The last time I visited Portofino in Italy, the voyage involved a boat ride from Ravello. Thankfully this time the journey was far nearer to home – arriving by car at Portofino, the Italian themed but Turkish run, restaurant in Harrogate.
Having endured a very disappointing dining experience the last time we ate out in Harrogate at a different Italian restaurant, I am pleased to say that our visit to Portofino was first-class and made a much-welcome change.
With the unique voice of Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti drifting in the background as we entered the restaurant, the atmosphere was perfectly set. The genuine welcome from the restaurant manager Mahoo made us feel that our custom was appreciated. His enthusiasm, attention to detail and first-class service added to the dining experience with the same welcome generously bestowed on our fellow diners.
The restaurant stands alongside a well-known pizza restaurant chain – which was almost empty on an early Sunday night whilst Portofino was buzzing with hungry diners who obviously knew that the 14-inch pizzas were the best value for money in Harrogate.
All pizzas are priced at £10.95 whether you opt for a basic margherita or go for something more exotic such as a Hawaiian or Mediterranean pizza. The happy hour deal I thought was exceptional value, a two-course meal is priced at £12.95 all day Monday to Thursday and up to 5pm Friday to Sunday.
Cheap does not have to mean forfeiting quality. My pepperoni pizza was just as good if not better than any pizza I have tried in Italy (and I have eaten a lot!) Served on a good base the hot pepperoni was ideally complemented by some seriously tasty cheese.
Un dolce finale
My sister went for the vegetarian pizza which was topped with onions, peppers, mushrooms and aubergines. Described as superb and one of the best vegetarian pizzas she has ever tried.
If you do not fancy a pizza there are also chicken dishes, steaks, fish and hamburger options on the menu. With portions being on the generous side you might not have enough room for dessert – the warm apple pie (£6.95) came with just enough cinnamon to give it an extra kick, encased with crisp sweet pastry it rounded off a good meal.
Portofino have a good wine list with Italian beers that seemed to be popular with other diners.
Excellent food, great service and good value for money – save yourself the airfare to Italy and discover the other Portofino – in Harrogate.
Portofino, 2-4 Albert Street, Harrogate HG1 1 JG