Restaurant Review: Portofino Trattoria
March 24, 2017
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Exuding a cozy ambiance and serving classic Italian food, Portofino Trattoria is a family restaurant with excellent customer service and tasty pasta. Offering authentic Italian food from pizza to soup, the brightly lit restaurant serves up an experience that is difficult to find elsewhere.
Located in Brea, Portofino Trattoria is clearly a family business, with its staff cheerfully bustling from table to table as they would in their own kitchen. The waiters were extremely welcoming and helpful, and brightened up the atmosphere as much as the artsy European paintings hung on the wall.
The store was extremely crowded on a Friday night, with almost every table occupied by families. Although the restaurant is incredibly small, it seemed more cozy than crowded, and the staff was more than accommodating in ensuring everyone’s comfort.
Offering a large variety of Italian food, the restaurant serves calzones, pasta, grilled meats simmering in sauces, cheesy appetizers and creamy desserts. After much inner debate, I ordered the Melanzane Parmigiana for $12.99, a fried breaded eggplant covered in mozzarella and marinara sauce dish, while my dad ordered the Linguine Alle Vongole for $13.99, a seafood pasta with clams, parsley, sauce and garlic.
The food arrived fairly quickly and did not disappoint. The Linguine Alle Vongole was not too overwhelming and flavorful, but accentuated the taste of the clams and garlic. With some salt and pepper to taste, the pasta was enjoyable, with tender clams and well-seasoned linguini noodles. While not extremely fancy or mind-blowing, the simple pasta allowed for a light meal without compromising quality.
My Melanzane Parmigiana was also absolutely delicious. Served with grilled vegetables and a small serving of tomato penne pasta, the fried eggplant was light and crispy without feeling oily, and the mozzarella and tomato sauce paired perfectly with the taste of the eggplant. The vegetarian plate was filling without feeling fattening, with the penne noodles in tomato marinara being particularly appetizing. The meal was by far my favorite between the two, and guaranteed a return to the restaurant.
Unwilling to have our Portofino Trattoria experience come to an end, we decided to order a dessert of Spumoni ice cream for $3.99. Much like Neopolitan ice cream, the Spumoni combined chocolate, pistachio and cherry ice cream. The dessert was surprisingly good, with the flavors mixing in a unique way. While on the sweeter side, the combination of cherry, chocolate and nuts was definitely a must try for those looking for an unusual Italian dessert.
While a bit expensive for the average group of high school friends, Portofino Trattoria is great for a family dinner out. With amazing Italian cuisine and a friendly family environment, the hidden little shop in Brea will soon become a regular restaurant for me and my family.