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  • Portalli's

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Portalli's Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.portallisec.com/
  • Phone: (410) 720-2330
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Sunday: 11:30am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: 11:30pm - 8:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Keith Holsey
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine Bar

Getting there

  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Free Valet Parking
A word from Portalli's
'The owners of The Diamondback Tavern have partnered with new investors in a separate venture called 'Portalli's' which will be located in historic Ellicott City where Jordan's Steakhouse used to be. Portalli's will be an Italian restaurant with a good mix of unique cutting edge preparations as well as classic Italian favorites. The name 'Portalli' comes from the maternal family of Evan Brown, one of the owners who will also serve as Director of Operations. Local chef Keith Holsey will be running the kitchen, and while the menu is still being developed, we plan on incorporating everything we love about Italian cuisine from all areas of Italy including several traditional Portalli family dishes. The goal is to create an Italian dining destination that will have enough originality and creativity for foodies, but will also be approachable for the casual diner or families looking for a fun night out.'- Lee Biars (owner of Ellicott City's Diamondback Tavern) Continued
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Diner Reviews
  • "Beth was our waitress. She was the best! Keep our glasses full and was a true delight. Planning to go back just because of her. "
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "The whole experience - 3 of us for my birthday -- was wonderful. Food delicious, lovely ambiance and our server, Emily, was outstanding, upbeat, informative, personable (we all agreed she made the dinner a special one for a special birthday!)."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "We were here to celebrate my aunts birthday. We were seated in a quiet corner table and everything was perfect...the food, wine/cocktails, and the service. Our waitress was very helpful and attentive but not overbearing."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "This place has real potential, however the food, which is supposed to be authentic Italian, didn't blow me away. Lacking in seasoning, I don't feel that the price they are charging for their entree's is matching up with the quality of the product they are producing. The pumpkin risotto with shrimp was bland, however the shrimp were of nice size and quality. An oddly seasoned bread and oil presentation is provided for the table. I'm not really sure what they added to the oil, as cracked pepper would have nicely complimented a good olive oil, but whatever it was, it was bitter and overpowered the oil, making it inedible. A glass of Kendall Jackson for $12? Who are you kidding?! Most likely won't be returning anytime soon."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Had a wonderful birthday dinner here. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable of things. Helpful because we were first time visitors and my daughter has some good allergies, so we had lots of questions. The food was fabulous! Very flavorful and perfect serving sizes. Will definitely visit this spot again."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "The service was wonderful; probably I can say the best service I have ever received from numerous restaurants I have been in. The food was nasty; it really didn’t have any flavor."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "Noise! They have an oldies pianist. Kenny Rodgers or Elton John with raw Brussels sprouts and flavorless chicken marsala. Sea scallops, crab cakes ( broiled), mussels, fried green tomatoes, salad. So many possibilities for good food. But no. And the sprouts took forever to red do then came back microwaved! Didn't bother with dessert/coffee. Menu online was not the same as in house. They didn't tell us to pay the server for valet. It was pouring rain. Our server tried but was not having a good night. Note, if you have any accessibility issues this is a bad choice. Stairs to second floor are long. Only one of two ladies bath stalls working. We would never return."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Food and service was great. We would suggest they should invest in tap beer. Overall experience was excellent."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "I took my friend here for Sunday Brunch. It was wonderful. It was not a huge buffet, but rather a small, yet fulfilling selection. Enough variety to make it worth the price. The buffet had hot and cold food - carving station, baked chicken, sauce and noodles and also the usual breakfast - french toast, home fries (these were especially good), bacon - I couldn't stop eating it, and more. They also had fruits, bagels and dessert. Then they brought out the salmon. Yummy! The service was a bit slow, but they were very crowded. Luckily we didn't need the service for much more than to bring us drinks. By the way, their Blood Mary's were very tasty. My friend and I went home very happy, very satisfied with the meal and will be back again."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "We went here for our anniversary and it was so nice. We were greeted with prosecco on the house to celebrate. Our waiter was great, service was a tad slow but nothing outrageous. Food was delicious and well priced. We will definitely be returning."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Always consistently good and enjoyable. Will definitely go again!"
    Dined on 3/23/2014
  • "When I walked in, I wasn't expecting much. The decor is dated and the restaurant good use an update. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. My husband ordered the mussell appetizer and the veal entree. I had the crabcake appetizer and salmon entree. We split a chocolate cherry dessert. My husband really enjoyed both his appetizer and entree. The crabcake appetizer was okay, the sauce is what made it tasty, but I've had better crabcakes. The salmon entree was really yummy. it was cooked perfect very moist and the brussel sprouts were good. Our bill was a little over $100. Very reasonably priced. The service was very good. Attentive, but not overbearing. i would go back."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "My husband and I were pleasantly surprised. I had read a few reviews and was a little concerned; however, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Loved the warm bread with the herb infused oil and cheese. My husband loves butter on bread and the waiter overheard me telling him to ask the waiter for butter. He declined, but our thoughtful waiter had overheard and appeared with a nice dish of butter seconds later. Thank you! The Caesar salad was tasty and just the right size and our entrees perfectly cooked. Husband ordered the Surf and Turf Penne (had a little kick which he just loved) and I ordered the Seafood Fra Diavolo with the chunky tomato sauce. We both agreed that we would order these dishes again. We will be back!"
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "While the restaurant was very loud on a Saturday night, the menu was full of interesting options. I had a delicious strawberry salad; the veal braciole was just ok. You can find better Italian in Little Italy and around Baltimore City but for Howard County dining its a decent choice for a nice not-too-fancy date night or dinner. As a note: the valet is NOT free as advertised on this website - you have to pay $5 and the restaurant says they will reimburse you, but they also had me park in a back alley and then pick up my car myself. Very odd."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "We totally enjoyed the food, service, wine, and especially the music. The Canon Brass Band was really really good!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "Went there for the first time last week. I very comfortable, homey feel. Warm staff. And our meals were very good - had the chicken marsala pasta dish. The desert (smores type dish) didn't have much flavor however - the chocolate "pudding" didn't have a lot of flavor. That said, still a great evening and I'd certainly go back again."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "We are martini lovers, our preferred gin was not stocked, waitress suggested London #3 which was excellent. Flat bread combo was very tasty as appetizer. My husband enjoyed the halibut with blood orange glaze that was prepared to perfection, the seafood cooked just to a turn. I enjoyed the scallops with cauliflour risotto which was gently seasoned and not overpowered by the vegetable. The fresh baked bread was very good, and the olive oil ladened with fresh herbs was delicious. A very tasty evening. My only problem was deciding on a selection from the beautiful menu."
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "We had a lovely girls night out recently at Portalli's. GREAT food, ambiance, tight quarters, decent pricing. Delicious spot for a date night or girls night out!"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Nice ambiance and comfortable seating. We sat upstairs and it was very relaxing. Had the calamari for an appetizer and it was so-so. We were a little thrown off at first by the waiter asking us if we wanted our salads and appetizer at the same time?? I had the Cioppini and it was excellent. It took almost 30 minutes for our entrees to be served after we finished our salads which was way too long. Overall it was a nice relaxing evening. I expected a little bit more for the money."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "While we enjoyed the dinning, we were not overly impressed with the food... not bad election but just not over the top. Also, our reservations were for an 1100am Brunch and selection of food was already low and not being replenished with haste. Made to order omelets and Bloody Mary were excellent. Upstairs pianist was nice addition to the atmosphere."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "We took a chance on Portalli's. Food delivery was exceptionally slow considering the restaurant wasn't even half full. And, our waiter didn't keep us updated on our orders. We ordered the croquettes, which were very good. For our entrees, we ordered the chicken florentine and steak and shrimp. Both entrees were lukewarm when they arrived. If the chicken florentine had any spinach, we were hard pressed to find it. The steak and shrimp was just bland. As for atmosphere it's not too bad, but the main dining room could use a little art work to add some interest. All in all we were left lukewarm about Portalli's and won't return any time soon. It was a $50 dinner for two that came with a +$100 dinner tab. Not worth it in our opinion."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "The food was fantastic! My wife and I chose this restaurant as we love downtown Ellicott City and Italian food. It was a win win situation. The host was amazing in finding us a table. Apparently I booked the reservation for Saturday night, but no worries as the host saved the day. Our server was there when we needed him and provided that first class feel. I ordered the surf and turf penne and thought I died and had gone to heaven. The tiramisu is a must for dessert. In summary, highly recommend this place to all."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The food was excellent! It was crowded due to valentines day weekend so we were sat directly (and quite close) to another couple. We sat immediately and greated with water and bread. The waitress was very attentive even though she didn't know the entire drink list. Overall an awesome dinner, we will be back!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "To anyone who looks at the reviews of this restaurant, I don't know what alternate universe the negative reviewers went to. I took my girlfriend there on Valentine's Day and had a wonderful experience. As expected they were crazy busy, and we got seated 5 minutes before our reservation time. Our waiter was awesome, and the food delicious and very reasonably priced. Go, go, go."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "In general the food is very good. We have visited several times in the past year. However, sometimes they overreach and the execution is only fair. For example, they feature lobster specials, once per week. On the night we visited, the lobster appeared to be watery/mushy as if it had been frozen."
    Dined on 8/22/2013
  • "Portalli's use to be a neighborhood gem; however, the owner is not taking care of the restaurant. The oven door is broken and the restaurant is flithy. The service was very good; however."
    Dined on 2/2/2014
  • "Our waiter was way too pushy with trying to tell us what to order by saying the portions were small and we should order all of them and share at least a couple appetizers. Didn't like that at all. Very loud and very warm. Food was okay."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Four of us on a Wednesday evening at 6PM and we were the only people in the entire dining room. Except for a young couple who came and went while we were enjoying our 2.5 hour meal. The antipasti plate was so-so. The salads were OK. The main courses were very nice. Our waiter - Tyler - was outstanding! He made the evening special and more festive. Since we were having a much-delayed Christmas party, the four of us felt very elegant having the entire dining room (and Tyler) to ourselves. But why the emptiness? We enjoyed our evening very much though. I'd like to go back again now that I'm familiar with the establishment and try something from the pasta side of the menu. That'll be the true test! I like the place."
    Dined on 1/29/2014
  • "Since it was so cold, we cancelled plans to dine downtown and went 'down the hill' to Portalli's to celebrate my birthday. We've always found their food to be well prepared and the atmosphere very relaxing. Although it was HC Restaurant Week, we opted to select off their regular menu and weren't disappointed. The bruschetta (w/o the beans) is always a great way to start followed by crisp, fresh Caesar salads. My husband enjoyed the Rockfish while I devoured the Veal Brasciole - both were delicious. We didn't have room for dessert but decided to take a piece of chocolate ganache cake home with us to enjoy later. Drew, our server, was very attentive but we realized he never told us the specials of the evening. We will definitely return."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "I go with my Philly girls at least ( I live around the corner) 4 times a year and every single time I go Eric comes to our table to greet us. He loves when we bring the Cheese Steaks from Tony Lukes..... This is the ONLY restaurant I come to when we get together!!!! Everybody knows us!!! We all love you Eric!!! Keep on bringing us the awesome food you serve!!!! Love, Lisa, Joyce, Bernadette and Lisa"
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "Really nice restaurant! Great food, great service and nice atmosphere. Very nice place to have a first date or celebrate a milestone or just go out for great Italian food."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Went for an anniversary dinner. It was very loud and very small waiting area (in the doorway). We had to dodge waitstaff no matter where we stood. The waiter was nice, food was great, but not an ideal romantic evening. Very loud, and a constant wave of staff everywhere. No seating at the bar since there were only 10 chairs. Bartender left us waiting 15 minutes for a drink and we gave up. Probably won't revisit for a while. Too much going on for a small restaurant. Food was great though. Would most likely be best for lunch or an off night meal. Saturday evenings are too crowded."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "We went to Portalli's during Restaurant Week but were not given the special menu until we had asked for it. The waiter recommended an orzo salad that he said was on the Restaurant week menu but when I looked for it and mentioned to him that I didn't see it, he realized he meant arugula salad; not orzo salad. Once we ordered our entrees, we noticed all the other tables had received bread at their table. We needed to ask for the bread which was brought during our first course and then promptly removed from the table when the first course salads were removed. I think for the money a nicer restaurant experience can be had in Ellicott City."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "The food: it's meant to be eaten as a 3-4 course meal so your portions aren't too much/little. But at the price they're going for, it wasn't worth it. I got the fettuccine and my friend got the meatballs and both were just okay, not too memorable. The ambiance: quaint and romantic. The restaurant itself was quiet and relaxed most of the night; not too loud at all which is what we wanted. I could have a conversation with my friend without distractions or high noise levels. The service: we like to take our time when eating, but our server took the food off our table so quick we could hardly reject him! It was almost rude, to be honest. I set my fork down to hear my friend talk and he was already picking up my plate to take away..."
    Dined on 1/16/2014
  • "In the past, a year or more ago, the whole experience was a lot better."
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "Reasonable prices, nice wine list. Decor ok but not relaxing environment and good spot to catch up with friends over wine and Italian. Service was very slow, inexperienced waitress it appears and a couple of entrees were over and undercooked. Salads were best part, apps were fine but nothing spectacular. Valet parking in Ellicott City nice touch. As the title reads, 50 good 50 not so good, want to love it but just didn't measure up."
    Dined on 1/9/2014
  • "My fiancee and I had a lovely New Years dinner at this restaurant. The food was good. My only suggestion is that the bread should be warm when brought to the table and should be brought out before any of the appetizers were served. The dinner was tasty and the dessert of S'Mores was memorable. I would come back again."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "Returned based on prior experience but unfortunately was not the same. Made reservations well in advance - but were seated in table closest to the kitchen in the aisleway - not best for a romantic dinner out. It was half-priced wine bottle night - but the inflated prices of the wine selections left us wondering if this was a different list than other nights. I asked for my salmon to be cooked just under medium - and it arrived as well-done - still had good flavor but obviously drier. Our decaf coffee served with desserts tasted "burnt". Service was OK but the restaurant was not particularly busy so time between service seemed overly long. Overall the food was good - but we would not make the effort to drive this distance to dine here again."
    Dined on 12/30/2013
  • "Went with our two teenagers for New Years Eve meal. Everything was excellent. I did question the cioppino with a brownish sauce and Spencer was willing to change the order after explaining the difference but decided to keep it and was not disappointed. Everything was worth it!"
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "This was our fifth dinner here in the space of a year and a half and were as very pleased as always. In the early evening we have found the restaurant as a very pleasant place to enjoy a great conversation setting over dinner as the dining rooms are separated from the bar. We have found the food and wines to be of high quality and creativity. Service pace has been great, with enough speed when needed and spacing when needed. Definitely we'll keep coming here for special occasions. Of note, steaks are served all by themselves, with nothing else on the plate but one complement (e.g., breaded eggplant only when we ordered the filet mignon). The steaks are juicy and luscious by themselves and don't need anything else (like a sauce), though."
    Dined on 12/30/2013