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“Wonderful Setting But Way Too Loud”
Review of Portico Restaurant

Portico Restaurant
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Ranked #47 of 1,644 Restaurants in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: Chef Paolo Randazzo, former owner of Franco's Ristorante and current owner of Sensi, both in Richmond, VA 804-784-4800
Reviewed March 27, 2013

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.

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Thank RonANorthCarolina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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145 - 149 of 163 reviews

Reviewed February 25, 2013 via mobile

This place has been totally renovated. Beautiful outdoor seating area with huge fireplace. Food is excellent and a good value. Perfect for me. Only minutes From my house. Often do takeouts.

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Thank JFMey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2013

Four of us had dinner at Portico last night. As always, good thing we had a reservation as the placed was standing room only as usual. This is a bastion of the wealthy River Road families, and they like Portico; a lot. We were promptly seated, which is always nice to not have to wait. That is especially true at Portico as the bar is always full with little chance to sit much less get a drink while waiting. There is not waiting area inside so prompt seating is really a must. Our waiter was prompt and efficient, but unfortunately not very friendly at all. We tried to engage him several times but he was having none of it. The food was very good. The menu has a range of options, from burgers and pizza to high end Italian. The stuffed shrimp was perfect. The desserts were awesome. When this place is full it is extremely loud. It could use some noise reduction efforts. The restaurant has a very nice patio with outdoor seating with a huge fireplace. In winter you need to sit near the fire for a drink, but in spring and summer the outdoor seating is the best. You'll enjoy Portico and it is certainly the best Italian spot in town.

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Thank FlyRight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

I went to Portico a bit early last Saturday evening. It was a lovely night and we sat outdoors by the fireplace sipping Martinis. Our party arrived about a half hour into our evening. By this time, we made new friends, and we were very content. Dinner was good. Our waiter was most excellent. We did not care to rush the evening, so service time did not bother us. It was a relaxed and enjoyable evening in a charming setting.

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Thank eileenzee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013 via mobile


We frequent Portico...it's the type of place you can take your date, your friends, your parents, your kids or your coworkers and it fits. Upscale decor without being snobby, a menu to please all palates at pleasing prices. The outdoor area is the best in town, with a large patio with a roaring wood fire (and heated patio pavers and bistro heaters for cooler weather).

Free valet parking on busy dinner nights just adds to the excellent service and atmosphere. This restaurant was truly needed in the far West End, and I only wish there was a second one in town. Dinner reservations are a must. Use Open Table.

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

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