Portobello Vegan Trattoria

Portland, Oregon

Reviews

Image for Jeff Johnson

rating star

We had an outstanding dinner here!

You have to try the beet tartare and the pizza arrabiata. Both were excellent.

The gnocchi was very good - gnocchi should be like little clouds and these were a bit dense. The delicious tomato and basil sauce made up for it, though.

I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed with the portobello steak. I was hoping the demi glacé would have been richer and more flavorful and that there was more depth to the flavor of the mushroom.

I want that beet tartare right now! Soooo good!


rating star

the food is good,the cocktails are interesting, the wait staff have attitude. The real problem is getting a table. Call for reservations. You will be pleased with food and drink.


rating star

The sunday brunch was great! I can;t say enough good about about it. However, the dinner menu is a little too gourmet for my tastes.


rating star

We've gone to Portobellos multiple times. It seems like every time we go there we come to two conclusions. 1. The food is awesome. 2. The wait staff are rude. It's getting to the point that we would rather go somewhere else for the "experience" vs. the awesome food. There are many great vegan restaurants in Portland. This is one that I unfortunately am not going to eat at for a while. I'm just hoping, praying, that their management will take their heads out of their "you know what's" and start treating their customers well.

The negative experience we had was a few nights ago. We (party of 2) got there with 1 hour and ten minutes before they closed. They had two people on their waiting list with TWO TABLES unoccupied! They turned us down, saying that they couldn't seat us or feed us prior to ten. When I looked around the restaurant most of the customers had either eaten their food or recently received their food. They apparently don't want a lot of business.

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

This is probably the most upscale vegan restaurant in Portland and it's definitely a good place. For one thing, it's casual, cozy and unpretentious; for another, it's not terribly expensive (though it's not cheap either).

We started off with the mushroom pate appetizer which was well-received by everyone in the group. Basically it consisted of mushrooms and herbs mashed together and served with crusty bread. The two non-vegetarians in the group really raved about this dish and considered it as good as anything meat-based that they've had.

For my main course I had the arugula walnut pesto mushroom ravioli ($17 for a large portion). This was a great, savory dish that looked and felt like spring: it was homemade pasta covered with leafy vegetables of differing shades of green. A wonderful dish. The portion size wasn't huge (don't expect leftovers) but I definitely felt the price was justified given the quality of the food.

For dessert I had the rhubarb tart with cashew-thyme ice cream. This was okay, at best. I felt the cashew-thyme ice cream had a weird texture (the best cashew ice cream I've had is at Lula's Apothecary in NYC), and the rhubarb tart tasted pedestrian on a whole. I tried my friend's chocolate mousse tart and it too was middling.

The service was friendly. Expect a wait on busy nights. Keep in mind that reservations need to be placed 24 hours in advance.

I also tried some of my friends' dishes. The other main pasta dish, which came with mixed vegetables, wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. The minestrone soup was tasty, but seemed too basic to be on a menu at an exclusively vegan restaurant.

In general, if Portobello had somewhat more sophisticated dishes (dishes that you are unlikely to find on menus at non-vegan Italian restaurants), it would warrant an extra star.

And, while I understand that Portobello is trying to move away from the world of mockmeats, I think there's room for things like homemade seitan or tofu, if not necessarily Gardein products and Daiya vegan cheese. The other vegan Italian joint in the US, Chrissie Hynde's "VegiTerranean" in Akron, Ohio, has similar prices but offers a lot more food for your money. They don't focus on local, seasonal ingredients, but they do a hell of a job showing people that vegan food can indeed be tasty. Portobello and VegiTerranean represent two different models; I like both, but I think VegiTerranean won me over more.


rating star

I had the pleasure of dining at Portobello and loved it. Do call for a reservation, no matter how many are in your party as they fill up very fast. Loved everything I had.


Couldn't find the place, and went to 11th and 2001 and it was an abandoned building, partly confusing due to my lack of knowledge of the city, but I even map'd it out. Called and found they closed early the last night I'm was in town, bummer. Some one tell me how bomb this place is I'll be excited to try it when I'm back in town, looks so good from the reviews.


rating star

Despite Portland's reputation as a vegan haven, we're in dire straits when it comes to vegan restaurants. Vegan cafés? Sure. Food carts? Yes indeed. Restaurants that have great vegan options (or nearly-vegan restaurants with That One Milky Thing)? Absolutely. But as far as somewhere you can go for an actual restaurant meal, with actual table service and everything, where you could close your eyes and point and still get something vegan, you'd be hard-pressed.

And yet here we have Portobello, sauntering onto the scene with plenty of anticipation and high hopes already in play. This is often a recipe for disappointment, but I am positively in love with this place. Could it make its mark just by being the only viable Portland vegan restaurant I can think of (okay, now there's BL's new location as well)? It sure could, but it's a sweet and cozy space, classy without being pretentious, and the food stands on its own as Good Food -- no "well, for vegan food" required. Every dish has its own individual flavor, and if ingredients could talk, every plate would be ready to have a different conversation with you. I have taken a smattering of non-vegetarians here to rave reviews. (Did I love getting to have my birthday dinner at Portobello, a place that excites and delights me and is vegan? Do you even need to ask?)

It's a treat to watch the menu change as the year goes by, even if it will inevitably take something you love away for a while. My first time here, I ate with a friend and split an appetizer (probably the best olive oil and possibly the best focaccia I've had), a side of garlicky green beans, and four little plates -- plus the pannacotta. I had my reservations about the saltimboca, but it ended up being arguably my favorite dish that we tried. The whole meal, though, was like a beautiful adventure, and quite kind on the wallet for how much we got. I am always easily persuadable to return.

Trying to eat here on a weekend without a reservation is generally the work of fools. You might get lucky, but call ahead; we've called at 5:00 for 7:00 and had no problem, but they ended up being closed to walk-ins that night.

***

Original review from January 18th, now updated a bit. Note they also have beer and wine as of May.


rating star

I am an Italian vegan, so this place makes me super happy. It can be a little on the expensive side because you'll want to order everything on the menu, but the entrees are surprisingly inexensive! One of my favorite rsetaurants of all time :)


rating star

The food was great and so was the service. I can't wait to go back.


rating star

A coffee shop by day, vegan Italian restaurant by night, Portobello Vegan Trattoria is a very unique and tasty restaurant. It's cozy, yes, but don't expect a fine dining atmosphere. They have a small menu, but offer a variety of tastes and flavors in their dishes that I've not seen in any other restaurant. Each dish was a delicacy, to be savored with every bite. This actually means I wouldn't want to go back as often as other restaurants in town, as it's not something I'd feel comfortable eating at regularly. Not due to cost, or lack of selection, but just because it's so damn strong tasting I couldn't handle it weekly. Definitely check it out!

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