If you are looking for an authentic Italian restaurant that satisfies your craving for tasty cuisine and fine wine without emptying your wallet, Portofino Cucina Italiana may be the place for you. The restaurant’s menu is composed of several options ranging from pasta dishes, chicken, seafood, beef and vegetarian entrees, paninis, salads, soups and even gluten-free dishes. The food is developed with an abundance of flavorful combinations that are sure to be rewarding to the palette.
The owner and executive chief, Diego Ortoli, is an Italian native from Naples and successfully infuses his culture into the restaurant. Ortoli orders buffalo mozzarella cheese from Naples and cannolis from Sicily to provide guests with genuine Italian flavors, and his passion for Italian cuisine is reflected in his delightful dishes and wine selection. Ortoli is “excited to be in business in downtown Los Angeles” and says, “It’s been a pleasure to see the area evolve and improve.”
Some of Portofino Cucina Italiana’s menu items I find most appealing are the Fiori di zucca appetizer that is described as a “zucchini blossom stuffed with mozzarella and parmesan cheese served with spicy arrabiata sauce,” the Fettuccine alla Piemontese that is made with “long flat pasta with mushrooms and herbs in a creamy white wine sauce finished with parmesan cheese and white truffle oil” and the Panino Parma served with “Imported prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, fontina cheese and arugula.” Even the gluten-free menu has decadent pastas and paninis to choose from.
The drink menu is also a nice compliment to the meals served; with a generous selection of red, white and dessert wines from Italy, lovers of vino will feel like they are in a candy store. For those that prefer beer, Italian lagers are also available including Oro Milano /Puro Malto Lager and Peroni Nastro Azzurro Lager. So, cheers to an assortment of flavorful Italian dishes paired with your favorite (or new favorite) Italian beverage.
Additionally, the cozy environment is ideal for an intimate date spot or a fun gathering with friends. It’s hard to go wrong with good company and gourmet cuisine.
For special occasions, the tasting menu for two may be worth exploring. Each couple can select the dish of their choice from from five categories including salads, appetizers, pastas, entrees and desserts. Additionally, two glasses of champagne are included to help celebrate the evening.
The service staff is knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. If you want to make a reservation before your visit, you can submit your request online.
In addition to street parking, there are several parking spots nearby including Joe’s 416 Auto Park on 416 S. Main Street, Joe’s 433 Auto Park on 433 S. Main Street, Joe’s 558 Parking on 558 S. Main Street and Los Angeles and Garage Associates Public Parking/Five Star Parking on 545 S. Main Street. Another affordable option would be to take the L.A. Metro; this way, you won’t have to worry about fighting L.A. traffic or paying for parking.
Also, be sure to check out Portofino Cucina Italiana’s take-out and delivery services. You can enjoy delicious Italian food in the comfort of your own home.
For an outing that provides fresh Italian cuisine, a friendly environment and a fun ambiance at reasonable prices, Portofino Cucina Italiana has you covered. This place will definitely be on my list of downtown restaurants to revisit.
By Stacy Brecht