Portalli's

Portalli's

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.portallisec.com/
  • Phone: 4107202330
  • 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
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Portalli's reviews from OpenTable diners
134 reviews since May 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.1
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (74)romantic (64)neighborhood gem (55)fit for foodies (47)good for groups (32)great for brunch (31)notable wine list (28)great for lunch (13)late-night find (11)vibrant bar scene (9)hot spot (8)kid-friendly (6)scenic view (4)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Great Italian Restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    I visited twice this restaurant. Each time my family had a wonderful food and great service. Servers were very helpful and polite. Food was great. I strongly recommend Prince Edward Island Mussels for appetizer. Don't forget to ask for extra bread that is necessary to finish the mussels. Seefood Cabonara was wonderful pasta. We visited two Thursdays coincidently. Lobster night. Three kinds of lobster dishes for Thursday were wonderful. Please try each one of them.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Historic Ellicott City Highlight
    MDNeighbor
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I had a generally positive experience at Portalli's; I've been there a number of times before and expect to return. I did not assign top stars in each category because the respective ratings depend upon where one sits in the restaurant and one's choices from the menu. There is in fact a "vibrant bar scene," which makes the first floor rather noisy. We went at 10 p.m. and asked to be seated upstairs away from the noise, a request that was gladly granted. There it was very quiet. We enjoyed our food, as usual, except that I did not like the Black Forest Bottom Cake--too many cherries that really didn't taste very good to me; I probably should have sent it back, but didn't. Have liked their other desserts. Entree was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • High Expectations Not Met
    LOV2FLY
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    We were excited to finally try Portalli's as we have not yet dined here after nearly 2 years of living in the area. I must say that I was less than impressed with the service from the entire staff. It took entirely too long to get water, wine, and even our bill at the end of the evening. There were even multiple times when we would not have one ounce of water in our glasses. And this is with much less than a full crowd dining in the restaurant. I think that the staff is poorly trained to deliver top notch customer service. It would have helped if the food were better but overall, it was quite simple. Thankfully, the wine was good and the prices were reasonable.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Service and Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Portalli's is a lovely restaurant in Old Ellicott City. The location is great. The food was excellent. I had a caesar salad and the grilled scallops and risotto. My guest had lovely lobster ravioli dish and caesar salad. Both of us were very pleased with our food choices. The only negative is that there does not appear to be a lunch menu. We were there for lunch and we were eating from the dinner menu. To be honest, it is too pricey for lunch but the cost is definitely appropriate for dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • thank you
    Birthday
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    I had requested the table in the window and it was all set up and waiting for us. It is so nice that someone goes out of their way. Dinner was wonderful and our guests were able to experience our town.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Really liked it
    Pricy
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We received a coupon from a friend, otherwise we may have never eaten here. Really liked the place. Thought it a little pricy and will probably go back for special occasions only. We have eaten at Italian restaurants like this before and don't like them quite as much as traditional Italian. We did, although, really enjoy the food and the service was perfect. Their courses are too large to do multiple as they suggest. The baked oyster appetizer was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • LeFoodman
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    Portalli's Italian restaurant is a fine place for the discerning palette, as they're combinations and innovative culinary offerings have the tendency to raise an eyebrow or two. For our evening we all gravitated toward a certain dish via the description, but then everyone (there were six of us) shifted their choices so that we all ordered something different. No one was disappointed and I have been to quite a few dinners with these folks where there was quite a bit of complaining. It was most pleasant, and the atmosphere, the food, and the service were all of a high caliber. I will go there again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Experience
    outalone
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    We enjoyed our evening at Portalli's as we celebrated our anniversary. The ambiance was a little dark. The windows and skylights did help though. Shannon and Tyler were quite attentive. Our meals were served hot and were quite good. I would recommend Portalli's when looking for a delicious approach to Italian.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    My husband and I were celebrating our anniversary. We were disappointed when were seated next to a group who were quite noisy and no other accommodations were available.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Local find
    Mrcs4u
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    My wife and I had reservations for Saturday night. Table was ready and we were quickly seated, however after that we had to wait quite awhile till we had our drink order taken and there was only one other table taken. The waiter was the bartender and the food runner. The appetizers were very good, portions were correct. Our main course was very good as well as the portions. Overall it wasn't a bad experience.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food was amazing
    Brian
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We came here for dinner because we had received a gift certificate as a birthday gift. The restaurant is small and a bit dark, but the food was amazing from the appetizers through dessert. The service was also very good. Our server was attentive and made recommendations of what to get on the menu. I went with his choice and it was delicious. This is definitely a good spot to go for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Consistently Delicious
    Shopper20143VIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We've dined here several times and have never been disappointed. Even though it was Restaurant Week, we ordered off the regular menu instead. We started by sharing an order of bruschetta w/o beans which is the best we've had at any restaurant. My husband had a Caesar salad which was large enough to share and then he had the salmon with asparagus and I had the rockfish with fingerling potatoes - both were absolutely prepared to perfection and we both cleaned our plates. This is the first time we've ordered dessert here since they never had too many chocolate options but we tried the black forest cake. We both thought the topping tasted like heavy cherry cough medicine but the cake was moist and delicious. Valerie, our server was great.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • less than average at premium price
    PennStater
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Went there for our 10 yr anniversary dinner. (july 2014) Very disappointed. I think they're going for an upscale ambiance...And it may have been at one point -back in the day. But now it's just old & worn looking (and not in a cool/historic way). Food: Calamari was prepared well but was very bland, lobster ravioli was soaked in butter/oil (not in a good way), Stuffed Veal red sauce was good but overpowered the veal, Tiramisu was horrible. We've had much better quality/tasting food at Macaroni Grill for way less cost! The wine & coffee was great and the service was pretty good. Overall a disappointing meal. We wont be going back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    Enjoydining
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    From the walk into the restaurant until we left,everything was excellent. The food was outstanding as well as the service. Will definitely be going back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • good & bad
    familynightout
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Lovely restaurant. The large room upstairs bounced the noise from a table across the room to ours. It was a happy group but we couldn't hear. Our waitress was wonderful and moved us to the other room upstairs. The biggest food issue was the spaghetti & meatballs! The portion of pasta was so tiny-a handful cooked. The pasta was also swimming in a sharp tasting sauce. The meatballs were good and plentiful. Everyone else enjoyed their meals. I recommend the restaurant just don't order the spaghetti & meatballs.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Made our 24th anniversary perfect.
    rmadla
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    We went to Portalli's for our 24th anniversary a few days ago. Not only did we get seated at the table we'd noted in the reservation as our favorite, they greeted is with a complimentary glass of champagne and did everything they could to make the night special.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • ECFoodie
    ECFoodie
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    First time at Portalli's and was not disappointed. We were able to participate in Restaurant Week, which was a good event to try a new place. Portalli's food was delicious and we plan on coming back to sample some of the other foods on the menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • brunch
    Birthday
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Brunch was OK. We did not take the bloody Mary option... So we were not offered juice. Seems silly. Love this place.... But brunch is not their finest hour.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    WE ENJOYED THE EVENING...REST. WEEK MENU SELECTIONS WERE GREAT..
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fun dinner
    SandiVIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Five of us went to Portalli's for a celebration. Service was excellent. Everyone really enjoyed their drinks, meal and the desserts. Portalli's is a satisfying experience whether you go for special occasions or just drop in while in Old Ellicott City.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Visit on 7/23/14
    fred
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    Waiter was a bit sketchy but as usual food was great. Try fried oysters. Very different prep and wonderful taste.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great
    Court
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    This place was great, the food was a little pricey so maybe a restaurant for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Big Disappointment
    Roblou5VIP
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Seated upon arrival but the waitress came about 15 min later and yelled " who was seated first". Many dishes were uncovered including the french toast. All of the hot dishes were room temperature. Flies were on the strawberry cake. Paid for unlimited mimosas but received only one and was never able to get a refill. Our omelettes were cooked brown and hard but at least they were hot. My husband enjoyed his order of scrambled eggs with cheese. The breakfast potatoes were tasteful even though they were cold. This place is on my "never again" list.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Brunch
    trojanVIP
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    As always, excellent food, good atmosphere and prompt, professional service delivered with a smile and grace. Large mimosas, omelets ordered at the table without standing in a line waiting for preparation. Actually almost too many items to choose from but appreciated anyway. Keep up the good work. Sorry to see the pear puff pastry no longer on the regular menu (unless I missed it.)
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • RobO
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    I'm glad I found Pottalli's to celebrate our anniversary. Everything was excellent from the antipasto to the panacotta made for a romantic evening with my wife. Thank you!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another great experience
    jojo
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Despite the summer heat which sometimes makes some Italian dishes too heavy, Portalli's seasonal menu is the perfect blend of Italian taste and summer fare. The vegetable manicotti was delicious and the fish selection very flavorful. The veal brasiole was exceptional and the chianti complemented everything. Pair the food with an attentive waitress and the result was another great relaxing evening at Portalli.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Six Stars!!!
    DiningWithDestiney
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    I LOVE THIS PLACE!!! Not only was the staff very accommodating but the food was to die for. I am not a foodie at all but I know that the food was prepared fresh and to order. It was phenomenal. The portion size was not huge but it was more than filling. I am definitely going to make this a regular spot but next time I think I will take a date and try some of their wines. It is also the perfect spot for a nice event or celebration!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Sunday Brunch
    mahjonggjudyVIP
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Had Groupon for Sunday Brunch. Made an Open Table reservation.When we arrived they wanted to seat us upstairs. I said I could not do steps and so they showed us to a table for 2 downstairs. It was in a dark area and I asked if we could sit further toward the front at another table for 2 that was set up. The person seating us said that was reserved. I told him that I had made a reservation and would like to sit there. He said he had to check and when he returned to us told us that we could have that table. HOW RUDE WAS THAT! Our waiter,Tom,did a great job. He did everthing...took our order,made our drinks and bussed the tables that he had. Food was just okay. Had to cut and toast own bagels..felt like Holiday Inn free breakfast buffet!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great food.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Although not close to home, we have been to Portalli's several times and have never been disappointed.Only suggestion would be that they should freshen the place up a bit.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Meh Italian
    Charlie1
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    Portalli’s views itself as an up-scale Italian Restaurant. For appetizers we had Green Tomato Caprese (mediocre and the house-made mozzarella had good texture but no flavor) and the Crab and Corn Chowder (very good flavor, rich and creamy). Entrees had nice presentation, but the flavors were blah. Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a burned tomato tarragon jus over celery & cauliflower risotto (terrible). The whole Maine lobster was like rubber, the clarified butter lacked any flavor, and the asparagus was tender-crisp but lacked any seasoning. The Vanilla and Espresso Panna Cotta was pretty good dessert. The tab for just the two of us with no alcohol was about $80 including tip. I don’t see myself visiting Portalli’s again anytime soon.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding Food
    charon170
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Despite having reservations, they were a bit slow to seat us. The server was pleasant but not exactly warm. The food, however, made up for a lot of this. The lobster ravioli was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I liked how the wine list was broken down, making it easier to make a decision. Every dish I had was amazing. We will definitely come here again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • persey100
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Nice brunch, but the buffet area gets crowded and most diners will need to go up and down stairs to get food.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 2nd time not as good as first
    Duke66
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    We took our son and his fiancée because we loved it the first time. Sadly the quality had plummeted! Buffet dishes were almost empty, had to wait for dinner plates, no pepper on table or offered, worst of all the omelets were half or even less than the size on our first visit. Desserts were only so-so.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Food, Good Service
    CS87
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    This restaurant was much better than some other reviews had led me to believe. We visited with a Living Social deal, and were quite impressed. The bruschetta was good, the complimentary bread was fantastic (as was the accompanying oil), and the entrees were incredible. The salmon was one of the best-cooked filets I've had, and my wife's tortellini was equally excellent. The only hitches were some very minor quibbles with the service: the wine glass was removed from the table, poured, and brought back rather than being poured tableside, our water was never refilled, and the waitress corrected my (incorrect) pronunciation of an item. That said, these issues are minor and should not keep you away from this Ellicott City gem.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • sunday brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    We visited the restaurant on sunday 6/29/14. The food was terrible and we will never return. It was as if we ate leftover food from the weekend. The selection was not good, and the food tasted like it was old, not fresh. Most of the people that were there had grouons like us. I would not recommend this place.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Subpar brunch
    Gosfield
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    The food: few choices for the money, brunch buffet consisted of the usual breakfast foods and three dinner entrees, which seemed an odd choice- chicken, baked ziti, and fried calamari. All of it was cold even though we arrived just as they opened for brunch. Access: the buffet was downstairs in a small bar area with seating upstairs. The lines were long and difficult OT maneuver in the small space with your plate. Extremely poor layout.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great place for a celebration
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Went to Portalli's to celebrate my three-year anniversary with my boyfriend. The food was excellent (try to potato croquettes! We ended up getting two orders!) and the drinks were also outstanding (had the ruby red martini, creamsicle martini and a bellini...and then another creamsicle martini...). One of the waiters broke out into this beautiful Italian love song (he definitely sounded like a trained singer) and our waitress gave us free dessert without prompt! A lovely night out! Try to get there earlier in the day and enjoy the quaint little street the restaurant sits on before your dinner, or take a stroll after to help digest!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • always a nice experience
    denise20077
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    This was our 3rd time dining at Portalli's. We decided to do a late date night dinner on a Friday evening so we could take advantage of the Late Night Happy hour. We had to be seated in the Lounge/Bar area, which was not that much of an issue. The bartender was extremely busy so some of the other servers stepped in to help him out. The late night happy hour deals on drinks are great and their drinks are amazing and compliment the delicious food that they serve. From a slow start to a perfect finish we had a wonderful date night out that we have needed for some time!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious
    KellyRVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Food was great! We ordered Calamari for an appetizer--very good. I got the hanger steak for my entrée which was cooked perfectly! Great wine list and great cocktails! Awesome service! And they had a pianist playing music as we ate dinner!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Food & Romantic
    Dlove
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Everything we ordered was delicious- corn and crab chowder, Chicken Marsala and Steak and Shrimp Penne.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate