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“Overall a good dining experience”
Review of Portalli's

Portalli's
Ranked #55 of 170 Restaurants in Ellicott City
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Brunch, Dinner, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: This is a new Italian restaurant that opened in the former Jordan's Steakhouse. I believe it's been open since December or so. I dined there last night and it was wonderful. This is a fine-dining restaurant.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
42 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Overall a good dining experience”
Reviewed September 23, 2011

I have been really wanting to go to Portalli's since it opened and I'm not quite sure why I've never made it in there, until now. It was my sister's birthday so we went to Portalli's as a family to have a nice dinner.

LOCATION
The location is great - right on main street in Old Ellicott City. Parking was fairly easy to find since it was a Thursday evening. I had been in the restaurant when it was the site for Jordan's Steakhouse and I feel that the ambiance and atmosphere is similar inside - very nice and comfortable.

SERVICE
I felt that the service was spot on this evening. Our server was attentive, knowledgeable, and helpful the entire night. When we arrived at the restaurant it was slightly busy as well, though most people seemed to be paying their bills.

FOOD
For starters we had the Calamari and the PEI Mussels. The Calamari was okay - I wouldn't say it was anything spectacular and I felt that it was a dish that I could have had anywhere. It was nice that the calamari wasn't too chewy though. The PEI Mussels were so tempting because they said they were steamed with pomegranate. I thought the quality of the mussel was poor - very small and overcooked - and the taste of the dish was not that great; there were a lot that had the "old" mussel taste or ones that were not cooked all of the way.

For salads we ordered the Portalli Salad (goat cheese, poached pear, walnuts, and lemon dressing) and the Caprese. I thought the size and taste of the Portalli salad was incredible; the dressing was out of this world. The Caprese was good too, but fairly difficult to mess up.

For entrees, my sister and I got the Pan Seared Scallops with Celery & Cauliflower Risotto. The dish was fantastic! The scallops were perfectly cooked and the risotto had great flavor! My Dad had the Surf and Turf Pasta which he said was great - it looked very rich. My Mom had the Filet. I thought the quality of the Filet, overall, was great but it was lacking in flavor. There was the butter on top but there was absolutely no seasoning to the steak. Add a little salt and pepper and it was much better. For the table we ordered a small side of gnocchi with the spicy marinara. Pretty good but didn't blow us out of the water.

The Orange Crush made with San Pellegrino and fresh orange juice is very good!

For dessert we had the chocolate chip cannoli and the poached pear in a puff pastry. Both dishes were delicious!

Overall I thought the prices were reasonable, the service was great, and the food was pretty good. I will definitely come back again and try other dishes. The nice thing about Portalli's is that you can try a lot of everything without feeling overstuffed. In addition, you can go there if you feel like getting stuffed or if you just want to grab a small bite to eat.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AlicynD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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165 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fulton, Maryland
Level Contributor
162 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Good food; average service; music too loud in the main dining room”
Reviewed September 17, 2011

My husband and I went for dinner on a Saturday evening. We enjoyed our meal; the food was very good for the most part. The Portalli salad (the one with pear & walnuts) was very good; the caprese salad was not that great. Why is there no soup on the menu as an appetizer? That seemed strange. My husband had the spaghetti and meatballs which at $10 is very reasonable - you get 5 good size meatballs. He enjoyed it very much; the sauce was a little spicy. I had the scallops with risotto which was good; although, very rich - so rich, I could not finish it. We shared a vanilla custard dessert that was OK but nothing special. A note about the size of the entrees - they were a reasonable size and not the huge portions many restaurants serve. We thought this was a positive as it allows you to enjoy your meal and have room for multiple courses. Our waiter was a little slow and it took a long time to place our order and to get our food; however, the additional help staff was very attentive. The upstairs dining room was too loud when the piano and bass players were performing. The live music might be nice if it wasn't so loud; it was difficult to talk while they were playing. It was much more pleasant when they took a break. If you're not familiar with Ellicott City, be forewarned that parking is a problem. You will have to park a few blocks away and walk to the restaurant. Portalli's does have valet parking available if you want to pay for that.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank PK_Maryland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elkridge, Maryland
Level Contributor
66 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Disappointed this time”
Reviewed September 2, 2011

This was our 2nd time coming here and it was a major disappointment. Last time we came, my daughter ordered the pan seared scallops and they were so good, I wanted them this time. MAJOR disappointment. Not only was the flavor lacking but they were rubbery. I didnt even get my dinner with everyone else's because they "forgot" me, which of course they denied. lol My son got the braised lamb and said it was delicious. My main complaint is the service. They forgot my dinner, they never brought my husband his dessert, they never came and asked if we wanted our drinks refilled or more coffee with dessert and then they charged us 20% gratuity! They really need to work on that.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ElleKo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clarksville, Maryland
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Bland Food”
Reviewed August 22, 2011

We went to Portalli's for the first time last night. After reading the menu on line, we were looking forward to a good Italian meal. We were very disappointed. Although the menu sounds good, the execution is lacking. We started with the Antipasti plate. It was O.K. There were 3 types of meat and one cheese with a lot of olives. We were still hopeful. The salad was the highlight of the meal. It had a nice lemony dressing and walnuts. The menu states blue cheese, but it came with goat, which was O.K. with me. There is a poached pear on the salad, which was tasty, but hard to eat. Slicing it would have been really helpful. The biggest disappointment came next. The risotto and crab cake had no flavor. It tasted of neither crab nor good risotto. I don't think it had been seasoned at all. The manicotti was also very under-seasoned and just plain bland. We decided to skip dessert. Even though the desserts sound good, we just didn't feel up to the disappointment. With so many good Italian restaurants around, I don't know how this place stays so busy.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ggb16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
columbia, MD
Level Contributor
28 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Good Food”
Reviewed August 8, 2011

Had dinner here on a Thursday night. Most the tables were taken and the service was good. The bread they serve is yummy. Started with the calamari (was very fresh) which was served with a delicious homemade marinara sauce. I had the shrimp and scallop pasta dish and my husband had one of their lobster pasta. Both were very good. My only complaint was that my pasty was drowning in the creamy sauce ( that's why they lost a star). The flavor was good but it was just way too much. We were too full for dessert. Will definitely go back for lunch or dinner and then go for a walk along main street.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank jojoearth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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