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Apr 28, 2011 02:58 PM

Del Porto

We finally got back to Del Porto in their new location.

Nice bright place with well stocked bar. Service was casual but still satisfactory.

The food was good and people can be mislead by it being known as an Italian restaurant as when you hear that you think of red sauce. I don't think there was a single dish on the menu that had red sauce. The menu was more along the lines of a cookbook I like "Mediterranean Light".

Since you can't measure it against other Italian restaurants it is a bit like measuring Rio Mar. Good ingredents, well prepared and nicely presented.

The highlight was a special app of a small fried softshell crab under a vegetable relish which my wife allowed me to sample. Maybe the weakest was my carmelized mushroom salad. The salad part was nicely done with great baby spinach and a very nice, light mushroom-sherry dressing. But the salad only had 4 small fingernail size pieces of mushroom. Our party also had several 1/2 chickens, a swordfish steak, white bean-artichoke puree, mussels with white wine and Calabrian sausage (pepperoni like), warm mozzarella/tomato confit/pine nut "dip", and my cavatelli/rabbit which was also very good.

Our guests were not drinking so we stayed with wine by the glass. An Aloise Lageder chardonnay for my wife and a Villa Antinori Tuscan red for me. I am not a wine expert and most of the wine list was Italian whicjh is even further from my experience, so we let the bartender choose. They were both enjoyable wines. Some one who wants to experiment with Italian wines could certainly do it here as many wines are available by the glass. I thought the wine prices were reasonable.

In the 2.5 hours we were there it was very quiet with a total of about 15-18 people being served. Staff was 1 greeter, 1 server, 1 busser and 1 bartender. I understand that on typical weekend nights they can be slammed.

Overall impression...worth a return visit.

Rio Mar Restaurant
800 South Peters, New Orleans, LA 70130

Del Porto Restaurant
501 E Boston St, Covington, LA 70433

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  1. No, it isn't Mediterranean, and it most certainly IS Italian, despite red sauce not being everywhere. A trip to Italy will be most enlightening.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sanglier

      yep, northern italian is becoming more popular now (ive heard Mario Batali started the US crazy but i dunno). in the metro area we have Domenica, A Mano, and Del Porto. others?

      as for Del Porto, on our first visit a couple years back we absolutely loved it. we had antipasto, pasta, mains, dessert -- every dish rocked!

      went back this past ash wednesday with a guest and it was kind of a let down. lots of salt, nothing rocked. ya just cant win.... consistency is a tough act.

      1. re: sanglier

        I know it is Italian, so you missed my point that many can be mislead in their expectations.of finding their familiar red sauce dishes at what they were told was an "Italian" restaurant. Same as expecting familiar Tex-Mex in an authentic coastal or southern Mexican restaurant.

        And the dishes are Mediterranean. And I have been to Italy and approximately 70 other countries.

        1. re: collardman

          in my understanding "Mediterranean cuisine" refers more to southern italian and coastal mediterranean cooking -- more seafood, hummus, tomatoes, dry wheat pasta, etc (middle-ages arab trade influenced), while nothern is more german & roman influenced -- sausage/pork, polenta, fresh egg pasta, etc. my personal experience while spending a couple weeks in northern italy supported the same...they explained to me their cooking style used fewer ingredients and less seasoning (salt) dating back to when the region was warring city states and many components were hard to come by. "peasant" style or what not.

          i think Del Porto is definitely going for the "northern italian" thing. imo.

          1. re: kibbles

            I agree with most of what you say. Del Porto is N. Italian cooking. But my take is that N. Italian is closer to Mediterranean. As can often happen when talking about food we may just be using different foundations for makong comparisons.

            After I made the Italian/red sauce post I ran across this quote in a book I'm currently reading. "It requires an open mind for people who have learned to eat Italian food elsewhere (such as Italy) to acclimate to its New Orleans treatments. The Sicilian influence may be new, for one, and accepting red sauce is paramount" "Gumbo Tales" by Sara Roahen. Fun and interesting read.

            I just stated the probelm the other way.

            Del Porto Restaurant
            501 E Boston St, Covington, LA 70433

            1. re: collardman

              that one is here somewhere, on my list.

      2. "new location"...have they moved from East Boston? I have only had great experiences there.