Portobello Offers Horrific Happy Hour, to Close For Lengthy Refurbishment

I’ve reviewed Portobello, the Italian restaurant at Disney Springs, more than any other site I would think.

Historically, I’ve been a big fan of their lunch menu, when no entree or pizza comes in over $15. But with so many more options at Disney Springs now available, including much better pizza at Blaze for similar money, and lots of other quick service and bar options, I see no reason to visit Portobello. And Levy Restaurants must agree as the restaurant will close at the end of business on April 23rd with a planned reopening of sometime “this fall.” With the delays that have plagued many restaurant openings, that probably means spring 2018 at best. It’s anticipated that Portobello will move to a family-style menu with an “authentic Italian concept.” In other words, they’re creating Buca di Beppo.

Since you probably weren’t planning on visiting the restaurant in the next two weeks anyway, I won’t regurgitate past reviews. If you’re interested in what the restaurant offers/offered, this lunch review summarizes it pretty well.

Portobello currently offers happy hour twice daily on Mondays-Thursdays and just during the afternoon on Fridays.

As stipulated.

Mange-y is going to turn out to be pretty accurate on the pizza. A handful of other items are available, in addition to three wine choices.

Having enjoyed the Quattro Formaggi pizza at Via Napoli every time, we decided to try it at Portobello. This was a mistake.

The texture was like if you got a piece of cardboard really, really wet, then tried to slide an oversize piece of chewing gum through the center of it, then drizzled the top with a bottle of olive oil for good measure. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was no actual cheese involved and Quattro Formaggi is really Serbian for “Don’t order this are you dumb.” We also learned at the end of the meal that Tables in Wonderland isn’t accepted on happy hour items, so our savings on ordering this pizza at the bar late at night was 60 cents. “Josh you have the best job.”

Nonna’s Meatball(s), which I would feel bad about taking away from her if it wasn’t so disgusting, was the highlight of the meal. Buoyed by two stale pieces of pulpy bruschetta and on top of more mushy paper product masquerading around as polenta, the meat masses were tender and nicely spiced.

The wines served are garbage. I’ll drink almost anything – 1.5L bottles of Woodbridge from Walgreen’s are my go-to, but this tasted like grape juice dirt. The pour is also pretty lousy on a $10 bottle.

A heavier pour on the white wine either because the bartender wasn’t paying attention or felt sorry for us. Considering neither knew who the head chef was, I’m not sure I’m willing to assign credit.

Ordering off the Happy Hour menu also precludes you from receiving their bread, oil, and garlic.

We were interested in trying the $8 “Biramisu – Our version of tiramisu. Orlando Brewing organic porter, ladyfingers and mascarpone cream.”

This indulgent dessert, the recipe for which you can find here, was actually really good. It was extraordinarily creamy with a rich sweetness from the caramel showing through in the beer reduction and the mascarpone cheese that’s sweetened up with even more sugar. The ladyfingers held up nicely against all of the other ingredients.

Overall, you don’t want to go to Happy Hour at Portobello. The atmosphere in the bar isn’t great, the food selection is limited, and the pizza is far better at Blaze. But, I mean, you weren’t going to anyway.

Comments

  1. BuffaloJim says

    Normally, I’d try and defend Portobello by saying that it’s been a reasonably priced place to schlep your family of seven to. Plus everyone always seems to find something they’re actually willing to eat, no easy feat in my family. But since that would apparently just embarrass me and expose my rather pedestrian taste buds to ridicule, I’ll just let your review do all the talking.

  2. ElisaK says

    Portobello used to be a family favorite, last two visits the service was atrocious…..we won’t be returning.

  3. Boo says

    Such a shame – we used to love Portobello but thought it started going downhill a few years ago. I think last time we went was about 4 years ago – they had removed our favourite pasta and clam dish from the menu and what we had wasn’t good so we decided not to go back. Hopefully a revamp can get them up to scratch again.

  4. Ghenghy says

    We went there on our first visit to WDW years ago and we really liked it, the quality was decent and the prices surprisingly reasonable. That said, with each subsequent visit over the years, we noticed the quality going down until the point we finally decided never to return. Hopefully the revamp will bring it back up to snuff.

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