This is a beautiful restaurant in a gorgeous setting complete with patio and outdoor fireplace. The food, too, is excellent and the presentation is first rate. Our party of four started with a big bowl of mussels in a delicious soaking of a tasty, garlic-and-buttter-rich sauce. After that, two of us chose the sea bass, which was perfectly cooked, while the other two members of our group opted for a seafood combination and a wonderful salmon dish respectively. Everything was cooked and presented to perfection. This is a very good restaurant.
Now for the downside. First of all, the place is way too noisy. I mean, we're talking noise at a level that makes normal conversation nearly impossible. While I realize that noise is all the rage among restaurant operators these days because it supposedly makes a place feel exciting, this one needs to lower its noise level a good deal. After all, Portico is a rather romantic, dimly lit restaurant and romance hardly goes well with shouting. The other downside was the rather long wait we had to endure despite having a pre-8 p.m. reservation. If a restaurant is going to accept reservations, which most good ones should, it should be skilled at managing them so that no customer has to wait more than ten minutes or so for his or her table. This is not a big criticism because the waiting place at Portico--in front of the big outdoor fireplace just off the patio, surrounded by elevated heaters--is pleasant even on a cold night. But it is still annoying to have a long wait.
Our service was good but not great. I think our waiter was a bit overwhelmed on a very busy Saturday night. The wine list was quite nice and included a wide array of prices. We chose a Cakebreak Chardonnay, which at $69 was not at all overpriced for that paritcular wine. In fact, we had a second bottle. Our total tab, including wine and a $46 round of pre-dinner drinks and 20% gratuity, came to just over $300, or about $75 per person, which wasn't bad for such a good and sophisticated restaurant. I hope to return to Portico in the late spring or summer so that I can dine on the very inviting patio. That should make for a quieter experience at the very least.
On balance, Portico is a terrific restaurant despite the noise and wait. If the owners address those two shortcomings the place will be darn near perfect.