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Review of Portillo's

12840 Day St, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
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Ranked #2 of 196 Restaurants in Moreno Valley
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian, American, Hot Dogs
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch
Cathedral City, CA
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

This transplanted Chicago "Desert Rat" just about did an Irish jig when I found out that one of my favorite Chicago fast food restaurants opened in Moreno Valley, less than an hour away from Palm Springs. Portillo's started out several decades ago in Villa Park, IL, in a portable hot dog "hut", and has now grown to 44 locations, primarily in the Midwest (Chicago Metro area), but has now spread it's wings to the West Coast. They serve authentic (yes, sport peppers and celery salt..... NO ketchup) Chicago-style hot dogs, and mouth-watering, "nothing else like it" Italian beef sandwiches. The latter is my favorite, served hot on crusty french bread, with au jus dripping all over it, and if you choose....... sweet green peppers. The specially Italian-spiced beef is flown in from Chicago, as are most of their supplies, and unfortunately they do not yet have the Italian red sauce to pour over your sandwich, but trust me, it's just fine the way it is. I'm sure there are other "healthy" alternatives on the menu, but who cares? I would crawl a mile over broken glass to have a Portillo's Italian Beef sandwich with sweet peppers! Every time I do, I'm transported back to my hometown, surrounded by kitchy artifacts of a gangster's warehouse, complete with gangster pictures hanging on the walls and 40's music serenading me on the loudspeakers. In addition to their carnivore delights, they have a huge fresh salad section to please just about anyone. And, they serve "ice cold" beer in frosty round footed mugs, and each time I go there, I drool over them, but never imbibe because I have to drive home for an hour, and through some winding mountain passes. I don't care because I still get to reminisce about every graduation, Holy Communion, and birthday party as a child, where mom had a giant Nesco roaster filled with Italian Beef, swimming in au jus. Ahhh, the memories are so vivid when I'm munching on my succulent Portillo's Italian Beef. If you want something truly unique, and SO foreign to California, I encourage you to try this Chicago gem in the Inland Empire. Bon appetito!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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60 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Marshfield, Wisconsin, United States
Top Contributor
241 reviews 241 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 100 cities Reviews in 100 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
“Fun find in California”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

How fun to find Portillo's in California--a surprise find outside the Chicago area where we try to hit it whenever we are traveling through. Nothing like their Italian beef and sausage to hit the spot! YUM! This is set up exactly like the Chicago restaurants, except no pasta, but their salads are yummy, too, as well as great desserts. Real Italian, real Chicago, real good!

Visited January 2013
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Denton, Texas
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Had a very plain Italian sausage sandwich (meat & roll, that's it), cheese fries were average with bland sauce. No drink bar even though its a walk up order counter so we didn't ask for refills. We ordered another sandwich with Italian beef and sausage but had to tell counter girl everything we wanted in it. Strange. I guess they don't like doing dishes here because everything was wrapped in paper even though we dined in. Probably won't be back. Too many other very good / great places nearby, including Costco.

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Chicago, Illinois
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great taste of Chicago”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

This is part of the Chicago-based chain. Kind of random that one of four or five outside of IL is in Moreno Valley, but I'll take it. Great Italian Beef sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, too. Food is consistent with the quality that one gets in the IL locations. Could be blasphemy, but the burgers are better than Inn & Out. Try the combo (beef and sausage) dipped, with hot peppers. Messy, but oh so good!

Visited October 2012
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Moreno Valley, California, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Good Italian Beef”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Very good Italian beef and sausage and fantastic full meal salads. Don't mind waiting in line to order and picking up our own food. Casual but clean and interesting Chicago gangster style décor.

Visited September 2012
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