Portofino
Portofino

Portofino

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://portofinolexington.com/
  • Phone: (859) 253-9300
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Executive Chef: Nat Tate, Rob Nathanson & Jordan Noel
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Please contact Kristen at the restaurant for more information.
  • Private Party Contact: Kristen Richardson 8592539300
  • Entertainment: Check web site.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Quality
  • Parking: Private Lot
A word from Portofino
Portofino features an inventive menu of Italian and American cuisine. Located in a beautifully renovated building on Main Street in downtown Lexington, KY, Portofino has an elegant interior design, a menu with the highest quality ingredients, and an extensive wine list. The menu offers fresh food from local producers as well as the best ingredients from around the world. Portofino has earned the Wine Spectator Award seven years in row, from 2003 through 2009 and is proud to offer such a rich and varied selection. The staff at Portofino is committed to providing their guests with the finest dining experience possible.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Portofino reviews from OpenTable diners
74 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.3
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (46)fit for foodies (41)romantic (40)notable wine list (39)great for outdoor dining (25)neighborhood gem (19)good for groups (18)hot spot (4)great for lunch (4)great for brunch (3)vibrant bar scene (3)late-night find (3)scenic view (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • juppeats2.5star
    juppeatsVIP
    Dined on 11/12/2014
    Had high expectations for Portofino based on the reviews of others. Wonderful attentive service. We started with small Caesar salads. They were nicely dressed with a good amount of anchovies. However, both my guest and I ordered the veal meatball marsala. Pasta was properly cooked, but the sauce was way too sweet. Not sure what component of dish caused this, but neither of us finished our entree. Maybe just picked the wrong dish or came on the wrong night.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful
    TOMKATVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    First time we have been here for a few years. Is better than ever. Will be back again soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing Food, Superb Service
    cbito643
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Amazing food, superb service, and great atmosphere. My wife and I had dinner here on a weekend trip and were immediately impressed. Our server was welcoming, enthusiastic, friendly, and knowledgeable. We also loved the intimate, contemporary atmosphere. The food was out-of-this-world! Classic italian fare with modern american flare, simply outstanding. We'll be coming back for sure!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great changes!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    We had a wonderful dining experience on a busy night! I wish the weather had been a little better because Portofino has one of the prettiest patios in Lexington! Although we are frequent diners here, we were very excited to see lots of changes on their most recent menu. I absolutely loved the addition of the meat and cheese platters and was not disappointed. We were also happy to see that they did not do away with their most delicious bruschetta appetizer. For dinner we had the chicken two-way and the duck, both of which were outstanding. I loved all of the complementary flavors in both dishes. We couldn't help but try their new salted caramel cheesecake as well. Needless to say, we left with very full bellies!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • stcfoodies
    stcfoodies
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Love this restaurant. The food is wonderful and they have a wonderful selection of wines. There is always something different on the specials menu and the food has never disappointed us. We love the bruschetta with the gorgonzola cream sauce it remains one of our favorite appetizers. This chef also does a wonderful job with risotto as well.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A gem discovered
    Wightman57
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I have been coming to Lexington for many years to visit my daughter, and recently discovered Portofino. What a fabulous restaurant. It has a very small feel to it, and is hard to believe the seating capacity is so large. Each time we eat here the food and service have been outstanding, with a superb wine list. The menu includes a wide variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The wine list is outstanding, with a large selection in any price range. You will not be disappointed visiting Portofino.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Night
    gouk1
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    What a wonderful night, the new menu was outstanding, Service was great, Wine was great, what a Wine & Bourbon List, Best in Lexington and maybe Kentucky. We had a group of four and everything was wonderful. Thanks for a great evening. Restaurant looked very busy. Good job
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JeffC
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    We were in town to visit our daughter at UK over Family Weekend. This is our third time dining at Portofino's and it's always a very nice experience. Great food and ambiance. Service was a bit slow on this evening, but we obviously hit them at a peak time (7:45pm on a Friday) and I believe there were also several large parties in the lower level. We weren't in any particular hurry as we enjoyed visiting with our daughter. It's her favorite place to dine, so we are always happy to oblige. Looking forward to going back again soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Portofinos
    Ukfan
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    I was expecting a quaint quiet evening with my wife for our anniversary. Instead we were seated next to a large, loud, obnoxious group that made it difficult to talk and hear each other. The food was great but the small portions we received were a joke. My lasagna was the most tiny dish I think I have ever been served. I won't be back to this place. Great food don't get me wrong but the value is a complete joke.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, slow service.
    VAgentleman
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    Quality of food and presentation were both good. Service was horribly slow. On a Weeknight early evening it took 2.5 hours for dinner.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not Italian
    Hybrid
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    First Asian- Italian spot I've been to. Didn't know soy sauce was a staple in Italian kitchens
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Missed The Mark
    TRVB
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Appetizers were good as were the soup and salad. Completely missed the mark on 3 of the four entrees. Tuna was old, Duck was over salted and Lamb was like shoe leather. The pasta dish with rock shrimp was the only good entree served. Disappointing to spend this much money on a sub par meal. We definitely will not go back on our next visit to Lexington.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Birthday treat
    HarrypottersdadVIP
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    I've been wanting to try Portofino for some time but have not been able to get there. My wife surprised me for my Birthday and took me there and we were both impressed with the food and service. At the suggestion of our waiter we split all of our courses and were able to sample many dishes. They were all superb! We will definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect for special occasion
    LexingtonFoodie
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    My family and I had a tremendous time at Portofino on 9/26/2014. We were celebrating a special occasion and the entire experience was just perfect. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu, including wine list, and very personable as well. The meal was paced perfectly so we could enjoy our time together and savor the food. Each course was delightful as we enjoyed the shrimp and calamari with cocktails followed by four different entrees. The risotto of the day was scrumptious as always as was the new chicken dish we had yet to try. I very much enjoyed a special martini glass of tiramisu that had the perfect balance of coffee, liquor, and chocolate notes. We had just the most wonderful time and were not disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • little gem in lexington
    ctpw
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    service was good and attentive, but the pacing was poor. We still had our appetizers when the main courses started coming out. arrugala salad was good, but somewhat small leaves made it "weedy" and a bit unappetizing. The caprese salad was clunky - the slices of tomatoe were almost an inch thick and unevenly cut. wine we ordered wasn't available in the year we ordered so we got the newer year, with no offering of something to make up for that. raviolis were excellent. sea scallops were unremarkable, only seared on one side and little flavor as the kale corn accompaniment in the middle added nothing but color. The meatballs were excellent, but the pasta was bland and not al dente. The salted caramel cheesecake was SO good!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner with friends
    newdiner
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I had not been to Portofinos in years. I love the location Downtown especially the building. The atmosphere is beautiful. I did not particularly care for the Gnocchi dish I had. I prefer a more traditional preparation. My husband and friends enjoyed what they ordered. My biggest complaint would be portion sizes compared to price. I felt the portions were a little small for the price especially the meat and cheese plate appetizer. Service was very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • bad food
    green
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    the duck comfit flatbread was way too "ducky" i.e. old duck; the "marsala" meatballs were small and had no marsala taste; the ragu had no sauce and was just herbed ground meat; the marinara that had to be asked for since ragu was so dry was was very plain; the mussels were miniscule but sauce good. Just looks like restaurant is strapped and cutting corners on menu items regarding quality - bad idea.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Pleasant Experience
    GeorgeVIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    This was our first visit to Portofino, and it couldn't have been better. Wonderful ambiance, great wine list, and delectable food served in a timely, but not rushed manner. The pork special for the evening was outstanding, though perhaps the chef was over-zealous in the size of the servings. Our server, Rusty, was very attentive and even brought a sample of the House Bean Soup for us to try when we inquired about it. We'll definitely return on our next trip to Lexington.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always a treat
    boop
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Portofino is an upscale restaurant in downtown Lexington. The service is always impeccable and the food tasty. The atmosphere is energetic, and the dining space is spacious and nicely decorated.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful time.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    The food and service were both wonderful. We had an excellent time!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great return visit
    Mamas2Dukes
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Dinner with college-aged daughter and her roommate. Delicious food selections from appetizers to dinner entrees. Attentive and courteous service...we'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    TeamBeckham
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I was with three other friends from out of town and we will definitely return to Portofino next time we are in Lexington!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Super experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Excellent experience, great food, great ambiance. A bit difficult to find the "front door".
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • thrilled!
    LexingtonNewbie
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    mussels were outstanding, complimented with the lemongrass butter--a meal in itself when paired with the bread which was perfect for consuming it all! The cerviche was unexpected and light, but and the veal meatballs were fabulous! The sauce and vegetables accompanying this were unusual and light--the local pasta a treat! The tagliatelle pasta was a little al dente for my taste but on another visit I asked for it to be cooked longer and it was perfection! (hint to those who prefer more done pasta!)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sauces overwhelming!
    Louise
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    When I pay $35 for a dinner entree, with meat that is tender and cooked to perfection, I want to be able to TASTE the meat. But the sauces they used were so strong and overwhelming, you couldn't appreciate the flavors of the actual food. They did have a great wine list, but the food menu was small. I'm sure outdoor dining here would be nice, but it rained when we went. Overall it was OK-not the best for the money.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • An Outstanding Experience
    finefoodlover
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We love to dine at Portofino. The regular food choices are great, but their specialties are really good, as well. It is difficult to stray from our menu favorites, but the specialties have never disappointed us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and wine
    NomNomVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    A winning combination of good food and an outstanding wine list, combined with a charming ambiance and excellent service. And felt like the dishes were even better on my last visit--refined flavors, evolved dishes, perfectly fresh pasta with stand-out sauce. Adding Portofino back to my favorites list!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never disappointed
    Doc9
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We have dined at Portofino several times, often on special occasions. We have never been disappointed in the food or the service -both are impeccable. Everything is first-class from the cocktails to the (expensive) wine list to the perfectly prepared meals. We plan to return often.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • S. Cunningham
    agoodegg
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Great spot for dinner with your significant other. We were a little unsure about the place when we drove up, because the "curb appeal" is lacking— it's actually in the back of a brick building. But the ambience and outdoor seating was great—and quiet too because it's not right on the street. Food was wonderful and service terrific. Server was very knowledgable about the wine list too. The manager even stopped by our table to make sure everything was to our liking.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always Excellent
    TRBB
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    As always, the food and the service were excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    This is our fourth or fifth visit to Portofino, a must do when we go to Lexington, and again they didn't disappoint us. They also boast a VERY complete bourbon stock.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding
    ncole
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    The food, service and atmosphere was outstanding. I applaude the staff and everyone behind the scene. Will most definitely be making another visit and wouldn't expect anything less than the service I had this time. Thank you.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2002
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    This restaurant was highly recommended by a Lexington friend, but our experience was disappointing. I ordered the haddock special ($37), which was served overcooked/dry. I suggested that the server inform the kitchen, but no apology was offered. The bean soup, however, was quite delicious. My wife ordered a “restaurant week” feature, chicken marsala, which was tasteless and boring. In contrast, my out of town guest also ordered chicken marsala from the main menu, but this preparation was visibly different; my guest was quite pleased with her choice. Our server was not particuarly attentive and returned once to refill our water glasses. We have no plans to dine at Portofino again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 41 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 30, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 385 reviews are from the Portofino reviews archive.
  • restaurant week dining
    Wanttobeimpressedeater
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    We were first disappointed that the menu was not the same as listed in paper but our waiter explained that the paper printed last year's by mistake. The changed menu was OK but we didn't feel that it highlighted the restaurants food very well and that was one of the main point of the promotion we thought. We thought the food was just average and we were expecting more. Overall most things were very nice but we still came away feeling that we could have prepared the same meal at home just as well and probably better. When we go out to a fine dining restaurant we want to be impressed and we weren't.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Restaurant Week Success
    learningLexington
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    We tried Portofino during Restaurant Week, knowing that its regular prices put it into the "special occasions only" category for us. Although the menu warned us of reduce portions for the special offer, we had plenty to eat. With "normal" servings, we would have taken home leftovers. Complimentary warm bread & herbed butter made a nice start. The chicken, polenta, and broccoli dinner was very tasty, especially the broccoli. Salads were small and ho-hum; this was one way they could rein in costs for the special. Beverages cost extra. We each had a glass of quite satisfactory wine. For dessert we had the two offered: tiramisu and key lime pie. Both were delicious. Our server, Tonya, was knowledgeable and friendly. We'll return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Slow service
    Overrated
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Extremely slow service. They didnt appear to be extremely busy but it took over an hour for our orders to be taken. 7:30 reservation; didn't leave til 10:30. If you want a long drawn out dinner, this is the place for you. Food was average.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good the first time, bad the 2nd
    martynlarry
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    As an Italian American this is not what I was accustomed to nor expected. Bone-in chicken breast for marsala or francais??!! I will admit it was better than I thought it was going to be. But the portions are small. An authentic Italian restaurant should have heartier portions. It was our anniversary so I requested a quieter, more private table. Annnnnnnd we were seated next to a loud, obnoxious group of 6 and a family with a baby! Awesome! Our waitress was very polite but service was slow. We were there for 2.5 hours. We didn't care nor complain because we had all the time in the world and wanted to relax. They did comp one dessert for it being our anniversary. Odd, ugly paintings hanging on the walls. Hostesses were rude and unwelcoming.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Portofino's Never Let's us Down
    jfain
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    One of the few patio's in Lexington that we enjoy thoroughly. If you want delicious Italian and some other maybe more americanized choices with amazing desserts, where the owner always visits you at your table to see how things were...this is the place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food and staff was perfect
    will
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Ordered the two beef dishes they offer and both were delicious. The filet was ordered med. Rare but came out medium well. The only hiccup of my experience. The management handled it to my satisfaction and otherwise was a perfect experience. Will definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good experience all around
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Great menu, very accommodating, delicious, nice atmosphere. I would go back for sure.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate