Thursday, May 5, 2011


Although I have lived in Charlotte for almost a year now, I recently started thinking about all the Italian fare I used to eat back home. Being that I love all things Italian, I realized I have yet to have great Italian in Charlotte. This was an alarming revelation for me! So, please join me ladies and gentleman as I attempt to enjoy the flavors of Italy in Charlotte. My promise to you is to keep you posted on my journey and fill you in on my various highlights and disappointments. Today, I will start with my trip to Portofino’s.

Opened in 2001 by a group of family and close friends emigrated from Italy, you can feel the spirit of Italy once inside. The ambiance is pleasant and cozy. An open pizza kitchen greets you next to the hostess stand as you enter. A mural of Italian villas adorns the yellow painted walls. Decorative vines occupy the other walls with simple café style wood chairs lining the tables.

For Antipasti nibble on the capri . The tomatoes are juicy, with the buffalo mozzarella and basil perfectly fresh. The roasted peppers had that succulent, sweet taste one would expect. Oh yes, and the marinated mushrooms…really a divine choice!

For pasta options, you can choose cappellini, linguini, fettuccini, penne or spaghetti cooked 14 different ways. The boscaiola is delicious. Served with chunky bits of prosciutto and fresh peas, the tasty pink sauce gives a lovely flavor to the dish.

Their thin crust pizza hits the spot. Be sure to leave leftovers when having the spinach white pizza as this variation will have you itching for more in the middle of the night.

The bolognese was a decent option although a bit ordinary. The tomato sauce was on the sweeter side, and the ground beef lacked the complexity and depth that one might find in (for example, a mix with pork or veal).

Try a tasty side salad for $1.95.

For dessert the tiramisu is a must! The fluffy layers of lady fingers laced with marsacapone and cocoa are perfectly blended together.

Portofino’s has something for everyone. With many classic Italian appetizers as well as chicken, veal, seafood and baked dishes, you won’t run out of options. And if in the mood for something else try one of their many hot and cold sandwiches.

One of the great things about this place is its affordability. The pricing for our lunch items were as follows:

  • Capri-$9.50
  • Boscaiola-$7.75
  • Pizza-$8.75
  • Tiramisu-$6.75
  • Bolognese-$7.75

This restaurant is definitely a Stephy’s budget gourmet pick. Order two entrees and a dessert or appetizer for about $25. You and your companion will leave happy, bring home a doggy bag and potentially need a nap from an intense jaw workout.

I must admit I would not have picked this restaurant out had I not been given a friends’ recommendation as its inconspicuous location would fool the average passer-by. But don’t be miffed by its unsuspecting location; as it’s fare is delicious!


Portofino’s Ristorante Italiano e Pizzeria
5126 Park Road 3124 Eastway Drive #500
Charlotte, NC 28209 Charlotte, NC 28205
P: 704.527.0702 P: 704.568.7933
Visit their website for their other locations:

Portofino's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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