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“SLOWEST Staff I've ever seen”

Portobello Vegan Trattoria
Ranked #357 of 4,363 Restaurants in Portland
Price range: $30 - $30
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: 12th
Transit: Bus routes 70 and 4 stop right in front, the 9 is three blocks South.
Reviewed December 23, 2012

Today was my third visit to Portobello Vegan Trattoria. It's the wonderful food that brings me back, but today the food wasn't even worth putting up with their notoriously slow service. The staff here is always friendly and pleasant, but they know nothing about efficiency or customer service.

When we arrived (party of 2), there was a ten minute wait for a table, even though there were four empty tables and only one party waiting ahead of us. No one acknowledges your entry to this place. In fact, it seems the entire staff is avoiding eye contact at all times because they simply don't know how to keep up with standard restaurant pace and service.

The host seats your party, takes your drink order, gets your drinks, then disappears for a while, then comes back to the front to seat the next party and repeat. There is no simultaneous service, no multi-tasking, no quick seating of multiple parties. My review here is painstakingly, miserably detailed so you may be forewarned of the nightmare service you can expect here.

Today's service was similar to what we had received in the past, although the restaurant was a bit busier than usual. Once we were seated, it took 12 minutes for a server to show up. We ordered, and since we had experienced a long wait for food here in the past, we asked that the waitress bring out two warm biscuits as an appetizer. 20 minutes later-- no biscuits, no food, no one even checking on us. The restaurant was nearly full by then. At times, there were stretches where none of the staff were even visible to customers. When I finally caught a waitress and flagged her down to ask for our biscuits, she complained that the kitchen was really busy. Our biscuits arrived another 10 minutes later. Our meal arrived a full 30 minutes after THAT. It was now over 70 minutes after we had been seated.

During our long wait, we really noticed all of the inefficiencies of this restaurant; There are around 10 to 15 seated parties when the restaurant is busy. One host and two servers are the only staff we've seen during our visits. They are constantly backtracking, not following through on tasks, and avoiding customers. Today we noticed one waitress check on a table where they asked for more coffee. She left to get the carafe behind the bar, came back to pour their coffee, took the carafe all the way back to the bar, came back to check on the table NEXT to the first table where they too asked for more coffee! So she went back to the bar to get the carafe again and instead of keeping hold of the coffee and checking on all tables, took it back to the bar before returning to check on the next table in line. The fact that someone was actually checking on tables for a moment was great, but the backtracking was insane.

When we finished our food, our plates sat empty for a full ten minutes before the waitress came by to check on us. I was ready with my credit card; we wanted out of there! She did return promptly with the check and I quickly handed my card to her before she could abandon us again. She took my credit card to the bar, LEFT it up there where other customers were sitting, and disappeared for 5 minutes. When she reappeared, she went to another table, took their empty plates and returned with their check. I had to flag her down again and ask what she had done with my card. She finally processed our payment, returned my card, and 2 hours after we had walked in the front door, we were finally free to escape this nightmare. I've had it with this place. The food is delicious, but if you're used to making vegan fare at home, it's not hard to make equally tasty dishes yourself.

It's simply not worth driving down Division to sit in a cold & unbelievably noisy restaurant, seated inches from the next table, to have a restaurant experience comparable to watching three coats of paint dry. I wish I could explain to someone at this place how to easily fix so many inefficiencies and streamline their service, but I really don't think these people get it.

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Thank christinapearl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (106)
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85 - 89 of 106 reviews

Reviewed October 24, 2012

We went here for my birthday dinner while on vacation. The staff was very friendly, it's nice and cozy in there. The drink special that night was hot spiced apple cider and for $2 more you could add bourbon or rum. Yes please! I asked our waiter what was the best dish in his opinion. He said the Bistro Burger (Beet burger). Now I like beets but as a burger? I went along with it and wow, it was delicious!!! My husband had the cornmeal crust pie and he loved it. I highly recommend trying the cheese platter for a starter, it's motovated me to try my hand at cheese making.
**Call and make reservations
**There is 1 booth called the Bliss Booth that seats 2 you must reserve that since it's almost always reserved.
**We didn't have a chance but heard the Sunday Brunch is amazing

Thank Niffer1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2012

I love this restaurant. The food is vegan and organic and every time I eat there the food is fantastic. This is definitely one of my favorite vegan restaurants in Portland. The flavors of the food are explosive, their menu offers a nice variety, the decor is cool, and the staff is friendly. My only complaint is that service can sometimes be a slow. I definitely reccomend Portobello to anyone!

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Thank 1987asdf05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012 via mobile

It took a full hour for the appetizer and 90 minutes for the entrees. The waiter said they had two large parties, but we didn't see them. Besides, I had read previously about slow service so, clearly, they do not have their act together. I had a type of cornbread pizza, which was like a large muffin with some tomato. At $15 this was a major rip-off. We will not waste our time or money (bill for 2:almost $50) again. Blossoming Lotus and Native Foods Cafe are so much tastier, more fairly priced, and have outstanding service.

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Thank RomaCambridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

Small location in strip mall. Friendly service. Excellent wine, drinks, cordial menu. Try the house made limoncello! Limited menu but excellent selections. Five of us, all enjoyed entire meal. The heirloom tomatoes were really outstanding! I had mushroom linguine, very nicely done. One dessert, a bombe, and the person raved about it. I'm looking forward to my next meal at Portobello!

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Thank VacaBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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