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Portofino's - Tinton Falls

Has anyone been to Portofino's recently? A friend of a friend suggested we try it because the food is great, but I don't know anything about it and the last post on this site was dated 2008. We're looking for something new in the area: one of our favorites is Via 45, but we can't always get a reservation on a Sat night. We've been Buena Sera, Nicholas, Salt Creek Grill, La Fromagerie, Char, Catherine's....
Any comments would be very much appreciated. Thanks chowhounders!

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  1. I have not been there recently, however I have live very close to Portofino's and I know many people who go and swear by their food.

    Although I haven't been recently when I have went the food is in fact very good. It's just a bit to small and "close" for my personal comfort. Not too sure what success you will have getting last minute reservations there on a Sat. night, they seem pretty packed most weekends.

    1. Thanks for your response jrvedivici. I looked at their website photos and can see that it's a bit "close." Do you have any suggestions for another place? i always enjoy reading your comments and respect your judgement.

      2 Replies
      1. re: basil4me

        Please keep this in mind, I'm 6'4 and 300+lbs, so I take up a bit more room than most. I wouldn't want to discourage you from trying it just based on my personal preference for more elbow room.

        Two places close to Salt Creek (since you mentioned it) are Undici and Giorgia. Undici is the same owners as Basil T's in Red Bank so the food/menu is very similar, without the micro brew thing going on. Giorgia is a BYOB directly across the street from Fromagerie and is a pretty solid place, worth a try. I've been three times and haven't had a bad meal, definitely need a reservation on a Sat. night at both of those locations.

        Once place I would strongly recommend and is mentioned in many threads on this site would be Jimmy's in Asbury Park for EXCELLENT Italian food. It's not the fanciest place in the world, but the food is constantly excellent. (I was just there Sat. night).

        Another place I have loved over the years, and has an awesome ambiance about it, is The Raven and Peach in Fair Haven. I have to be honest, this has been my favorite restaurant in the area for 15+ years, however my last few times there have been a little disappointing and I'm putting them on the back burner for awhile. It's still a great place but going through an awkward phase.

        Those are my best suggestions for the area. Hope you find it useful and enjoy!

        1. re: jrvedivici

          Thanks so much! We went to Undici a few times last year and enjoyed eating at the bar, but they ticked off my other half when they charged a ridiculous price for their "Sunday Gravy" so we stopped going there :)

          Jimmy's was our "first date" spot and I've been thinking about going back, so I'll make a reservation. We had a great meal there. We'll give Portofino a try & I'll post.

      2. What about Mossuto's in Wall?



        I LOVE this place. The pizza is amazing, the veal dishes are so good as well as the pasta dishes! Yum...so happy we found this place. The wine list is great and it won't kill you either.

        Definitely check it out if you can! :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Angelina

          Thanks for the tip Angelina. My other half absolutely loves thin crust pizza, we'll have to give this a try.

        2. All of the spots you mention in your post are in the Red Bank/Rumson area, so I will give you two suggestions in that area:
          1) http://www.monticelloatredbank.com/in... (BYOB
          )2) http://www.rednj.com/
          Neither are new, but have been solid performers over the years.
          Outside the Red Bank area is:
          3) http://www.bayshorebistro.com/ (BYOB
          )New building after Hurricane Sandy, and food is always seasonally creative, delicious, and affordable.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cke25

            Thank you for your suggestions, all three look great. A friend had mentioned Monticello and i forgot about it. We will definately give it a try!

            1. We had dinner at Portofino's this past Sat. night and wanted to share my thoughts. The dining room is small, but the service was courteous and attentive.

              They had a nice selection of dishes and some great specials. We shared an appetizer special; Pear with Gorgonzola sauce and walnuts. It was very tasty. My boyfriend had the lamb chops - nice portion served with Broccoli Rabe and green beans. I had the tilapia special served with capers, olives and a light broth which was also very good. They gave me a nice sized portion. We skipped dessert but had double espressos and they were also very good. The coffee was served hot, which many times comes out warm which I can't stand. Good espresso must be served hot!

              Overall the food was great but the place is missing something?? Can't quite decide if it's because the dining room consists of 1 small room? It lacks a bit of charm - but overall a nice place to have a good meal.

              2 Replies
              1. re: basil4me

                Excellent review and right along my feelings of the place. I assume you ate on the first floor, there is a second floor I have never dined up there however I'm going to try again soon and request a table there and see if that makes a difference.

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  We did eat on the first floor and didn't know they have a 2nd. Please post and let us know if there's a bit more charm up there:)

              2. Decided to give Portonfino's another try......mostly at the urging of my daughter who after years of my explaining that this place was never of my particular liking, she still insists on experiencing it for herself. (see my review of burger night at Fromagerie)

                Anyway the place hasn't changes since the last time I stepped foot in it 10+- years ago. I was hoping the 2nd floor would be open for dining but it wasn't so we were seated at a table on the first floor, the first table when you walk into the dining room. (you will see my reason for pointing this out momentarily) The downstairs dining room was not even half full; this was on a Friday night. The waitress came over took our drink order brought a basket of excellent Italian bread and told us the specials. The service is certainly a plus here.

                The drinks came and we placed our order 1 fresh stuffed mozzarella and prosciutto platter and one pasta fagiole for appetizers. Entree's were one angel hair pomadoro, broccoli rabe sausage and linguine, chicken milanese and risotto with spinach and shrimp. App's came after an appropriate wait, the mozzarella was good as was the prociutto, not allot of skill involved in the prep of that dish, the pasta fagiole was not to my liking. I'm not going to sit here and say it was bad, because it wasn't, it just wasn't like most pasta fagiole's I’m use to. Most are a tomato based broth; this was more similar to a lentil soup with the pasta and beans. Not to my liking but not bad just different.

                There was a table of 5 - a family, 2 parents and their 3 boys at the complete opposite end of the restaurant. As far as possible be given the dining room configuration. By the time our appetizers were finished my daughter knew the boy's names, the fact the parents are a 2nd marriage and there is a daughter (or two) that weren't with them that night. The room is very small and the ceilings are rather low, and voices travel. Across the dining room a nosey 19 year old girl was able to pick up their entire conversation, as well as the table next to the family as well. Apparently at that table, which was a younger couple, the girl was as a stripper and they were on their first date. (Not sure if she over-heard the stripper portion of if that was just my daughters observational commentary. Hey strippers have to eat too!) I tend to block out background "chatter" but once she pointed it out I did pay attention and yes, you can pretty much hear any conversation at any table if you pay enough attention to do so. I stopped talking at this point in the evening.

                Entree's came.....rissotto (wife) was very good. angel hair pomodoro (daughter) very good, chicken milanese good but the chicken didn't seem like the breadcrumbs were seasoned rather bland, sausage and broccoli rabe dish the broccoli rabe was too overbearing. Yes, broccoli rabe is bitter, but it shouldn't dominate the dish it should be used a bit more discretely than it was on this dish, it left you puckered up it was so bitter.

                No desert.

                Not a bad evening at all.....I still don't care for the small dining room.....the food is not bad and for a menu with pasta dishes starting at $15. not a bad value either, especially considering the excellent service. But will I go back......well as my daughter said "Ok I see why you don't come here". Do they ever learn to just take our words for thins?

                Interesting side note on their online menu there is an entire pizza section which does not exist on their dinner menu.

                10 Replies
                1. re: jrvedivici

                  Thanks for your write up jrvedivici ( i always have trouble with your name so I'm going to call you Jerry). Your comments always make me smile. So, it's about 12 months since my visit to Portofino and I see that nothing's changed. The food is good, but the room leaves alot to be desired. The noise level wasn't too bad the night that we were there, but i felt a bit cramped in there.

                  My husband and I were just commenting about the noise levels at restaurants - just horrible. There is an interesting thread on the subject on the Main Board. Anyway, we decided to have dinner at Mara's on Sat night. Their piano player just happened to be our musician at our wedding and we wanted to pay another visit. The food was fantastic, but so sad to see that there were only 3 tables all night. We arrived at little bit after 6:30 and ended up chatting the night away til about 10 pm. We had the entire dining room to ourselves! I'm not sure how they survive, but it breaks my heart to see such a beautiful room, such delicious food and no clientele.

                  1. re: basil4me

                    Mara's on 35 South Amboy? I have yet to be there, but I had gone to Atlantic Grill (?) a previous incarnation at that location and it was good as well, but only lasted a year or so. I think that location is just too out of the way.......I don't think the local surroundings will support a fine dining restaurant, and I don't think anyone thinks of traveling there. It's a shame...but I doubt Mara's will last. What became of the property auction, do you know?

                    To me that would be an excellent location for an MJ's type brand. (God knows I fail to see the draw of that place, but I think that's what would be better suited for there)

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      Hi Jrv! Can you comment in my post in the Caribbean section? It's on Auba, and I know you go there a lot!! I like your reviews, as always! Thanks

                      1. re: Angelina

                        I'll go check it out, my tickets have been booked awhile now back on the 16th of Nov!!

                      2. re: jrvedivici

                        I don't know what became of the property but you're absolutely right about the location. It's not very desirable, but there are other restaurants on 35 and they seem to have tons of people. We drove passed a Rodizio place not far from Mara's and the parking lot was packed.

                        I truly wish them the best. If they could uproot the building and locate it anywhere else they would probably pack the house every night.

                    2. re: jrvedivici

                      "Not sure if she over-heard the stripper portion of if that was just my daughters observational commentary."

                      Maybe they simply work together? You know, that RBC education paying off?

                      1. re: MGZ

                        OUCH!!!! Dam.....I'd hate to see what would happen if I were on your bad side!! Or maybe I am!?!?!

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          C'mon. What's the harm in planting such a seed in a father's head, right? Probably don't want to get caught looking through her purse for a bunch of singles though.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            She told me the lady she baby sit's for pays her in spare lunch money she has laying around!! Uggghhhhh And she wanted me to take her shopping for a B'mer for her next car!?!?!?!

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              Don't panic 'til she starts dotting her i's with those little, blue hearts . . . .