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“Wonderful Experience! Delightful Dinner!”
Review of Portabella

Portabella
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Ranked #3 of 152 Restaurants in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$20 - US$40
Cuisines: Mediterranean
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Child-friendly, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, After-hours, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: In Italian, PortaBella means beautiful door. In Carmel, it's a threshold well worth crossing. During the day, passerby on Ocean Avenue are lured in by the sight of diners happily engaged in food and conversation on the picturesque flagstone patio. At night, heady aromas and laughter waft innocuously out the famed front door each time it is opened. Once inside, you're instantly transported to the sun countries of the Mediterranean with "La Cuisine du Soleil." Inspired by regional dishes, the menu takes you on a gustatory tour of Italy, Southern France and Spain, complemented by a wine list offering an excellent selection of California wines. Vegetarian options are available.
Reviewed 30 March 2018

On Wednesday night, we went to Portabella restaurant in Carmel to celebrate one of our friend's birthday. We had a pleasant dining experience with food of the most exquisite flavors.The employees went above and beyond to welcome us. We were seated immediately and our server was kind, friendly and helpful. The main course consisted of a lemon garlic rosemary chicken and Linguine ai Frutti di Mare which really thrilled us. It was followed by delicious sorbet and rosewater crème brûlée. All the dishes had the warmth of homemade food. The owner of the restaurant and one of the employees played a beautiful song for my friend. My friend was very pleased to have such a great birthday experience. We would highly recommend Portabella to future guests. We can't wait to return!

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank ozdenmatsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 March 2018 via mobile

We had dinner here as it was highly recommended on TripAdvisor so figured we couldn't go wrong. We thought the pictures and reviews suggested more of an Italian restaurant so we were somewhat surprised when there weren't more Italian dishes on the menu. We landed on filet and lamb for our dishes and some nice red wine. However the filet ordered medium was rare and unfortunately had to be sent back...the lamb was delicious and when the filet came back out...it was still rare despite being cooked a bit longer. After round 2 of a disappointing attempt by the kitchen to reprieve itself, we opted to just send it back and not order anything else. The waiters appreciated our disappointment and within no time the owner arrived to explain the issue with the oven and potential reason for the filet being under cooked. The owner was incredibly apologetic and offered a few times to make something else. He was engaging and thoughtful. He talked with us about our trip, the area, his other restaurant we had visited ironically the night before and just made it a point to express the pride he took in his work. He brought us a dessert on the house, offered us more wine and again did everything he could to make up for the bad meal. When the bill came we realized not only had the filet been taken off but so had the lamb and we were only charged for our wine and a soup we started with. So although the kitchen has a huge fail that night, the owner and his outstanding customer service made up for what could have been a horrible experience. We left still feeling appreciated despite this one mishap. Definitely an A+ from the owner and something he didn't need to do. Food was not stellar but the overall experience ended up being more than we expected for sure.

Thank travelingqueen9207
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2018 via mobile

Our first night in town, we made a reservation for dinner. We were encouraged to pick our preferred table. Nice touch. The staff is exceptional, very friendly, and accommodating. I must say, the crab bisque is the best I’ve ever had! The beet salad was refreshing and tasty. Like no other beet salad I’ve had. For an entree, we shared the pasta carbonara. It was so damn good! Generous portions, nice wine selection and a complementary desert and port wine to finish us off. Totally recommend this spot!

1  Thank goodtripcs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2018

My daughter and I had dinner here. The food was excellent! I had the mushroom risotto, which was prepared perfectly. My daughter had the pasta bolognese. We started out with the crab bisque. The only problem we had is that we could not finish our meal as we ordered too much food. Sadly, we did not get to order dessert. The service with impeccable.

1  Thank Dawn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2018

We had dinner here on our first night in Carmel. It was a cool and rainy evening and were so happy to get a cozy table for two nestled in the restaurant. The restaurant has an old-world style to it, with arched doorways and tiled floors - it is small and very welcoming. If it was warmer, we would have liked to have sat on the patio that is in the front overlooking the street, surrounded by flowers and other potted plants. Very welcoming as well.

I cannot say enough good things about the service at this restaurant. The staff are incredible - the Manager came over to check on us at least three times, as did the host -both individuals were so nice. Our server was also great - quick with our orders, attentive, etc.

The food here is good. WE started with the grilled octopus, which I would highly recommend and my husband had the tuna tartare, which he really enjoyed - it comes with wavy chips and a wasbi mayo. He had no complaints other than it was a large portion for one and filled him up quite a bit. Our mains were great - my husband had the pasta alla carbonara and I had the linguine al fruitti de mare. Both pastas were good, but the servings are very big for one person. The carbonara was quite heavy and had a strong mushroom presence. We did not get desert, but had decaf cappuccinos to complete our meal.

I would definitely recommend this place and would go again.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Kathryn R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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