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Porto's Bakery -- I am speechless!

liu Sep 17, 2007 11:51 AM

We went to "check out" Porto's Bakery in Glendale for our first time. I was expecting the usual...a case or two of day-old pastries, etc. etc.

We saw the crowds on the sidewalk as we approached, and we knew we were in the right place! Oh -- WOW! Where have I been all my life that I have missed this place? Two huge rooms filled solidly with customers enjoying their Porto's selections. The lines were somewhat chaotic -- there were several and we didn't know which line to enter -- but I am not sure it matters.

We ordered the Midnight Sandwich and a guava-cream pastry, to share. The sandwich was perfect, and the pastry was ... well, perfect as well!

This place is "not-to-be-missed!" We enjoyed the Glendale location, but I am told that the Burbank bakery is the newer of the two.

Porto's Bakery
135 North Brand Blvd.
Glendale

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  1. tatertotsrock RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 12:02 PM

    My first loving memory of Porto's...walking to Portos with my God Mother after church on a Sunday to pick up a Rum Cake for my Brother's 7th Birthday.
    We had had Portos before, but I had never gotten to go. Back then, it was in the smallest place, next to the tiniest little post office...over the years, I've watched Portos grow as they got to watch me grow up...same people over 30 years...still wonderful people, familiar faces.
    They even remembered me after beign gone for 7 years.
    One of the first places I visited when I moved back to town.
    That Guava cheese danish is my favorite sweet, next in line line is the Rum/Guava cake thing...mmm.
    The Potato Balls, Meat Pies, and Croquettes are the best hangover cure, comfort food craving soother, and yummiest guilty pleasure that I've adored for most of my life.
    Love that they are still around, still have food that tastes great, and obiously take care of their employees...how else could they keep the same people for 30 years....there are at least 3 of them that Iknow for sure have worked there that long.
    Hooray for PORTOS!

    5 Replies
    1. re: tatertotsrock
      mrshankly RE: tatertotsrock Sep 17, 2007 12:15 PM

      I second and third the potato balls, meat pies, and croquettes. Add the empanadas as well. The tres leches cake is simply one of the best!!!

      1. re: tatertotsrock
        liu RE: tatertotsrock Sep 17, 2007 12:23 PM

        Thanks for a little "history," tatertotsrock! This helps me to understand the place and its adoring customers. You have explained why it felt like the camp mess hall inside (I say this with fond memories of my camp rec hall dining experiences). But I must add, the food at Porto's is extraordinary!

        30-year loyal employees says it all!

        And thanks for confirming my order of the guava-cheese danish. Truly, I could have ordered anything, but I just happened to be ordering in front of this particular pastry, so this was the easiest to point to. Really, everything looked great!

        1. re: liu
          tatertotsrock RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 07:27 PM

          Hello liu,
          It's funny, thanks to the Burbank location...I've now gotten the honor of watching several friends try the potato balls, meat pies, croquettes, and the guave/cheese danish....I've created several monsters after bringing them two of each yummy treat and they went nuts...keep in mind, one fellow was the owner of one of the gyms I was a trainer at...the other people were other trainers and a few clients...it gets really funny when several times I'd go in for a cafe con leche, a potato ball, a meat pie and a guava danish (now, I'm supposed to be the example of good health) and run into my gym owner and another trainer chowing down on the Cubano sandwich, and a ton of other treats...we were all pretty guilty, but all we could do was laugh and keep eating.
          When food is that tastey and that cheap, how can one really feel guilty.
          I like the Burbank location now just for the parking ease, and it's close the studio where I'm an Indoor Cycling Instructor.

        2. re: tatertotsrock
          lacaramon RE: tatertotsrock Mar 31, 2008 01:48 PM

          Not trying to one up you, tatertotsrock, but as a cuban growing up in Silverlake in the early 70's, we used to go the Porto's home, knock on the back door, and collect our family birthday cakes, including a big celebratory hug from the mom, and a hi from the kids. Looking back, it was like a drug deal going down because it was before they had opened up their first store. I love going to the Glendale store and getting behind the counter to get my hug and kiss from them still. They're a great family.

          1. re: lacaramon
            tatertotsrock RE: lacaramon Oct 7, 2008 11:42 AM

            Your " it was like a drug deal going down " is priceless.
            Thanks for the giggle.

        3. s
          slacker RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 12:54 PM

          The first time I wandered into Portos many years ago, it was just the bakery. Now look at it! I love all the pastries with guava. The little cheese pastry (no guava) is also excellent.
          You can order sandwiches from the pastry side too.

          1. bigtums RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 12:54 PM

            I think the fruit tart is the best! That crust is so good.

            1. t
              tuttifrutti RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 01:54 PM

              I remember the prices were unbelievable, too. you get the best of both worlds at Porto's... great food at great prices... no wonder the place is busting at the seams all the time.

              long live Porto's!!!

              1. wizardx RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 02:02 PM

                Porto's is one of my recent finds as well...

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/411876

                The Burbank location is huge.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wizardx
                  liu RE: wizardx Sep 17, 2007 02:44 PM

                  wizardx - Thanks for this link. I vaguely remember reading it several months ago, but at the time it did not mean very much to me. NOW...I'm salivating on every word!

                  I really do not think it matters what you order there..."omakase" (chef's choice) for me! Really, I could blindly choose and I would be happy. Of course, I am still thinking about a few items: the midnight sandwich (really tasty!), and the fresh tray of chocolate croissants that passed by as I was in line (I did not try one, but my eyes had the entire tray!).

                  We were in Glendale; now I want to go to the Burbank shop.

                2. a
                  avena RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 02:51 PM

                  I strongly recommend the spinach croissant. Lots of flavorful savory spinach filling in a buttery flaky croissant. Its tied with the guava cheese strudel for me as my favorite breakfast pastry at Portos. For individual desserts, try any of the mousses. All very delicious. I'm partial to the mango mousse.

                  1. floridastylee RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 04:24 PM

                    Porto's is GREAT!!! Anytime I end up in the valley I try to stop by the Burbank location. I'm going to start praying every night now that they expand to the west side. Or maybe it's best that it's not so convenient for me. Potato balls, meat pies, midnight sandwiches, everything!!!!! Anytime I heading to a family gathering I make sure to stop in for a nice assortment of goodies. And it's SOOOO CHEAP! <3 <3!!! haha

                    1. David Kahn RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 04:24 PM

                      Yep. I like the Burbank location slightly more. The lines seem generally to be a bit shorter and the place is less chaotic. That cheese danish thing is amazing, but only fresh; it doesn't freeze or store well. Also love the roast pork sandwich. And their tres leches cake is wonderful.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: David Kahn
                        b
                        bophisto RE: David Kahn Sep 17, 2007 04:36 PM

                        Porto's is quite amazing, although it is pretty far from me in West L.A , I think it is worth the drive just to check it out. Plus you will probably come ahead or pay the same as if you ate somewhere else even after factoring gas prices.

                        I've only been once, the line seemed long but they manage to run it well , and they got the food out to us on the table very quickly. This is at the Glendale location. The sandwiches are so tasty as the breads are baked fresh and I think many of them were under $5, cheap by L.A standards.

                        Anyways, check it out!

                        http://www.portosbakery.com/

                      2. m
                        Mando RE: liu Sep 17, 2007 05:04 PM

                        I love Porto's. Try the Mango and piƱa colada mousse, imo their best desserts hands down. Their chorizo omelette sandwich and medianoches are great too. I've actually never had something bad there. I personally prefer the Burbank one all the food with half the crowds, but lets keep that between us, I'd hate to see it get as chaotic as glendale.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Mando
                          q
                          quicksilverwade RE: Mando Mar 31, 2008 12:21 PM

                          We were just at the Glendale's Portos on Sunday, March 30, 2008. It was as crowded as I've ever seen but they now have two serving lines with the newest section with as much as seven people taking orders. We had the pan con lechon and the feta sandwich.

                          1. re: quicksilverwade
                            d
                            dabruins07 RE: quicksilverwade Jul 13, 2008 10:02 AM

                            what is the best time to go to porto's on saturday or sunday and to avoid the huge lines?

                            1. re: dabruins07
                              n
                              neurotic818 RE: dabruins07 Jul 13, 2008 11:47 AM

                              I've found the best time to go is on Saturday morning.....but the Porto's in Burbank. The quality is exactly the same, but isn't generally as crowded as the Glendale location.

                        2. n
                          ns1 RE: liu Jul 13, 2008 10:21 AM

                          i'm addicted to their meat pies. so good. like a really bomb pate chaud.

                          1. amyleechen RE: liu Jul 13, 2008 10:29 AM

                            I do believe this is the first time I've read a unanimously glowing thread. Living in NYC, I can't beat a path to Porto's, but, oh how I wish I could! So nice to read about a place that has put out so much love and received it in return. Lovely.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: amyleechen
                              choctastic RE: amyleechen Jul 13, 2008 12:39 PM

                              It is definitely all that and a bag of chips. Add me to the list of fans.

                              1. re: amyleechen
                                Midlife RE: amyleechen Oct 7, 2008 11:06 AM

                                My wife and SIL first visited Porto's Glendale a few months ago with their Uncle & Aunt who live in La Crescenta and are once-a-weekers there. Yesterday we all gathered for a belated celebration of the Uncle's 90th birthday and Porto's was again the lunch destination. This was my first time there.

                                This place is truly amazing and I consider my waistline very lucky that we live in South Orange County or there would be definite trouble. Among us we had both versions of the MediaNoche sandwich, another sandwich I can't remember, and a shredded pork sandwich, potato balls and even a steak salad (for the healthy SIL). Inca Cola and Pina Colada Smoothie too. Everything was very, very good and the prices are so reasonable you tend to order more.

                                The sandwich concepts we had reminded me a great deal of Bahn Mi both from content and size which, to some degree does explain how they're able to charge so reasonably. That and the incredible number of people who are there seemingly all day long.

                                Couldn't leave without nearly $20 worth of cookies, macaroons, fruit tarts, chocolate strawberries, assorted cake slices and some potato balls to go.

                                This place IS pretty incredible.

                              2. m
                                mrsantora RE: liu Oct 7, 2008 11:50 AM

                                Yeah. Portos rocks. A Cuban friend of mine introduced me to then about 10 years ago. He lives out in Calabasas and has to make the trek to get to them. I live in Burbank and can walk to the Burbank location. I give him a hard time about that on a regular basis.

                                If you haven't yet, their cakes are amazing. My wife and I did one for a birthday and everyone was blown away. Really just an excellent bakery. They deserve all the props they get.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mrsantora
                                  ElsieDee RE: mrsantora Oct 8, 2008 12:04 AM

                                  What type of cake did you order?

                                2. a213b RE: liu Oct 8, 2008 12:50 PM

                                  Totally agree, Portos is AWESOME!

                                  I, too, only recently discovered it, and boy was I impressed. Super friendly service, amazing selection of tasty treats (both sweet and savory), and CHEAP!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: a213b
                                    s
                                    sibaik RE: a213b Oct 8, 2008 01:17 PM

                                    I also love their spinach pastry and their Italian sandwich. Love the potato balls and their cakes too. We used them to cater a birthday party and they were prompt, polite, and food was hot. Reasonable prices too.

                                  2. a
                                    AnnieMar RE: liu Oct 8, 2008 04:04 PM

                                    Is it me? I've been to Porto's glendale many times, our family always used to order their cakes for Bdays, but I've always thought their sandwiches are "just OK" and the brusque service always rubbed me the wrong way. No one's even nice or helpful it seems they just want the line to keep moving... I remember asking a question about something and getting the ole' "I no speak english" look, even though they probably did speak english. (i am from a latino family so pls don call me "culturally insensitive")Oh well, maybe its me.... I guess the crowds and the constant motion makes you feel as if you're a part of something in a city and thats cool I guess, but to me the foods not worth the waiting and putting up with the staff's attitude.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: AnnieMar
                                      a213b RE: AnnieMar Oct 8, 2008 04:10 PM

                                      I have to defend the staff, at least in the Burbank location.

                                      Our first time, the girl at the counter helped us and answered each and every one of our questions patiently and politely. And then, the man checking us out, when asked by me what his thoughts on Malto were, promptly got a bottle down and handed it to me at no charge ... he just wanted to see my reaction to it when I tasted it.

                                      On the matter of sandwiches I cannot speak, never having had one.

                                    2. d
                                      Dutchvanobvious RE: liu Oct 8, 2008 04:22 PM

                                      I don't think i have purchased anything that wasn't absolutely delish and fresh too. the cookies are an absolute bargain. we order dozens of them for school functions. Cheaper than the bakery varieties at the grocery stores and much tastier too.

                                      Now I have to go toPorto's this week. you gave the crave :-)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Dutchvanobvious
                                        c
                                        CucumberBoy RE: Dutchvanobvious Oct 9, 2008 03:21 PM

                                        Having never visited the Glendale store, I thought the Burbank location was chaotic! However, the lines -- however long -- move very fast. There seems to be a method behind the madness. Every time I've been to the Burbank shop, there are lines galore but I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes or thereabouts for my food.

                                        And what food it is. I can't remember the name of the sandwich at the moment, but the one with the thin-sliced ham and cheese with pickles destroys me -- so simple, so good. To paraphrase Rick Bayless, it's "food that nourishes the very soul."

                                        The carrot cake is perfectly perfection, as are those out-of-this-world potato balls. The roast pork sandwich -- the Cubano? -- is another flat-out mouth-waterer.

                                        Porto's is officially an LA institution -- long live Porto's! Just don't tell anyone how inexpensive they are....please....

                                        -cb-

                                        1. re: CucumberBoy
                                          Midlife RE: CucumberBoy Oct 9, 2008 08:41 PM

                                          I think think the sandwich is called the MediaNoche. There are 2 versions, but it sounds like you're describing the simpler one.

                                      2. Veggietales RE: liu Oct 10, 2008 05:42 PM

                                        I'm a 28 year native of the 818 and have been going since I was a wee babe and cannot speak more highly of the quality of the product makes and serves at Porto's.

                                        My only gripe is that the potato balls have shrunk over the years.

                                        My favs: Pan con Lechon, Media Noche, Media Noche con Croquettes, all their croissants, potato balls, ham croquettes, butter pound cake, Cheese roll

                                        OMG, I'm salivating. AND I live in the South Bay now. *tear*

                                        1. t
                                          tannazie RE: liu Oct 10, 2008 08:38 PM

                                          perfect timing on this post. my first time at the glendale porto's was for an 11-in-11 event -- 11 eateries that represent Los Angeles in 11 hours on nov. 11. It was around 5-6 o'clock, and the whole of brand street was dead, but we walked into Porto's and it was bustling! Brightly lit, families sitting down to dinner, locals excited to eat something delicious, it just had a great energy. And then the potato balls! Cozy and delicious. (This was all we could stomach -- about 3 of us shared one -- after the gorgefest that the day had been.)

                                          And the first time I went to the Burbank location was, well, today! Flat tire got me on a different route to work, and I had to stop in. My iced cappuccino was made with so much love, and pride -- the guy was almost giddy to hand it to me. And it really showed -- the coffee was so rich, and with no bitterness - i didn't need to add sugar at all.

                                          is it weird to be nostalgic about something that happened 8 hours ago? =)

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