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“An unfortunate 3 hours”

Ristorante Villa Portofino
Ranked #14 of 50 Restaurants in Avalon
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $35
Cuisines: Italian, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Capistrano Beach, California
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“An unfortunate 3 hours”
Reviewed January 6, 2013

Yes, it was New Year's Eve but our dinner reservation was at 8:00 pm and our party of 9 was a patient group. As indicated in the title, it took us 3 hours to conclude our meal. We all had another stop to make before the strike of Midnight and we were getting concerned we wouldn't make it. The salads were mediocre; the romaine in my Caesar salad was limp. The usually good dinner items were lukewarm when served at 10:15 pm. Our total dinner tab was in the $350 range, plus tip. "So?" you say. "Who hasn't had bad food and service on a holiday?" We know that, but here was the unforgivable transgression of the night: One of our party was celebrating a 64th birthday. The waiter suggested a slice of "Torta di Cioccolata al Caffe" cake (a double chocolate torte with chocolate, caramel and raspberry sauce) for the table to share. It was served with a lighted candle and "Happy Birthday" written in a raspberry sauce swirl on the broad rim of the plate. (See Photo below) When the check came, there was an $8.95 CHARGE for the cake slice. We asked the waiter, Jason, if this was a mistake...usually a birthday guest is treated to a "free" slice of cake to share with the table. Jason assured us that it WAS the MANAGEMENT'S policy to charge for the slice of cake. Wow! Everyone at the table was creeped-out by this brazen admission by the waiter when we gave him the opportunity to correct the tab. It seems like we spent an acceptable amount for dinners and drinks to warrant a "free" piece of birthday cake. If we had known we would be charged for the cake, we would have ordered the Tiramisu or a Cannoli---an item we would have really enjoyed.
So, on future trips to Avalon, we may return for dinner or antipasto...but no large celebration parties again...we all agreed.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank rokitlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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362 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    98
    35
    18
    15
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Delicious!”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

We had the Vitello Parmigiana (tender and flavorful), Tortellini Formaggio (rich and perfect), Pollo Marsala (delicious)! The atmosphere is warm, romantic and inviting. The service was top-notch - we enjoyed our visit!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank Diana B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
240 reviews
148 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“Italian done right”
Reviewed December 9, 2012

Couple other great restaurants in town, but came here because we were in the mood for Italian--didn't disappoint.

Pretty romantic setting, has some outdoor seating, basically located next to the Hotel Villa Portofino. Our waitress was super friendly and nice. Didn't bother us too much and let us enjoy our meal. Was a busy night in the restaurant and she was always friendly.

Pretty standard upscale Italian menu. We both had veal--parmesan and piccata, both were great. The sides they had with the entree weren't my favorite--pretty bland pasta and squash--but I appreciate the fact that it was different from most places. Pasta dishes were in the $15 range, meat dishes in the $20-26. Appetizers and salads $7-10. Wine glasses $7-10. Bread was excellent, though would have been nice to have some parmesan to add to our olive oil for dipping.

Overall, this was a great place. Fairly small, romantic setting, service was excellent, food was good-to-great.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DoctorsK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Mesa, California
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing food!!!”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

This place had such amazing food and the atmoshpere was very romantic! The bread tasted like it was freshly made and we ate our whole basket and even asked for more. The pasta dishes were so delicious and they gave us huge portions. We had to take so much food back to our room but it made a great breakfast the next morning! Johnny our server was very knowledgeable and friendly and recommended quite a few things. We brought our own wine in and he was more than happy to open the bottles for us. It was our anniversary so at the end of dinner Johnny brought us a special piece of cake that was a perfect way to end the meal. Johnny made the evening very special and very memorable! I wish we had been able to stay another night on the island because we would have definitely eaten there again. I would definitely recommend this place to everyone!

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank Dingdong88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grass Valley, California
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent!”
Reviewed November 17, 2012

We shared the cannelloni and salmon. The atmosphere and music were relaxing. We ended the meal with a healthy pour of Macallan 15 and Limoncello on the rocks. Delightful!

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank KristiTomB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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