A Real Taste Of Italy At Portofino In Harrogate
The last time I visited Portofino in Italy involved a rather bumpy boat ride from Santa Margarita. When we got there my thoughts were that although Portofino was picturesque it all seemed a little too make believe, a bit like Port Merion in North Wales.
The journey to the new Portofino Italian restaurant in Harrogate though was a little less eventful and even more enjoyable and this did feel like the real taste of Italy.
You have to have a lot of faith and confidence in your new business if you are going to open an Italian restaurant that sits alongside and opposite other Italian restaurants that are part of a national chain, as does the newly opened and independently owned Portofino restaurant.
We visited on a Tuesday night and the restaurant was practically full, the surrounding restaurants were empty apart from the staff. That says a lot about Portofino. Our fellow diners were a mix of couples of all ages, a young birthday party and a not so young birthday party. We got to sing Happy Birthday twice, in English mind not Italian.
I had read before our visit that service is slow which we didn't encounter. All the food is made with fresh ingredients and they make everything to order from scratch - they do not even have a microwave.
The menu is as long as Italy itself and I dare say that given time they will shorten it to see what is popular and what is not. From breakfast to hamburgers, sandwiches, pizza and pasta you could choose anything from the menu, morning until night.
They say that they give all guests complimentary Flatbread as a starter although I didn't witness every table getting one. Served hot and in a very large serving it was a tasty start to a very satisfying meal.
Black Pudding and Goats Cheese
The servings are big and really you only need one course. Our starter of Garlic Bread with cheese was more akin to a cheese pizza.
My starter of Black Pudding and Goats Cheese was a combination I have never had before, but it worked well with the two complimenting each other.
My Diavolo pizza was hotter than a summer's day in Naples, perhaps served with a little too many Jalapeños. I made the mistake of informing them that I like my pizzas very hot, though I dare say that they would serve it with less Jalapeños if you requested it. The pizza oven had broken that morning but thankfully an engineer made a special journey from Middlesbrough to fix it. I'm glad he did because my pizza tasted as good as any I've eaten in Italy.
My partner's Pollo Caprino came with Mediterranean vegetables and roasted goats cheese and was said to be tender, tasty and plentiful. At £11.95 it seemed reasonably priced.
White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
If you have room for a desert the Homemade White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake is delicious, whilst my Mamas Favourite - a mixture of Italian Gelato and warm caramel sauce with whipped cream is one for anyone with a sweet tooth.
With offers of a starter and a main course for £10.95 from Monday to Thursday all day and night and Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 5pm, there are plenty of reasons to try this lively, independently owned restaurant.
Photos of Portofino are hung everywhere on the walls, but you don't have to go that far to experience true Italian food - it's right here in Harrogate.
Portofino Ristorante Italiano 2-4 Albert Street, Harrogate HG1 1JG
Telephone 01423 507700