Portofino Grille - CLOSED: "upper east side neighborhood trattoria" Portofino Grille - CLOSED Tip by nicolaitan

 
 

this neighborhood trattoria housed in a double storefront is decorate to resemble Portofino with pastel street scenes in the dining room and ceramic tiles and mirrored arches in the cozy bar all illuminated by old=style chandeliers and brass lamps. The menu is a spectacular 6 pages long indicating the region of origin of all the offerings, and there is something for everybody. Price ranges are broad because of the extensive offerings with appetizers, soups, salads at 6-15$, pastas mostly below $20 and entrees from $17-35 US. As in any second tier place, some dishes are much better than others. But - the appetizers and many entrees are large enough to split. Our best appetizer (see below) was delivered to our table in error and left for us because the waitstaff couldn't remember who ordered it. Fried calimari was mostly fry and not so much calimari and salads were mundane. The kitchen came alive with the entrees which were all very good or excellent. The martinins were quite good and very reasonably priced for NYC at 7.50-9 $. Wine by the glass was similarly not badly priced and the glasses were filled with wine (unlike so many NYC restaurants that send half-empty glasses. LIke Via Oreta above, proximity to the Queensborough Bridge means a lot of Long Island suburbanites. Indeed, we met our neighbors 2 door removed in another party at the bar. The neighbors group went for pastas and were "not thrilled". Our group of 6 went for the full entrees and did a lot better. This popular place has walk-in availability during the week but is jammed on the weekends. The menu on the website is incomplete but pricing appears adequate.

Favorite Dish: the unanticipated appetizer was fried zucchini and potato wafers - didn"t sound like much but the party members who eat fried things loved it. Solid appetizers included the fish dishes, stuffed chicken breast, and pork chops with spicy onions (not so spicy but pretty good). The star was chicken with sausage. And the tartuffo for dessert was definitely above average, with a softer chocolate surface rather than the usual hard chocolate shell. And most important, the martinis were very good.

Address: 1162 First Avenue, New York City, NY10021
Price Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: between 63 - 64 St., east side of 1st, several blocks north of the birdge
Phone: 212-832-4141
Price: US$31-40
Rating: 3
Theme: Italian
Website: http://www.portofinogrille.com

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 30, 2014
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nicolaitan

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