Florida Guide > Dining
When Pleasure Island opened its doors for business in 1989 one of the original restaurants that were a part of the area was the Portobello Yacht Club. The restaurant was Italian in style and tried to convey the atmosphere of an up market authentic location that you would find near a yachting location. The décor and to some extent the menu tried to reflect this and the restaurant become poplar location.
In 2008 the restaurant had a makeover and was renamed the Portobello Restaurant. This makeover included some changes to the internal and external decorations, the addition and reworking of some of the eating areas and the addition of a new Meatball and Beer bar.
The rest of this review will deal only with the new revised location and menu but first a couple of tips. This restaurant is one of a number in the area that are not run by Disney. In this general location you can also find Fulton' s Crab House and the Wolfgang Puck Café. They are all owned and run by Levy Restaurants who have many restaurants in large cities across the United States. I mention this because unlike Disney they have a loyalty card scheme which means that you can build up points which can be taken off the cost of a future meal. This only works if you visit the U. S. on a regular basis but does mean that you effectively get about one meal in six for nothing.
The next tip is that this location is fairly quite for most lunch and afternoon periods but does get very busy at night. So if you fancy trying it out then a late lunch does not need to be booked but you should make a reservation ahead for the evening to possibly save yourself a long wait.
There are four main seating areas in the restaurant each with a different feeling. Straight ahead when you enter is one half of the main dining area, this is just tables with a view of the bar and kitchen area. The other half the left is I feel nicer as it has a few booths and nooks and generally feels a bit more intimate. There are also two outside areas, one at the front and one down the side of the restaurant. I think the one at the front is two open unless you like everyone looking at you while they pass by. The side area is the place we often go as it looks out onto the lagoon area. This used to have a walk way round the lagoon but this has now been removed. We enjoyed using this area in the afternoon but find that the insects can be a problem at night.
The menu offers a reasonable number of choices and stays away from most of the items you find in ‘Italian chains’. While you are selecting your dishes the bread arrives, this is not just bread but freshly cooked with a whole roast garlic. If you have never tried this then you are in for a treat when you layer soft garlic cloves onto the bread.
It is impossible to say what is best in each course as everyone has different tastes but I will point out a few highlights that I think are worth considering.
The Crostini sampler has two samples one with ricotta and honey and the other with oven dried tomato. The house Pizza is cooked on a wood burning oven and is paper thin, this really is only an appetiser course. There are four standard ones but you can add or remove items if you want.
One of my favourites is the Black linguine with Florida rock shrimp. The only warning I would give is that you need to then spend the next twelve hours on your own. The garlic flavour in the meal is subtle but the smell does seem to last a long time. I also find the Bucatini and Chicken FarFalle to be very good. They also do a local catch of the day baked in a cartoccio style.
You will do no better for your dessert than to try their authentic Italian Gelato but if you want something heavier then try the Chocolate Paradise cake with toffee crunch will fill any gap you have left.
Finally make sure you leave room for a coffee, all the Italian styles are offered and none will disappoint.
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