Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Portofino Restaurant - Crystal City (Arlington) VA

526 23RD St S, Arlington, VA 22202-2518
(703) 979-8200

(Please check our updated review from April 2014 here.)

At The Portofino, I felt like I could be anywhere in Italy.  The menu, the ambiance, the ingredients, the service, the wine list, the preparation and most of all the taste took me right back to Parma.  There is a reason the Portofino has been in Crystal City for over 40 years—it is about as authentic as you can get without a passport.  Some of the wait staff have been there for 20+ years.

We went to the Portofino for Elena’s “Date Night” selection.  She obviously was playing into my likes and the restaurant did not disappoint.   Elena requested Angelhair Arrabiata, but if you search their menu on their website you’ll see that it is not even listed.  This is one of the many charms of the Portofino.  They are very accommodating.  Served with a glass of Prosecco and a soup appetizer, the meal was enjoyable.  Bill had the Caprese salad (nothing special) followed by the Cotoletta alla Parmigiana.  The veal was tender, tasty and fresh.  Served with a side of spaghetti, the meal was satisfying and delicious.  The accompanying bread was freshly baked on site with the skill of Italian bakers.  Crusty on the outside and soft and fresh on the inside and served with a plate of extra virgin olive oil was a perfect accompaniment.  The one slight disappointment to the meal was the tiramisu.  It just seemed ordinary and tasted store-bought.  

Crystal City has some gems and the Portofino is certainly one of them.  If you feel like spending a meal in Italy, but don’t feel like dealing with TSA pat-downs, the Portofino is a good substitute.

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