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Great Pizza! [Porta in Asbury Park]

Went to Porta in Asbury Park last night. The restaurant is a large, garage-like structure with bench seats, and rustic tables, all shared.

They offer a selection of appetizers, pastas and desserts, but the prime reason for going here is their Pizza. It's not your usual Jersey Pizza. Unusual toppings on a great crust are offered.

I had a large Bib Lettuce/walnut salad and a Margarite Pizza.They were a good size, about enough for two people with average appetites..

There was a pretty good crowd for a wintry Weds. BTW, there is free parking in Asbury on Weds.


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  1. I have to echo SusieQQ's comments on Porta. I stopped there for lunch (I mean "Brunch") this Saturday afternoon. At Noon, we were the only people in the restaurant however after about 20-30 minutes a few more families streamed in. Although I was a little disappointed that the Brunch menu (not listed on their website) was a little more limited than their typical offerings (i.e. no octopus salad), I was very happy to be able to order their Carbonara Pizza which included guanciale and topped with an egg. I also ordered a white pizza (a margherita pie sans sauce and cheese) for my son who enjoyed it thoroughly. I was however taken a little aback by the fact that our waitress had to check with the pizziola whether they could "do that". Am I the first person to make such a request? That issue aside, the ingredients, the crust and the cooking time/method made for an excellent pizza. With my Carbonara pizza, the combination of guanciale, crust and egg yolk was reminiscent of dipping toast and crispy bacon in to the yolk of a sunny side up egg (delightful). Although the manager was uncomfortable to tell me what the restaurant previously housed, I enjoyed the design and decor which consisted of mostly reclaimed items repurposed into furniture and light fixtures (e.g. ceiling timbers as picnic tables and acetylene tank covers for pendant lighting). All in all, Porta was a very nice restaurant (or gastro pizza pub) that I look forward to returning (especially in the summer when their outdoor "park" is open).

    8 Replies
    1. re: bgut1

      It's good to see this place getting some traction.

      Isn't a Margherita sans sauce and cheese just dough with a few pieces of basil?

      1. re: tommy

        No, Margherita pizza has sauce and cheese. Here is the description from their menu:

        "San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella,
        parmigiano reggiano, extra virgin olive oil, basil "

        1. re: SusieQQ

          Right, I know what a Margherita pizza is. If you take the cheese and sauce away from the Margherita pizza, you're left with just dough and basil, and olive oil.

          1. re: tommy

            OH, I misunderstood.... But, if you take away all the toppings from any pizza, aren't you left with just dough? Anyway I loved it!

            1. re: tommy

              My error. It should have read "sans sauce and basil". So basically I was just looking for dough with cheese.

        2. re: bgut1

          "Although the manager was uncomfortable to tell me what the restaurant previously housed . . . ."

          I drove by there yesterday. I was surprised that that windowless brick building is the place serving the tasty pizza. I was no longer surprised by the manager's interaction with you.

          Edit - I meant to ask, what type of oven do they use? Does anyone know?

          1. re: MGZ


            They use wood fired brick ovens.

            The space previously housed what could best be described as a gay bar and bath house minus the baths.

            1. re: equal_Mark

              Love it ! Thanks for the info, hence the manager's reluctance to answer OP's question.

        3. Loved it. Cool space. Long communal tables. Strung lights. Great vibe. And the food...delicious. Started with the formaggi e salumi which consisted of three cured meats and three cheeses (a soft goat and sheep, and a hard something else), pears, olives, honey and aged balsamic. We tried three pizzas ... margherita, regina margherita (the difference being bufala mozzarella and cherry tomatoes), and carbonara. Echoing bgut, the carbonara was excellent...loved the drippy fried egg. We also had a "double" order of cacio e peppe. This preparation came with arugula on top. The taste of the pasta was very good, but could have been more al dente. The portion size of the "double" was entree size. Really wanted to try the wild boar ragu, but just too much food. Will be returning.

          1. Moderators--any chance you can change this title to Great Pizza - Porta, Asbury Park?

            If not, I'm going to start a new thread, because this place should NOT be as under-mentioned as it is...and not just for the pizza! I don't think Great Pizza is a serviceable thread title for anything, but that's another story...

            ETA: THANK YOU!!! :-) Post to follow.

            1. I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate at a restaurant on two consecutive days (maybe while on vacation), feeling the need to “run back,” and certainly haven’t done it with any local restaurants that I can remember. But Porta is that kind of place. As in, I had dinner there on Friday, and lunch there on Saturday. If I lived within closer range, I’d probably be there three or four times a week!

              I had forwarded early reports about the place to a friend who goes to Asbury and Ocean Grove pretty regularly so she had it on her list, but finally spent a few days down there and went twice in the space of three days. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since, and this is someone who, while I adore as a friend, is VERY particular about what she does and doesn’t like—and pizza is a serious love of hers. She was basically freaking out over the pizza and over the place in general, and now I understand why.

              Dinner on Friday: we arrived early (6:15ish) as we hadn’t had lunch and were starving. Grabbed two seats at the bar, and decided to pace out our evening, sharing as many items as we could before heading to the Stone Pony (1/2 block away). First up, the drink menu. There were at least 4 cocktails I wanted to try, but I went with the “Fred and Ginger,” a lovely blend of muddled lemons, fresh lemon juice, Goslings ginger beer, and Amaro. I was in heaven. Oh, and for $8!

              Now that we had drinks, we ordered the day-boat octopus that has been mentioned on some other Asbury Park posts here on CH (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/798838). STUNNING. Note: I’m an octopus fan; if it’s on the menu, chances are, I’m going to order it. This was just beautifully cooked, and the fennel salad that accompanies it was a perfect compliment. I wish I could have that for lunch every day for at least a week…SIGH.

              We then shared the “Bibber” salad: Bibb lettuce, pistachios, beets, asparagus, and a beautiful mint buttermilk vinaigrette. $9, iirc, and GInormous—plenty for two, and totally shareable by three if you’re going to eat a lot more than we did or you have big appetites. And every other salad that I saw being served was equally large.

              On to pizzas. My friend is a Margherita freak (pic 3) and the only cheese she likes is fresh mozz (don’t even get me started), so we rarely share pizzas—which is just fine with me when they’re as good as these! :-) I ordered the Porta, Porta (pic 2)—without realizing that it’s more calzone-like, but NO objections. Stellar dough wrapped around fresh ricotta on one side and spinach w/garlic down the other. Sauce served on the side, (straight up San Marzanos, from what I can tell—just clean, clean, CLEAN). Fantastic. Obviously the dough is key, as is the cooking knowledge. I didn’t know why until I went back to read about the restaurant—the pizzaolA (a woman) was trained by Roberto Caporuscio (he was originally at A Mano in NJ, now of Keste and Don Antonio in NYC). I’ve concluded that he really is a one-man empire! Everyone who trains under him seems to turn out beautiful pizzas, and the folks at Porta are no exception. They’re using Caputo flour, not over-working their dough, and cooking it to perfection.

              We were far too full for desserts, so I never even saw the options, but I know they offer a Nutella pizza (not my thing). I have since looked at the dessert menu online and am KICKING myself for not asking for it even though I was too full. Oh, well—another reason to return!

              Yesterday we decided we had to go back to have lunch before hitting the road. Walked in around 2:30 and while it wasn’t empty, it wasn’t as busy as I thought it might be on a mostly rainy Saturday afternoon. Still, 1/3 of the bar was occupied, and maybe ¼ of the restaurant—mostly with families (and sadly, the requisite kids running around the tables). I was all set to have the octopus for lunch, but it turns out that there’s a BRUNCH menu on the weekends and it’s not on there. BUT. Crazy good offerings here too, imo—things like Lemon-ricotta pancakes w/vanilla bean brown butter, Eggs in Purgatory (eggs poached in fennel-tomato broth, Calabrian chiles, garlic and shallot, fresh parsley), Grilled Stone Fruit with Mint, and a PLT sandwich. P=prosciutto. My friend noted that the bloody mary is made with San Marzanos. Getting the picture? <grin>

              I was ready for lunch so without the octo, I went with the Carbonara pizza (pic 4)--guanciale, parm, and a perfectly runny fried egg in the center. Ham and eggs! Fantastic. I brought half of it home and had it for breakfast this morning and it was delicious even reheated in my oven.

              The place is HUGE (pic 5 is a view from the bar, back to the door)—I never expected that. Others have talked about the communal tables, but there are also two smaller bars in the room (the main bar is huge, and the bartenders are terrific, btw—we did a lot of observing, and although they were slammed, it was like watching bartender ballet)! They are ON. THEIR. GAME. And by 9pm the place was full with a small group waiting inside, but no lines down the block, and only a few deep at the bar. The outside space has bocce courts and additional tables (with umbrellas). I don’t think you can purchase drinks out there, but people who wanted to move from inside to outside had drinks transferred to plastic cups. They also have what I’m told is referred to as the “disco room,” an equally large space w/a DJ. And I’m told that later on Saturday nights they clear some of the tables in the restaurant for dancing as well.

              In (not-so) short, this is MY kind of place. If you’re looking for a quiet, refined dining experience, that’s not Porta. Porta is rustic, welcoming, hopping, casual, and the food is high quality at very reasonable prices. Can’t wait to get back down there!!


              3 Replies
              1. re: Curlz

                Curlz - I am happy that you enjoyed Porta. It's one of my favorites. While the noise and crowds may not be for everyone, their commitment to fresh quality ingredients more than compensates for me. BTW, the next time I order a Carbonara I expect to add an extra egg or two.

                1. re: bgut1

                  And make sure to order it *runny* Had one recently that came out a bit too firm. There wasn't enough eggy goodness to sop up.

              2. PORTA!!! I am in love! Based on the fabulous reviews we took friends there for lunch today. We all were in heaven! With thanks to those who wrote before me, we ordered the octopus salad. I don't eat the stuff, but everyone else said it was the best ever!

                The Bibber salad was good, not great, but fresh, and good. The Porchetta sandwich was fabulous! The calzone was excellent.

                Now for the good news! The Margherita pizza was from my childhood! On a pizza thread someone once beautifully wrote that the best pizza is what you remember eating as a child.

                I grew up on Patsy"s Pizza from East Harlem ( at least 100 years ago!) No pizza has ever compared since those days. I have searched and gained a lot of weight trying out many many places! I even went back to Patsy's a few years ago. It was great, but not quite up to my memories.

                Today I was a child again! My dog George used to beg for Mozzarella and the pizzaiola would feed George all he wanted as I ordered my one slice for 15 cents!

                As I tasted my first slice today I was filled with loving memories. I was home with loving memories of George!

                This is the pizza I remembered! It was that good! I am just concerned about how I am going to order anything else on the menu! I wonder how many days I can last before going back?

                Just a word of advice. The food takes time to prepare. Go hungry, but not that hungry!

                The place is very casual. The food is unbelievable!
                Really makes me appreciate Chowhound! I would never have known about it, nor gone if I had just seen it from the outside. After reading the reviews here, it deserves all the accolades and more!
                Absolutely delcious!

                1. Porta, Porta, PORTA. I love the food. LOOOOOOOOOOVE the food. So much so that I've been a 1-woman PR machine for the place, talking about it all over NNJ to anyone who will listen. So when I got 3 friends to agree to meet down there yesterday for lunch at 1pm, I was thrilled to take the drive. I drove the GSP knowing that there would be some traffic (there was), but the prize at the end would be a terrific lunch with friends (also true). BUT. Come on...you knew there would be a BUT. At 1pm on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, you had ONE bartender working?? ONE??? So this ONE guy was making drinks for the entire (VERY busy, albeit w/o a waiting line at that point) restaurant?!? WTF, Porta? Really. WTF?
                  Needless to say, the food was awesome, but the service was appalling from start to finish. Our waitress was slammed, drinks took forever, and forget about being asked in any sort of timely fashion if we wanted another round... SO. Note to self: Porta cares about food, not so much about service. I had heard this from two other people whose info I trust, but hadn't seen it myself until this weekend. OOOOOF.
                  On to the food: we were starving at 1pm, and even more so a little before 2 when we finally got to order (no exaggeration, b/c there was a discussion about the fact that we had already been there just under an hour). So we decided to have a little breakfast AND a little lunch. :-) Bloody Marys were declared to be wonderful and spicy, and we started with the almond french toast and the lemon ricotta pancakes. Forget the first thing (I did), because those pancakes were UN. FREAKING. BELIEVEABLE. Seriously. InSANELY good. Two huge lemony cakes with ricotta under them (and, I assume, in the batter). OMG. OMG!!! No syrup on the plate although the menu shows it, and it's not like we had anyone we could ask for it, but we had some from the totally ok french toast, but who cared once we had the pancakes? :-)
                  3 pizzas followed: Margherita, Italian Stallion, and Carbonara, the last of which was declared the favorite by everyone. For those who really like some spicy kick, the Italian Stallion had a fair share of very thinly sliced long hots all over it, and WOW, were they spicy! I was picking off 90% of the pieces because I couldn't handle it.
                  Once again, the food was stellar, and I really can't wait to get back once the shore really clears out. I'm already looking forward to a bitter cold day when I can plant myself there and just eat and drink the afternoon/evening away! Hopefully with better service.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: Curlz

                    Unfortunately Porta only serves wine out of a slim type drinking glass. I ask you, why would anyone want to purchase a nice glass or even a bottle of wine only to have to drink it out of a water type glass? It makes absolutely no sense. How about getting some nice wine glasses?

                    1. re: CatLadyJan

                      Most of their wines are pizza-appropriate table wines. I've found that wine-consuming cultures aren't always drinking wine out of stemmed wine glasses in casual settings.

                      I'd suspect they have stemmed glasses for their (few) expensive offerings. If not I'm sure those bottles are just as drinkable out of a jelly jar as they are out of Riedel.

                      1. re: tommy

                        This restaurant drives me crazy. I love the food and have recommended it to everyone looking for a place to eat in Asbury Park. However, while they are serious about their food, they don't seem to place such a high standard on their level of service. I'm not sure if this is intentional (aloofness translates to being "cool") or otherwise. Another criticism is the noise level. We ate there this past Sunday evening and the crowd noise combined with the incredibly loud band playing was almost unbearable. While the food alone will keep me coming back, the management needs to take a long look at these issues (assuming of course that they care to do so).

                        1. re: bgut1

                          It's certainly an edgy place. When I heard they have bands in that cavernous room sometimes during the latter part of dinner service and also a dance club connected next door, I decided that I'd only be going for lunch or a very early dinner. Although these days most of my dinners are early anyway.

                          There seems to be two things at play here: really super Neapolitan style pizza, with a kitchen who cares, and owners who are more concerned with making money than they are providing a pleasant experience.

                          Now, one could argue that if you don't like the vibe, don't go. it's not for you. I myself enjoy live music, and may very well find myself there for music and food if the music is right. I can see how it could catch someone off guard, however.

                          Reminds me of many, many places that I've been to over the years, but more recently Mancinni's in Montclair. Went the other day for lunch and the the alt-rock was blaring. I loved it. I can imagine the average Montclair mom with stroller would have not. I wouldn't change a thing there.

                          1. re: tommy

                            Tommy - Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the edge. It is definitely part of the appeal of the restaurant. But there is however a difference between edgy and out right unpleasantness. In my case, we were there for dinner at around 7 PM and the band was unexpected. That being said, I would generally have no objection to live music but in this situation the amplifiers were too loud for the acoustics of the room and the band wasn't to my taste.

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Would it be possible that the band was to others' tastes as was the volume?

                              Point is, it's not a flaw. It's a matter of taste. The place may not be for you (or me) after 2 pm. :)

                              1. re: tommy

                                tommy - I've been there many times after 2 PM and enjoyed the restaurant. By way of context, I also don't think of myself as someone who is sensitive to loud music (I've been known to enjoy some alternative metal bands). In this case I was trying to be nice by characterizing the band as not being to "my taste".

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  Now I want to know who this horrible band was!

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    Sorry tommy. I have no idea who they were.

                          2. re: bgut1

                            Hey bgut1, you would have had a great time on our pizza crawl. Would have called you but it was spur of the moment coming home from a business trip.
                            Porta was right there in the mix with their pizza.

                            Music and food is always tricky. The fact that the food is good certainly helps.

                            1. re: tom246

                              tom246 - I must admit to being a little jealous but your excellent report more than made up for it. :) One of these days we need to get that Trenton tomato pie crawl off the ground.

                            2. re: bgut1

                              This all sounds very modern "Asbury" to me.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Meaning...? Not enough of a dive vibe? Too upscale?
                                I'd disagree with both of those statements if that's what you're implying, so I'm curious to know!

                                1. re: Curlz

                                  It's all ink and body art these days.

                                  1. re: Curlz

                                    I haven't been to Porta yet, but much of this subthread "conversation" sounds like comments I have heard about other places in AP: disinterested or unfocused management, newly "local" servers who seem condescending or absent, food is better than the vibe, too loud, etc.

                                    I still intend to go and try the pizza, but, like I said, it "sounds very modern 'Asbury' to me" - particularly, in the Summer.

                                2. re: bgut1

                                  Hey everyone once I saw this thread and let everyone know my band was playing last Sunday Sept. 2nd and will be back this Sunday as well so please come join us!!!
                                  (just a joke Bgut1)

                                  No I'm not in a band.........but I have to say Pizza is one of my favorite foods.......and I have read so much good about this place......but also so much bad. I checked out their web site and even that has the "edge" that is a recurring topic on this thread. I will say I will for sure try this place but sadly as good as the food seems I'm not being drawn to it......I'm going into it almost ready to be let down. I don't like "edge" if the pizza / food is good I'll eat it at a 1970's pre-formed formica booth if need be, I don't need edge and punk rock bands. We will see.

                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    We're waiting for a rainy, late October evening. If you haven't noticed, September is still part of the "Season".

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      The food is quite good. I'd suggest going for lunch, when it's bright and cheery and free of most of the edge.

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        We went for lunch also. Great pizza & octopus and decent service. You may want to consider bringing scissors for eating the pizza as the house made mozzarella tends to be reluctant to let go... :-)


                            3. Had no idea that they have bands inside that early...I was at the bar on a Friday night in late July from 7-9:30 and that wasn't the case. I suspect that there was bonus 'entertainment' since it was Labor Day Weekend (still too bad there weren't bonus employees...but I digress). I'll be REALLY interested to experience Porta after, say, October 1st. Non-stemmed wine glasses and all (although I'm VERY partial to the Fred and Ginger cocktail...)

                              1. We just returned from our fourth Porta trip. This was our first dinner. I had Pomodoro pasta. It was different, and good. I wouldn't order it again, but glad I tried it. I LOVE their pizza and salads! Hubby had their special pizza of the eve. I couldn't resist after telling him not to order it. One taste and I was in love! It was thin sliced potato, sausage, a delicious cheese whose name escapes me, and spicy something or another which I picked off. He loves spicy. When I offered apologies to the wonderful waitress who suggested we tried it, she said when ever they offer a special pizza it is worth trying! I now agree. So far the grilled octopus, and ANY pizza are for us! The calzone last week was also delicious! I am seriously having problems not going here. Curlz thanks for the reminder... I think!

                                32 Replies
                                1. re: EL7

                                  dined at Porta last nite (with my wife who was there for the first time). She loved the octopus salad and last nite it looked like I almost received 1 1/2 if not a double serving of the octopus than I have in the past - which was great as we shared this plate but I guess I paid for it later. It (charred octopiii) remains their signature dish (at least to me). Side of olives as well with my Summer Shandy. My wife ordered the Pomodoro pasta which she liked - not loved (there's not much to the dish imho - as I finished up a couple of fork fulls of it for her as she left it on the plate).

                                  I ordered last nite's special which was a Greek pizza. First off, I'm going to admit that they make a vg pie, but there are times like last nite, where I want to love this place, and I can't. I like it, just like my wife liked the Pomodoro. I can't love this place for Octopus salad ALONE, as it's a pizza place. The Greek pizza sounded tantalizing delicious and interesting.....Greek yogurt (which was creamy and it took some adjusting palate wise), lamb sausage (miniscule to the point of almost being non-existent), with cherry tomatoes, & fresh parsley. It was tasty. I love their crust, but when the pizza toppings take up less than 50% of the face of the pizza, I've got a problem. Those of you who have dined there, know the size of the pie resembling that of a personal pizza that we can get down here - now imagine that facia having pizza ingredients on less than half the surface area of the pie - the rest being the crust . At $16, I'm disappointed. While I enjoyed, where's the beef???? And my reheat of a couple of slices this morning confirmed the beauty of that pizza crust, but also the extreme skimpiness of last nite's offering. Those of you who have read my posts, know that I'm not a steak eater. I'm all for quality over quantity, but that pie - what could someone be thinking in releasing that pie to a customer? I would have had no problem waiting on another pie. On 3 of the slices, the ingredients were gone after 1.5 bites and I'm not a 'jammer'. Gone - it was almost like an appetizer.

                                  Oh, I presume that we will visit again, but this place gives me the impression that it will soon fall into the same AP dining rut of high prices (not like Nicholas etc, but for what they make in that kitchen) and very little value. Makes me want to visit Bay Ave or Drews real soon just to forget about last nite's shortfall. Oh well, there will be Papas or DeLorenzos (Hudson St) next weekend as we trek out to Bordentown.

                                  1. re: JustJake

                                    Got a message from a friend who happens to own his own place out on the left coast and figured I'd post based on my disappointment of execution (as per the above review). While Charlie doesn't have wood fired ovens, his pies could be as good if not better, for their creativity alone but more importantly the pie is filled (and with a small personal pie, you can't skimp on the ingredients) .

                                    Burrata & Potato Pizza
                                    roasted zucchini, rosemary, garlic confit, nutty burrata

                                    Goat Cheese Beets & California Walnuts
                                    shaved roasted beets, goat cheese, and garlic served
                                    with wild arugula salad with basil-citrus vinaigrette:
                                    cheese, roasted Yukon gold potatoes

                                    Here are pics of the two and how a 'gourmet pie' should be finished (see image 4) http://calafiapaloalto.com/the-eviden...

                                    1. re: JustJake

                                      I may need to get a plane ticket. O.M.G. Thanks much for sharing!!

                                    2. re: JustJake

                                      We made it as far as the bar and once we saw the skinny tall "water" type glasses they use for wine glasses we left. My husband and I were all set to order a nice bottle of wine, but who wants to drink it out of water glasses? When we asked if they had regular stem glasses, they did not. Totally turned us off and after hearing about your "skimpy pie" at "not so skimpy price" we have no desire to go there.

                                      1. re: CatLadyJan

                                        That's a shame...but if it isn't clear from the enthusiastic posters, this is NOT fine dining. If this 'scene' isn't your thing, that's fine. Personally, I think they've got a great concept on their hands, and one that seems to fit in to the town, whereas the Watermarks/McCloone's of the world don't suit my taste at all--overpriced, average food at best (imo both belong in Spring Lake--YAWN).
                                        I do think it would be great if the folks at Porta showed some interest in constructive commentary, as they're about 80% of the way there (again, imo). This is one fan who is more than willing to drive over an hour to get there, and that's unheard of for me.

                                        1. re: CatLadyJan

                                          What "nice" bottle were you planning on ordering? Can't say I'd go here for wine, or even think that I could.

                                          Sounds like wine glasses are more important than food, which is a shame since the restaurant isn't known for wine, but is known for food

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            I'm drinking a 1996 Rioja out of a juice glass right now. Tastes wonderful.

                                            1. re: tommy

                                              Can't understand the whole "Riedel" concept of drinking wine in a casual atmosphere. In most countries in which wine drinking is a normal accompaniment to meals it is taken in what would be considered to be a regular drinking glass. France, Italy, whatever.

                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                Yeah. I have a collection of amounts to jelly jars from which we will enjoy wine with burgers, pizza, whatever it is we're eating in a casual setting. It actually adds to the dynamic and enjoyment.

                                            2. re: CatLadyJan

                                              You made into the warehouse past the bocce ball courts through the picnic tables and were surprised when they didn't have stem glasses.

                                              1. re: AC Captain

                                                Again, we prefer drinking our wine out of a stem glass. I don't much care what they do in Italy, France, whatever........

                                                1. re: CatLadyJan

                                                  You ask the question "who wants to drink wine out of water glasses.". We answer with "much of the wine-drinking world.". Just trying to shed some light on what you feel is an egregious oversight on the restaurant's part.

                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                    I really do not care how "much of the wine-drinking world" drinks their wine, I've stated our preference. Case closed.

                                                    1. re: CatLadyJan

                                                      This has been a fulfilling discussion. Thank you very much.

                                                      1. re: CatLadyJan

                                                        Next time, why not bring your own "stems"?

                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                          a nice simple solution MGZ, one we use all the time. Always have stems with us whether we go to the local pizza joint or some "fine dining" establishment.

                                                        2. re: CatLadyJan

                                                          You are absolutely right, you should enjoy wine the way you like to. On that same note the restaurant can serve it anyway they like. Just because you enjoy it one way doesn't mean the rest of the world enjoys it that way (Pun intended).

                                                          1. re: CatLadyJan

                                                            Case remains open, I believe.

                                                            I used to BYOG. It worked for me.

                                                            1. re: tommy

                                                              I suppose there ought to be a way to indicate "Rhetorical Question" online... :-\

                                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                There sort of is, but once you repeat the same question 3 times 3 ways, people might start to figure that you just don't understand how the world works.

                                                                1. re: tommy

                                                                  So, have you been to Porta? You seemed skeptical about the whole "Gourmet Pizza" thing from the start. I've only been there a couple times for lunch and enjoyed the food in a rather uncrowded setting. They did do a nice pizza and the octopus was good. I do hope they do not lose their initial focus like many AP establishments seem to do.

                                                                  1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                    I took issue with the description as "gourmet." It's Neapolitan-style pizza. This ain't Wolfgang Puck. I loved the pizza. They do a very nice version of Neapolitan-style pizza. And will love the octopus when I can get it. However, they don't offer it during weekend lunches (or at all on weekends?) which pretty much means I'll likely never have it. Shame on them.

                                                                    ETA, regarding AP restaurants, I'm largely impressed with the offerings on the boardwalk. When you compare those restaurants to those on the other jersey shore boardwalks, they are head and shoulders above (but I can appreciate a slice from the Sawmill at 1 am, on the rare occasion these days that I'm still awake or hungry or on the boardwalk at that time) . Destinations in and of themselves? Not to my mind. Have I driven 1+ hours to AP several times and enjoyed them and my time in AP? You betcha. Do I wish the Fastlane still had the type of shows they used to? Absolutely. Wonderstuff/Dramarama in 91 or so. Great bill. Amazing show. Jah Wobble with special surprise guest Sinead O'Connor around the same time. Outstanding. I didn't eat in AP those nights, that's for sure.

                                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                                      AP was a regular stop for many alternative bands in the late 80's and 90's, the days when WHTG 106.3 was THE radio station to listen to.
                                                                      Going back a few more years (OK, many years) saw some great shows by Sly Stone, Temptations and many others. At that time Boardwalk food ruled, dogs, burgers and pork roll.

                                                                      1. re: tom246

                                                                        I guess a useful aspect of the AP economic scene back then was that when stumbling out of the Fastlane at 2:30am most of the nefarious elements who may have caused trouble were forced to commute to other neighboring towns. :-)

                                                                        1. re: tom246

                                                                          You're bringing back memories for me! I grew up in the area in the early 90's and man did I love WHTG 106.3!!!! I was so proud that we had such a great local station. Along with WLIR (later WDRE) 92.7 - for some reason at the shore, I could get the LI station.

                                                              2. re: CatLadyJan

                                                                CatLady, in all fairness, they make a good pie. Maybe have a beer and try it?

                                                                Then again, Massuto's in Wall makes a very similar pie, has a reasonably priced wine list that is more extensive, and isn't kitschy about the glassware.

                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                  I have to tell you......after reading most of these reviews we are going out for a friends birthday Friday night......we wanted a place with good food and a relaxed atmosphere to hang for the night. This was one of the suggestions of the group and I warned against it saying from what I have heard this isn't a sit and chill after dinner type place. Especially if they are going to be having a punk rock band playing on the weekends. Am I correct in my assesment?

                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                    Well, given my limited Sunday early evening experience, I can’t tell you about bands. As for sitting comfortably for a long spell, there’s not a seat in the place that is designed for that.

                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      Jr, the music, if there is a band playing isn't typically punk, but more of someone who's playing the jukebox (i.e. covers) - and it just adds to the noise of the place (if the bay doors are open and you're at the bar). If you're lucky, someone like Glimmer Grass will be playing and that group is very enjoyable (they've played there once or twice). Sitting at the bar is cool (well I find that in most any bar), but you won't be chillin as the place is loud, the bartender may be handing drinks over one of your shoulders as people stand and vye for a seat like a NY'er waiting for a parking space. I still like the place, based on my own set of criteria, but if you're going with a group and want to have a good convo, some laughs etc, Porta isn't the place (as the picnic bench seating doesn't do it either). Go with your group's 2nd or 3rd choice, and visit Porta with your better half as a look see should you not have dined there yet.

                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        There probally won't be a punk band but most likey a DJ. After ten o'clock or so the picnic tables inside are moved out of the way and the once dining area turns into a pretty massive dance floor. The bar will also most likely be very crowded making it not the ideal place to sit and chat.

                                                                        It can be alot of fun if this is the night out you are looking for. As far as being a "relaxed atmosphere" and a good place to "sit and chill after dinner" you may want to look elsewhere.

                                                              3. re: AC Captain

                                                                I'm madly in love with you right now, AC Captain.

                                                          2. Ok well get this one people went there last night arrived at 8:30pm waited about 5/10 minutes to get to speak to a hostess. Once we got to the hostess stand it was 8:40pm we asked how long the wait was going to be for 4 people and we were told the following " We stop seating at 9:30pm and the kitchen closes at 10pm our wait exceeds the 9:30pm last seating so we are not taking any more names". We were told we could try the outside which is first come first serve and pizza only. Between the chill in the air, the party look of the crowd out there and pizza only we decided to pass on Porta for the night.

                                                            I've got to say besides some NY City night clubs back in the day I don't ever recall being turned away from a place at the door like that.

                                                            1. Ok just like the over grown child I am when someone tells me no it just makes me want something more.....so with that said and my prior post of my experience Saturday night I am here for lunch!

                                                              I got the Italian Stallion pie which was delicious. The Gorgonzola Cheese gives it a very distinct flavor and the crust is an awesome chrisp charred but yet not burned. Very good! My friend had the meatball sandwhich which was very good but over powered a bit by the Italian long hot peppers.

                                                              My one criticism.........holy flies!!! We have been swatting and waiving at these pesky guys the entire time here. Don't know if it's the time of day, year or what but I find it rather annoying to say the least. Not annoying enough to stop me from coming back though!

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                Jredivici, I am so glad you went back! Porta is one of my favorite places! I am more interested in good, really good food, than ambience. Fortunately, we have yet to experience the fly problem, or the wait staff problem. However, either one woud not stop me from going to Porta on a very regular basis. I am just trying to remember to go for their Sunday brunch, rather than my too frequent pizza!
                                                                I have enjoyed reading your posts, and was dissapointed in your missing out on such a great eatery, and was really glad you acted as an "over grown child" and got your just rewards... a delcious meal at Porta!

                                                                1. re: EL7

                                                                  EL7, you DO have to get there for brunch. For the lemon ricotta pancakes. O.M.G.

                                                                  And if you like them, the bloody mary is fantastic too--they make their own mix each day.

                                                                  1. re: EL7

                                                                    Thanks for the nice words regarding my post(s) EL7 !!! If you think this stuff is funny/good you should see what I post on subscription sites!! I can't give my "A" material away here for free!! (Dear Mod's this is a complete lie I don't belong to any subscription sites and this is actually my "A" material)

                                                                    I will definitely go back to Porta....the crust/dough is what impressed me the most. Not typical for pizza or wood/coal/brick oven that I have had before. Regarding the fly situation I'm sure it had something to do with the day/afternoon.....maybe the cooling temps brought them inside for the warmth.......but I'm sure it had to be a rare event since nobody else has mentioned it and it was pretty bad.

                                                                    I didn't mean to insinuate anywhere that I had a problem with the wait staff.......I was just amazed at the wait on a Saturday night and I have never been turned away from a restaurant an hour and a half prior to the kitchen closing!! That blew my mind....but also made me want to get back there A.S.A.P.......but I in now way meant this experience to be critical of the wait staff or hostess's.

                                                                    If you do try Copper Canyon....go with the steak!!

                                                                    1. re: EL7

                                                                      Had a free hall pass (actually my wife went to a coworker daughter's wedding). Comment: This pie tastes far better (is delicious) on the 'reheat' than it does coming out. The charring is more obvious in taste, the mozz gets a bit more gooey (which is strange as I think they're moving so many pies, some of them are a bit undercooked). Just finished two slices of margharita - and it confirms my view on this pie each time I eat there

                                                                      The Rustica appy (seared scallop with mushroom farro risotto) was good. Walked right in through the patio to the rear bar and found myself a stool (without a wait) - watched the NL wildcard game and they still have Summer Shandy's on tap. This, after walking out of Vics (as the bar was full and not being able to watch the game with a small pie w/sausage-peppers) and driving through the jammed parking lot of P&E's (<<< I really didn't want to have their pie, but sitting at the bar and having a bar pie isn't the worst thing in the world).

                                                                  2. Porta has reopened with a limited menu...

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Curlz

                                                                      Porta! Went there last night, so grateful it survived! They had pizza only, and it went great with our beers! It was very crowded and very welcome!

                                                                    2. Porta continues to impress with dishes that would be at home at more "refined" restaurants. Last night I tried a new one called Big Money which was corzetti pasta (think open face ravioli) with shrimp, crab (large chunks), corn, cream, thyme and chives. This dish was sublime and every last remnant of sauce was cleaned up with whatever bread was available. I would make a special trip back just for that dish.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bgut1

                                                                        That sounds great, bgut. The Mrs, was talkin' abouy goin' back there early next week. Now, I know what I wanna try.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                          I hope you enjoy it MGZ. Please report back if you go.

                                                                      2. Congrats to Porta on the "excellent" review in the NYT.


                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bgut1

                                                                          Thanks for the heads-up on this, bgut! I have mixed feelings about it because that's MY octopus...not sure I want all of the readers of the NYT Dining Section to know about it! :-)

                                                                          And thank goodness she didn't mention my favorite drink--I'd hate for them to run out of Amaro!

                                                                          1. re: Curlz

                                                                            I know Curlz. Now everyone knows!! Lol.

                                                                            1. re: bgut1

                                                                              Nah, the Yelp folks will take months to figure it out.

                                                                                1. re: Curlz

                                                                                  Some guys, get to wear pinstripes and buy winter homes in Tampa. Some guys, have to settle for playin in Lakewood and livin' in Mom's basement.

                                                                        2. Porta was featured on WABC last night in their "Neighborhood Eats" segment:

                                                                          No, they don't pay me. I just LOVE. THIS. PLACE. :-)

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Curlz

                                                                            Me too, ate there Thursday and again last night outside, Octopus with a side of meatballs, a Jimmy for my. Cocktail, gin, muddled cucumber and lemon pellegrino.
                                                                            Walked right into the outdoor section at about 7 as someone was leaving a table. Worked out great. Right after the NYT article the wait inside was 2 hrs

                                                                            1. re: roro1831

                                                                              The wait has always been that long.

                                                                              1. re: bgut1

                                                                                I've never had to wait that long