, and hopefully reccomend us to others. We also have catering....please call! I hope to see you all there. —dominick

2008-11-29 20:46:14   This was our first time eating here. Our server was very professional and efficient and the food was excellent. The atmosphere is very comfortable and cozy. We will definitely be returning soon! —BelPenda41

2008-12-01 10:57:36   Portofino is excellent. Lots of Northern Italian inspired dishes. It mimics the menu of the old Pane Vino when Tony (dont know last name)owned that as well. Great food, I recommend a try. Still maintains the old mafia feel of the original Portobello, so dont think the remodel did much, or maybe my memory eludes me? —MrRochester

2008-12-09 16:39:50   My wife and I decided to stop here last week without a reservation on a busy Saturday night, but were seated within 10 minutes (even though there were several large parties of people there). This was our first time here since Portobella's had gone out of business, and the quality of food there had definitely declined. This has changed under the new ownership - we had an excellent meal with great service. Dominick, the new owner, is a great host and checked with us several times to make sure our meal was OK. It was, and we will definitely return! —DanB

2008-12-30 11:41:07   Removed my comment because I confused these places with Pomodoro on University. —BadFish

2009-01-12 13:43:30   Sadly, Portofino isn't better known, because it is a very good neighborhood Italian restaurant, with as others have noted, a high level of comfort for vegetarians and especially, gluten-free folks. Good food and atmosphere for the buck. —BillMoehle

2009-02-08 19:51:31   Wonderful restaurant! My husband and I love the "Godfather" feel of the place and the warm, inviting air of the staff! When the waitstaff remember you, where you sat last time, and what you had, and take delight in seeing how you like the fare, it's a great place, in my book! I am a gluten-free vegetarian and this place caters to both. The chef is Italian and definitely knows how to cook authentic dishes— and even more rare, can make the rice pasta taste amazing! I wish they had gluten-free deserts. I'm sure they'd be great! Kudos to Portobello's and I wish you all the best! :) —jramey

2009-02-08 19:53:51   Oh! I also tried the gluten-free rice crust pizza recently. Call ahead about an hour to two hours ahead of time— they make it fresh for you— and it was scrumptious! It had the texture of a thin-crust pizza and all the taste of the real thing! Even my husband, who is more difficult to impress, really liked the bite I gave him! Well done! :) —jramey

2009-02-09 17:32:37   The hours for Portofino Bistro and Catering are as follows: Seven Days a week open for dinner Monday through Firday Lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 PM. Please call 427-0410 for reservations. Thanks for all your support! :) —dominickmorano

2009-02-15 00:14:28   Portofino is a nice restaurant. We went there on whim without reservations on Valentines day and were seated without much of a wait. We found the food to be very good. The place was very busy, but that did not stop them from providing good service. My only complaint would be they were out of the champagne (Moet White Star) we wanted. We will be repeat customers. —DMoore

2009-05-02 18:57:31   We had our rehearsal dinner here in Feb 2009 and we were thrilled with the accommodations and service they provided for 30 people. It was wonderful to have our family and wedding party be able to relax and enjoy the evening. Dominick put together a wonderful menu and evening with my in-laws to create such a magical night. We have now starting making Portofino, our special place to go, our 1 month anniversary and my birthday. I highly recommend everyone check them out. —TashaWilson

2009-05-20 23:08:05   Very welcoming service from the host to the waiter. The inside looks like someone's living room (in a good way), and is quite comfortable. There was also a pianist playing Beatles tunes and similar old favorites. We had meatballs as an appetizer, and they were moist and tasty. My chicken with asparagus was cooked well, with a nice light sauce and tender asparagus.
I have one complaint: Our waiter recommended a wine, we ordered it, and we later found out the restaurant had some sort of incentive for selling that wine. It made me feel a little used. I think it was a low-class move, especially from a place that identifies itself as a wine bar.
I'll probably get over it and give this place another try, as we did enjoy the experience, and found the prices reasonable. —EastSideStephen

2009-11-21 11:08:45   OMG. We have been here 3 or 4 times before but our visit this past week was a complete head turner. There is a new chef and the food is up at least 2 full notches. I had a pasta beef stroganoff that featured farfalle and tenderloin. Outstanding. My wife had an eggplant parm that was every bit as good as my meal. We liked the place before but now we LOVE it. Only wish: upgrade the wine list, especially the house varieties. It is their weakest link. —wdrazek

2009-11-24 11:12:36   this place sucks. found a piece of steel wool in my food once. —dude22

2009-11-27 21:22:46   The last two times I've eaten here, were the last two times I will ever eat here. The food is not great and either is the service. Would not recommend. If you're in Henrietta, you really need to venture into the city if you want good Italian food. Although, there is a restaurant on Winton Rd in the Scotch and Sirloin plaza I've heard good things about.

2010-01-01 18:33:56   My name is Lourdes Santiesteban and I was the pianist a this restaurant until last night, when the new owner stole my money. Musicians are not well considered over there for this new owner who's name is Dave. Unfortuntately, Dominick Morano is not there anymore. He hired me to play with another musician for New Years Eve, we asked him for a price and he did not payed it. Just like that. Dave was very disrespectful and nothing serious or honest toward us. He is not a gentleman at all. —LourdesSantiesteban

2010-03-06 14:47:11   The food here was fantastic. I had a wonderful veal chop with a gorgonzola cream sauce that was out of this world. We had Sicilian Calamari that was cooked perfectly and mixed with banana peppers and olives. We had a party of 6 and everyones meal was great. —tabascograz

2010-05-09 17:06:54   The horror...the horror... This is a public service announcement: Portofino has reached new levels of suck. I will grant that when we went, it was a special occasion—Mother's Day brunch—but the place should have prepared better for the crowds. I am not happy to file this report, but in the interest of saving others, here goes:

Despite making reservations, they were overbooked, and word in the foyer (which was as overcrowded as a third-class railway car in India) was that they were running an hour behind. We were seated about 15 to 20 minutes past our reservation time, but we were sitting at our table another 20 minutes before the waiter showed up to take our drinks order. My son's milk was warm, and my aunt, who ordered nothing to drink, was handed a cup of coffee. She asked if it was decaf, and the waiter said yes. Funny, as she hadn't asked for coffee at all.

But the best part was the missing food. Although we ordered about 45 minutes after we were seated (from the table-service buffet menu), we never saw any food until my mother, the guest of honor, chased down the manager (seriously—she got up to find him). About 10 minutes after that some food arrived, but it was nowhere near what we ordered. We overheard mutters that the kitchen ran out of food. I started to worry that the food we did receive was salvaged off others' plates, but of course that's speculation on my part and in no way implies that that's actually what happened.

We were promised that the food that was served to me, my mother, and my aunt (my husband and son left after an hour and a half—in search of a meal, perhaps?) was only for the interim, when the food we did order would arrive. That never happened. Meanwhile, other tables were served hot food, promptly, by more competent waitstaff who apparently had some sort of special arrangement with the chefs in the kitchen, perhaps not dissimilar to the black market that savvy prison inmates partake of in the klink.

All told, we were in the restaurant for two hours and were served cold, horrendous food (the meat was NOT prime rib; the eggs benedict were served on toast instead of English muffins and had no hollandaise sauce). During our sentence—er, time there—we bonded with the party at the table behind us who were experiencing similar distress. We seriously considered banding together to mutiny—we figured we outnumbered the waitstaff and could take 'em easily—but we abstained.

At the two-hour mark we received an apology and comped meals from the server (the manger had scarpered, allegedly to go buy more food before the dinner rush, but we think he was hiding), which I will acknowledge was the right thing to do, as each meal would have been $18.95.

Next time, the place should NOT overbook, and should not offer buffet-like table service (unlimited food) if the early brunch eaters are going to clean out the kitchen, leaving nothing edible for those who have later reservations. Or, you know, they could manage the place better.

However, we will never know, as we have resolved not to set foot in the place ever again. If you choose to go, please plan accordingly: Expect to spend hours there, and bring a bag lunch. —JayneD

2010-05-09 21:22:01   I have to agree with JaybeD. Was not a good experience. We have dined there many times and always liked the staff and resturant. Feel the problem was the lack of food and poor waiter. It was served like a garbage plate and none of the items we ordered. I ordered prime rib and poached eggs. I recieved scranbled, ham(which I hate), Chicken French(very tasty, and two little pices of beef that looked like scraps. They did comp our meals but very sorry we didn't retrun to the Hyatt who has a wonderful Mothers Day Brunch. Will we go back? Maybe I do like the owner and think they are two small to offer a brunch. Feel they should just serve the good meals that they are known for. Harry W —Harryw

2010-05-10 14:34:36   Fantastic - Fantastic ! We had Mothers Day Brunch Yesterday and it was truly a wonderful experience. We were sat on time, actually 5 minutes after our scheduled time, however, we were expecting this due to it being mothers day. What we really appreciated was the food was not out in the public space, with people hovering over the food, and long lines, etc etc. The food was well above average, and overall we loved our first experience. The decor was hardwood floors, and tin ceilings, the outside of the restaurant freshly landscaped, its a lovely restaurant. What troubles me, is after logging on, reading these comments- it is truly worth visiting this restaurant, it was a great experience for all of us and on our list of places to go again. —FrankyApilito

2010-05-16 15:44:53   I guess I didn't tell the complete story. We had a 2:00 PM reservation and arrived at 1:45. We were not seated til 2:35. Order was taken . Drinks arrived 15 minutes later. We never got our food til 3:35. We were happy waiting but when waiter came with the garbage plates and said I gave you everything. Scramled eggs, home fries, ham slice, chicken French,French toast and two samll pices of meat about the size of a tablespoon. We were told when we ordered to order the items we wanted and then we could get more or try others. First time I ever saw prime rib look like 2 little pices of meat 1.5 inches square. And Poached eggs that were scrambled. The food was even cold. They didn't charge us but we didn't eat much. Obviosuly it was not a nice Mothers day lunch. We did leave and went to Panera bread for some coffee and dessert. —Harryw

2010-06-15 08:42:39   My husband and I went here to celebrate his birthday last night. He ordered Vitello Rusticano and I ordered Vitello French. It was excellent!! Nice quiet atmosphere, courteous and attentive wait staff. Dominick, the owner, greeted us and made sure we were satisfied. I highly recommend this restaurant, and we will definitely eat here again. —KristaH

2011-01-29 21:07:21   Been here a couple of times and have enjoyed our visits. On most recent visit my wife had the Seafood Rissoto and I had the Pork Osso Bucco. Both meals were very good and the servings were extremely generous.The wine list is heavy on Italian choices but blends pretty well with food choices. Menu is very extensive,with items ranging from pizza to some gourmet dishes. Service has always been good. —almorinelli

2011-08-27 17:41:36   Bad food, TERRIBLE service, waiter brought wrong food to my wife, some manager type "person" told her she should just eat it, it was one of their more popular dishes...i'm thinking because they bring out to people without asking. and it was BADDDDDDDDDD. The building is a dump. It looks like it is in renovations but they're serving food there. I wrote an email to the manager, he said he would look into the problem and get back to me....tick-tock batman, this happened in JUNE!!! i strongly suggest anywhere else but this place. —rsc1117

2012-01-23 09:00:37   According to Urban Spoon and the sign in the door, the place is closed. —SFear

2012-01-28 13:55:58   Damn, so sorry to hear this closed. Went there last month for dinner and was enchanted by both the food and the service. Hope it reincarnates (again!). —GretaSangiovese