About Portofino Restaurant

This family-run Italian eatery on Crystal City’s busy restaurant row, a.k.a. 23rd Street, has been dishing up plates of pasta for three generations. Adelmo Micheli and his son, Sergio, opened the place in 1970, later Sergio and his wife Pilar ran it, and recently their son Richard, a Culinary Institute of America grad, has taken the torch. The old world feel -- think dark wood, gilded mirrors, and brocade boudoir chairs -- strikes a nostalgic chord with older couples and extended families with children who frequent the place and become regulars. They come for classic Italian fare -- many of the plates are from longtime family recipes. Pastas include lasagna bolognese, and linguine with Ligurian pesto. More substantial plates range from dishes like veal marsala, with wine and mushrooms, or chicken piccata with lemon and capers, to rosemary-crusted lamb chops with black olive sauce. There’s also an extensive list of daily specials.

526 23rd St S.
Arlington, VA 22202
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Italian, Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Sunday- Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Cross Street:
526 23rd St S and S Eads St

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(703) 979-8200

Website:
http://www.theportofinorestaurant.com/

Parking Details:
We have our own parking lot in the rear of the restaurant, and the entrance to the restaurant is also in the rear. The parking lot is accessed by the driveway along the west side of the building next to the awning, off of 23rd street.

Public Transit:
The Crystal City Metro station is located at 1750 Bell St, off of 18th Street. We are a short 5 blocks walk to the south along S. Eads St.
Metro bus runs along both 23rd St, and Route 1, Jefferson Davis Hwy.

Executive Chef:
Rich Micheli

Private Party Facilities:
We have two (2) rooms available for groups up to 65 people. Private dining rooms require group menu and a minimum of 20 people. Also, we have semi-private areas available for non-group menu groups. No setup charge for bar in private dining area.

Private Party Contact:
Rich Micheli: (855) 676-0640

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
Happy hour pricing, nightly 5-6pm, half price on full bottles of wine under $100.00, $50 off bottles of wine over $100.00.

Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Details

Join us for our chef's tasting menu offered throughout the night.

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Portofino Restaurant Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.5

ambience

4.2

value

4.1

Noise

Moderate

89% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (17)
Authentic (12)
Neighborhood Gem (12)
See All
Good for Birthdays (12)
Good for a Date (9)
Good for Anniversaries (8)
Quiet Conversation (8)
Romantic (8)
Notable Wine List (8)
Casual (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Business Meals (5)
Comfort Food (5)
Cozy (5)
Creative Cuisine (5)
Fit for Foodies (5)
Pre/post Theatre (4)
Good for Groups (3)
Fun (3)
Gluten Free Options (2)
Late-night Find (2)
Great for Lunch (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Healthy (1)
Spicy (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
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329 reviews
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vip
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 6, 2017

Great food and service as always.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 1, 2017

Great food and personal experience.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 18, 2017

Loved our meal!! Great bread and olive oil served. Loved our waiter. Would definitely recommend.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Austin)·Dined on November 16, 2017

This is a unique and rare find for the Crystal City/Arlington area. This place will remind you of home and going out dinner with the family. Great food from a by gone era. Uber friendly service, from a wonderful staff from around the world. They so friendly. This place is such a gathering place, full tables, full of good food, good wines and beer and good conversation. Step out of DC and into the world of Portofino. You'll enjoy your trip.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 14, 2017

It has been too long since my last visit. The food is wonderful under the leadership of Ricardo who has not missed a step since taking over for his parents. In fact, it is getting better!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Exactly what we were looking for! Very cozy and romantic! Great food and delicious desserts!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem, Fun, Authentic, Late-night Find, Sunday Lunch, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 7, 2017

The food is always great. The service was a little slower and less attentive than normal it could have been because we were there right when it opened and not during the normal rush when we’ve always had great service.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Exceptional restaurant, service, food, and perdonalized treatment, which has remained consistent throughout its many years. This is a family-owned genuine Italian restaurant.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Good for Birthdays, Romantic, Healthy, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 29, 2017

Classic Italian menu well prepared. Place feels very 'old school' needs a freshening up of decor (worn out wood on chairs and carpet a bit worn. That said, food solid. Particularly liked the Italian Wedding Soup. Calimari undercooked. shrimp in pasta dish small and not flavorful. Servers pleasant, attentive. Adequate but wouldn't rush to go back.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 28, 2017

We were celebrating the family patriarch's (me) 85th birthday and couldn't have been more pleased with the treatment we received and the food we were served.

Tags: Authentic, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Notable Wine List, Fun, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 28, 2017

Loved the warm welcome by the hostess, followed by our waiter. The ambiance was nice and cozy. The wine by the bottle special from 5pm-6pm is great. The menu included classics and specialty items at fair prices. We enjoyed our meals and look forward to returning.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 28, 2017

‘White Tablecloth’ Italian food. Unfortunately the food was not seasoned at all. Either they ran or of salt that night, or they don’t ever season their food. Unfortunately it was bad. Don’t waste your time or money.

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food1
ambience2
service5
value1

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on October 24, 2017

Superb!
The venue gives you that homey feel, the manager is ever present without being overbearing, the waiters are top notch, and the food is fabulous!
On par ( and maybe even better than!) restaurants in New York's Little Italy!

Tags: Business Meals, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 15, 2017

Great Italian restaurant We brought friends to DC first visit Hunting quiet restaurant is hard and has good food this was a great find.

Tags: Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 13, 2017

Is there a restaurant in the DC area that doesn't overcook the pasta?

Overall Portofino's is a pretty decent place. The menu is varied, they had several specials to offer and the food tasted good. My friend had stuffed veal and I had tortellini with sausage in tomato sauce. I grew up in NY eating Italian food, so I can't rave about it, but it was good. The appetizers were tasty and they serve some nice bread too. But ... the tortellini was overcooked :(

Service was excellent, our waiter Julio was very knowledgeable about the menu, pleasant and attentive without being too intrusive.

The ambience isn't great, tables are close together and small. With an antipasto and our fruiti de mar appetizer there was hardly room on our table for two. It is a bit noisy. You can chalk it up to the charm of the place, though. It is in an old building on 23rd.

They do have an excellent deal on wine during happy hour 5-6.

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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 11, 2017

While the food was good, I thought the noise level -- even on a Wednesday evening -- was excessively loud. Service seemed slow. Took nearly one hour to receive our entrees.

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food4
ambience1
service2
value3

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 10, 2017

Having lived here for two decades, there's little new under the sun when it comes to dining. We have our limits like most people, so we also have our favorites. We now have a new favorite in Portofino. There are three Italian restaurants in our neighborhood (Fairfax City) we love, but we'll take the drive to come back here any time.

We happened to book an early dinner after work. We had no idea bottles of wine were half-price before 6 pm! (Good wine list; we had the Jordan chardonnay. Small bar for cocktails, too.)

The service was friendly and unpretentious, yet very respectful. Our appetizer--the antipasto--was a delicious adventure, and the salads were great. But the entrees! Yay! My shrimp fra diavolo was in a very light tomato broth, filled with peppers, shrimp, and pasta. Her seafood selection was scrumptious. We passed on dessert, but took a tiramisu to our coffee-loving neighbor watching our dog that evening--a big hit.

This was slightly upscale dining--entrees were $20-29 at its best. The owner came out to greet us and couldn't be more welcoming. I can't wait to return and further explore the menu.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Casual, Spicy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Nashville)·Dined on October 9, 2017

Great food, Richard is an excellent chef and owner. Great wine selection

Tags: Authentic, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (Dallas)·Dined on October 8, 2017

This was the second time my wife and I went there. The service, again, was below par. It took a while for us to be seated, even though we had reservations. A host lady kept coming back and forth, without telling us what was going on. Finally, we got seated, and the waiters come asking what we wanted, without providing us with a menu! Very awkward. The food is good, and the price reasonable. But the service could be improved.

Tags: Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience2
service1
value2

 
·Dined on October 8, 2017

Great service. We had a good time. Portions were a little small

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 27, 2017

A small group enjoyed a quiet dinner on a weeknight. Very good service from the friendly waiter. We were all satisfied with our food choices. Salads were fresh, butternut squash ravioli special was delicious. We were too full for dessert.
Good ambience; great parking (plenty of space in lot behind the restaurant, accessible down narrow driveways on each side of the stand-along restaurant).

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined on September 25, 2017

We were celebrating a family get together with members coming in from all over the country. The restaurant was easy to find and the menu selections provided something for everyone. All were extremely pleased with their selections. The wait staff was attentive without being annoying and let us enjoy the delicious meal and conversation without interruption. The noise level was a little high when all the tables were in use, but as the evening wore on and some of the tables emptied, it became more tolerable. Loved the bread!! Would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone. Thanks for a very enjoyable evening.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Groups, Authentic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Fayetteville)·Dined on September 13, 2017

Chose this restaurant based on 4-start Yelp rating. Service and atmosphere was great, but the food was very disappointing. Had the Veal Marsalla, which was mediocre at best. Took a piece of Ricotta Cheesecake back to my hotel, but after just a few bites flushed it down the toilet.

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food1
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 10, 2017

Portofino is an old-time family Northern Italian restaurant. The service is very gracious and attentive and adaptable. The food was delicious and ample, with many choices, some more traditional "Italian restaurant" dishes and some more spruced up or modernized. It's not cheap but worth paying a little extra for quality. Gluten-free pasta was available with a number of dishes, and I think they would substitute it in others if asked.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good Vegetarian Options, Comfort Food, Authentic, Gluten Free Options, Casual, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on September 9, 2017

Our umpteenth time at Portofino, and once again, everything from the service to the wine to the food to the ambiance pleased everyone. Our guests especially were taken by the entire setting. They are locals (we weren't) and had never been there despite living nearby, but promised to return when they had some special occasion to celebrate. Or even just for a great Italian dinner, no special occasion required.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Good for a Date, Authentic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on September 6, 2017

This is my favorite restaurant in the DC area. Once again our meals were great and we were treated extremely well.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Notable Wine List, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Denver)·Dined on September 3, 2017

Not happy at all. Worst meal weve had. Probably ever. This place makes fast food Italian restaurants seem like 5 star. And those are not good.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food1
ambience1
service2
value1

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 2, 2017

The food is consistently good and they usually have a great specials list. Don't hesitate to ask the waitstaff for recommendations. Let them know what you like and they'll be happy to recommend something.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Casual, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Gluten Free Options, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Orange County)·Dined on August 30, 2017

Had a wonderful time. Wait staff was attentive and the food was amazing.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 30, 2017

The food was good; however, the restaurant has a musty and old smell. It is not easily handicapped accessible and we had to enter through an exit door with a very ugly exterior and it was difficult to maneuver the wheel chair on the outdoor stones. This restaurant needs an overhaul! Don't plan to return.

Tags: Comfort Food
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food4
ambience1
service4
value2

 
·Dined on August 30, 2017

The entire staff is lovely, the chef that night was outstanding and the atmosphere was wonderful. In a time where everything is a little too loud and a little too fast, my team loved relaxing in your space. We felt very at-home. Will return again!

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Afternoon Tea, Tasting Menu, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on August 22, 2017

Very dirty. Food was NOT what we expected especially for the price! Marinara was very watery and flavorless.. veal was tough...... service was fair. House wine was terrible. Tasted like it was right out of the box.... will not go back. Food appearances were nice but NO taste!

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food3
ambience3
service3
value2

 
 (Naples)·Dined on August 12, 2017

My family was staying at one of the hotels close to the airport and wanted to have dinner at a non-chain restaurant. We found Portofino, read the reviews and decided to give it a try. The food was very good and reasonably priced.

Tags: Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on August 11, 2017

Very entertaining (and polite) wait staff. Good (though not great) food. Excellent beet and avocado salad and a decent wine list.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Tampa)·Dined on August 6, 2017

So I hate to be a complainer so I'll start off with the positive. We were seated. Server was very enthusiastic. Served our bottle of wine (Chardonnay a bit warm) bread & olive oil. Told us specials and note-we had 3 children with us, 8, 11 & 15. He shared that he would be able to serve kids 1/2 orders of pasta or chicken fingers.

Ok, we ordered...and let the kids order themselves. They ordered pasta, 2 penne w/butter and meatballs, 1 penne with red sauce and meatballs.

Rolled eggplant app came out--DELISH!

Calamari--yum, small but good.

Caesar w anchovies--good!

Minestrone--so so. Mushroom soup--so so.

Dinners, sole was good, chicken dishes good

Kids meals come out, FULL giant plates of pasta for $20 a piece. We mentioned this to the server who did not seem to think it was crazy that he brought, at least the little 2 hear giant plates of pasta. Really disappointing. Clearly left a bad taste in our mouth. We won't be back. No remorse.

Desert sounded good but at this point we were full and annoyed.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience3
service2
value3

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 6, 2017

The food was excellent...great selection...terrific specials....outstanding value.
Service was also outstanding. The owner visited every table to be sure everyone was having a great experience.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Authentic, Business Meals, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Richmond)·Dined on August 1, 2017

Great service and food

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on July 31, 2017

My husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Portofino yesterday afternoon. We were greeted warmly by Akash the moment we walked in the door. He took us to our table and provided us with the specials for the day. We chose the mussels and the portobello mushroom apps. For the main course we had the Bocconcini Dello Chef (Braised, stuffed veal with fresh mushrooms in a sherry wine sauce) as well as the Omaggi Di Nettuno (Combination of lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, and fresh mushrooms in brandy cream sauce served over fettucine). Everything was delicious but the stand out was the Omaggi!!!

I was weary about the "brandy cream sauce" as I more prefer light wine, lemon, butter, or tomato based sauces but another wonderful server assured me that it was not to creamy and I would enjoy the dish. He was absolutely correct; the sauce was perfect and the flavors were amazing!!

We will definitely be returning-the chef, the servers, as well as the bus boys collectively provided a great dining experience. Much thanks to Akash and the entire staff for the awesome service!

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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 28, 2017

Fantastic little authentic Italian restaurant. Located in a refurbished older home. Was not impressed by outside appearance of it, but was pleasantly pleased once we went inside.
Service was fantastic. Friendly, prompt, and very helpful when ordering.
Food was "over the top".
I had the Chicken Marsala. The best I have ever had. By far.
Will definitely return here whenever I am in the Arlington/Crystal City area.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Casual, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on July 25, 2017

This special place and staff always guarantees a memorable experience.

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food4
ambience4
service5

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