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“Delicious food and warm, impeccable service”

Ristorante Al Portone
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Ranked #37 of 434 Restaurants in Lugano
Price range: $50 - $120
Cuisines: Deli, French, International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Chef Francis offers fine dining in the legendary restaurant with the historic entrance gates. A quiet space where you can have lunch and well furnished with colleagues, friends or dine by candlelight. Come and discover the different tastes proposed and accompanied by fine wines selected by our sommelier. At the gates is the ideal destination to make a break in life, to spend a moment out of time to get pampered palate.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

I enjoyed a wonderful meal at Ristorante Al Portone and would highly recommend it if you are in Lugano. The ambiance is elegant but unpretentious and the food was delicious. I began with a complimentary amuse bouche -- a surprising sweet and savory eggplant mousse -- followed by agnolotti with ricotta and truffles, lamb, a local Ticino merlot and tiramisu for dessert. Each dish was excellent and it was one of the best meals I've had. What really set Al Portone apart, however, was the warm and impeccable service. Soon after being seated, Mrs. Carré came to the table, welcomed me by name and spent a few minutes in conversation. I was dining alone and throughout the meal service was exquisite but not overbearing. At the close of dinner, Mrs. Carré brought Chef Carré to the table and we spoke a bit more about the meal, the restaurant and my visit to Lugano. They called for a taxi and Mrs. Carré saw me out, even holding an umbrella as I dashed for it in the rain. This is fine dining with the warmth of a family restaurant. Buon appetito!

Date of visit: February 2014
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1  Thank ChristieAbroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2014

Dear Mrs Christie,
Thank you very much for this beautiful comment. For us it is always a pleasure to offer to our guests the better food and service like we expect when we are guests. It was nice to meet you and to help you to enjoy this evening in Lugano.
Take care and hope to see you again soon.
Best regards
Francis & Patricia

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 - 40 of 133 reviews

Reviewed November 23, 2013

My wife and I visited in early september 2013. Dinner was a phenomenal experience. This may have had to do with us being the only ones in the restaurant that evening, but service was amazing. Our waiter was highly attentive without being obtrusive. The menu is vegetarian friendly and the truffle agnoliti is not to be missed. We had a bottle of excellent ticinese wine. We've dined at l'arpege and other restaurants and found this fine dining experience more enjoyable. Considering returning to Lugano for another dinner here!

Date of visit: September 2013
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Thank Amit S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this reviewResponded November 24, 2013

Thank you very much for this beautiful comment and the great comparison between us and the Arpège. After this one with The Bernardin from NY it is very appreciate. Hope we will see you soon al Portone di Francis Carré.
Best regards.
Patricia & Francis Carré

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Reviewed November 12, 2013 via mobile

the food is good, well cooked but perhaps they use too many sauces in all the dishes.
the menu is too short
the problem is the service not very professional , they serve very slowly or perhaps the problem comes from the kitchen

Thank JosepM688
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this reviewResponded November 24, 2013

We have some doute that your comment are about our restaurant. First you are commenting on our carte been too short who is not the case, just have a look on our website... Secondly you are pointed that our dishes are full of sauces again is not the case and finally you are using the plural for our service but we have only one Maître d'hôtel and no waiters!!! We have made a comment to Tripadvisor regarding this matter.
We will be happy to welcome you in our restaurant in order for you to constate that your comment does not reflect the reality of our restaurant.
Best regards.
Patricia & Francis Carré

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Reviewed May 22, 2013

I was part of a group of about 20 people that had dinner at Al Portone. The food was excellent (many people especially liked the carpaccio), as was the service (also they spoke English). Everyone had a good time. We probably had too much wine. The only downside was that it was a bit expensive.

Date of visit: May 2013
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Review collected in partnership with this restaurant
2  Thank Bilbo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this reviewResponded May 28, 2013

Thank you very much, it was a real pleasure for us to receive you and your friends. (lot of wine is not a problem when the dinner is fine!!! but of course the price...) ;-) See you soon...

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Reviewed May 3, 2013

On the basis of TripAdvisor reviews, my wife and I visited Al Portone. The restaurant seemed good from the outset, its physical presence seemed worthy of all the praise from TripAdvisor.
The service indeed, was impeccable, as was the ambiance. The wine list was excellent. So where did it go wrong? The food. My wife had the salmon tartar which smelled and tasted like week-old fish! If you are used to sushi-grade salmon forget this! I had a pear and cardamom salad which was actually quite good. I then had bison which was ringed with fat and grizzle and was not at all what I expected from a restaurant supposedly of this caliber and a restaurant rated so high in TripAdvisor. Maybe we ordered the wrong stuff! But a restaurant that carries a variety as large as the menu at Al Portone, would do much better to concentrate on a few items and perfect them rather than offer everything and provide sub-quality food. This did not live up to expectations or the hefty price!

Date of visit: May 2013
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3  Thank Alan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this reviewResponded May 21, 2013

If it did exist a website where the restaurant and the staff could write some note about all the guests, we would have attributed a 5/5 to you and your wife, because you were great with us and you have made a lot of wonderful comments during the dinner, about the restaurant, the atmosphere and the food too!!! All the plate was empty when they came back in the kitchen, and you have chosen really good wine with your choice of meat...
What a surprise Mr A.S.!!! When you came in our restaurant, on May the 3rd, 2013 for dinner, we have spoken together and you said to me that it was the first time you have booked with My Table and it was a beautiful experience. It was your 10th time in Lugano and the first that you eat well like that, and that this restaurant was a great discovery for you...
Your wife did say to me that the Tartar was delicious 4 times and in French she said "Merci" for this excellent food... Now you have written that the salmon was old!!! In our restaurant all is made a la minute with fresh products and the salmon that your wife has eaten was for the day... About the quality of the salmon, you are comparing sushi grade salmon with Norwegian salmon that indeed are totally different...
About the bison entrecote, If I recall your first choice was for the Horse tenderloin and then you changed it for the entrecote of Bison. First Our Bison come from the USA and this cut has some fat around like a proper entrecote pieces. Again the comparison between entrecote and tenderloin concern two different cut.
After your dinner, you have told me that you will write a very beautiful comment on Tripadvisor... We are lucky, if it was bad!!!... No comment.
Finally, if this website for guests could exist, we attribute to you the note of 5/5 for hypocrisy and falseness...
Best regards.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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