When one thinks of gourmet five star restaurant locations, East Ridge is not exactly the first area that comes to mind. However, the “five star” label is not required to still taste like a five star restaurant. Sometimes the least fancy restaurants taste the best, as well as have the best service.
To elaborate, Portofinos may just be the best restaurant I have ever been to. Staying the night with a friend that lives in East Ridge, we decided that we were hungry and that a stop at McDonalds was not going to cut it. My friend’s family has been going to Portofino’s for many years, as they live literally right around the corner, so they knew exactly where they wanted to go. Standing across the street, the area actually looks slightly ominous: long blinds over the windows, a tricky entrance into the parking lot, a very small building, etc. Going in, I was expecting average food and average service. However, the service was beyond impeccable. And the actual food? That was beyond impeccable.
At Portofino’s, you can either order from the menu, or you can go to the salad, pizza, and dessert bar. The first time I went, I just went to the bar so I could try a little bit of everything. My friend’s brother got a calzone, which also looked amazing. My first round through the bar I got two simple slices of cheese pizza. Noticing how good it was, I branched out and tried the other toppings as well. Usually when you go to an “Italian place,” it isn’t actually Italian: it’s ordered food from a truck that tastes like makeshift Italian. However, at Portofino’s, it’s made right in the kitchen, and it shows. The bread is doughy, but the crust is crispy; the sauce has all of the flavors of authentic tomato sauce; the cheese is perfectly melted. Along with the perfect pizza, they also have amazing homemade salad dressings, as well as phenomenal desserts. My favorite happens to be the tapioca pudding. I have gone many times since that first time, and it seems to get better each time.
Not only is the food good, but the deals are too. For example, the last time I went, I got a small pizza. When you order any pizza with any toppings, you get a free pizza of the same size. That is highly convenient because you can eat it for your next meal or the next day. It even comes in a really cute pizza box.
Overall, Portofinos is one of those places that you don’t expect to have your favorite food. As mentioned above, I didn’t expect the great food and service that I actually got. Some of those places you’d never think to go to, you should actually try. They might be the best ones.