The Portage is a gastropub located in the Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago. It is decorated with trendy lighting, contemporary artwork and large windows that allow for plenty of natural light. The overall atmosphere is laid-back and casual.
The Portage is open for both brunch and dinner and has an eclectic menu of pub and soul food. Popular dishes include butternut squash and mushroom pot stickers, chocolate pretzel bread pudding, grilled skirt steak and roasted Miller Farms Amish chicken. In addition, The Portage offers a wide variety of coffee and after-dinner beverages for guests to choose from. Desserts change throughout the year, so guests can enjoy seasonal treats like the pumpkin cupcake.
I love this place but something has to be done about the seating. If you end up in the middle tables you are constantly bumped into whenever anyone walks by. We asked to be moved to a corner table and were told it was taken by a party who had just walked in the door. It settled down a bit after the 2 families with toddlers left (which I cannot blame the restaurant for the shrieking of the children). However they have a back room which I have asked to be moved to on a different visit. and they wouldn't do it saying it wasn't set up.
I truly love this restaurant and hope for its success. However they have to make the atmosphere less chaotic so one can have a conversation.
Thank goodness we refused the table in the main area of the restaurant and dined in the tiny back room. If we had not I doubt we could have heard each other during dinner and enjoyed our dinner conversation. The food was excellent from an appetizer of French fries to the salads and entrees. The house made ice cream is very good. Tables are very close together and your conversation can easily be heard at other tables and you can hear their conversations.
Great service and inventive menu options.
I've been to The Portage several times. It's good, but I've never been blown away. I went there recently on a Sunday night so it wasn't busy. We ordered from the cocktail menu, which took some time because the cocktails are lengthy lists of ingredients that don't always sound like they go together. We got our appetizers before the cocktails arrived, and I happened to see the young bartender working tediously at the drinks. I appreciate the freshly squeezed lime juice, but the end result was hardly worth the effort. I'll just order beer or wine if I ever go back. The waiter thought he was being helpful by reciting exactly what was already on the menu, but he wouldn't tell us what was popular or good, so we ordered burgers (which were excellent), as was the wine and the coffee. I found the whole experience a bit pretentious for what it actually was.
Intimate, warm and cozy. This neighborhood gem is a surprising find for the area. Reservations aren't always needed, but the restaurant is small so get them to be safe. My husband and I recently introduced friends to the restaurant who loved it., and we were reminded again of how good it is. We also like eating at the bar which part of the front room. It can get loud if it is full because it is small, so if you want a very quite restaurant, go elsewhere. If you want style, charm, warmth and some energy along with an interesting menu, try The Portage. The staff is very friendly and attentive.
My wife and I celebrated valentines there. Considering the restaurant is located in a low-key neighborhood, overall, the food and ambiance was very good. I will go back. :)
My wife and I went here for Valentines Day this year. They had a special menu for the holiday and it was amazing!
I loved the food, very polished and creative, but the service was some of the best I've ever had outside of Michelin star rated restaraunts. You truly felt well cared for. Thanks.
The Portage is a great neighborhood spot that serves outstanding food. Definitely not what you would expect when you see it from the outside. Service is great; food phenomenal. If you haven't been there -- go check it out. Can't wait to go back.
My wife and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary at The Portage, and we truly enjoyed the experience. The food was exquisite, and the waitstaff were superb. Kudos to all at The Portage! We'll be back soon!
Great Place. True neighborhood place. Friendly owners, great food And awesome beer and wine list. Be sure to have a reservation on weekends because it is small and the word is out on how awesome it is!
Excellent food, good service, friendly place. Convenient parking.
Tuna & skirt steak were delicious.
Table near the door was drafty in the cold winter weather. Otherwise, an excellent choice.
We were really looking forward to this meal, but left thinking it was so-so. First, the space itself. This is a cozy restaurant and the noise level is higher than I expected. It is also cramped. We were seated at a two top that was at the crossroads of the dining area and bar, plus the direct path to the kitchen. Not terribly comfortable or conducive to a romantic conversation. Next, the service. We felt hurried through the meal and our server seemed more interested in turning the table, rather than helping us have a good experience. Finally, the food. We had the dates which were very good to start. We had a couple of pork,dishes which were good, but not very memorable. The desert was nice, but again not memorable. In fact, the highlight of the meal was the cocktail-- have the English 75. We were hoping for a neighborhood gem to frequent, but this one fell a bit short. We will try again, in hopes this was simply an off night.
We've been to The Portage several times and have introduced several of our friends to the restaurant and I guess the best compliment you can give a restaurant would be that your friends report that they have been going to the restaurant on other occasions without you.
It is small and sometimes "tight", and when guests linger (who wouldn't want to) reservations can run a bit behind, but with a good cocktail and a nice conversation with friends, the time passes and the food is worth the wait.
Quay is always welcoming and gracious and the service is consistently smooth and efficient.
What more can a diner ask for in this neighborhood gem.
Food was fantastic! So much flavor in everything we had!
Every time I eat at the Portage I walk away satisfied! I have tried nearly everything from the menu, and was pleased to see a lot of small changes. This prompted us to try even more than usual and we ate a lot of food between two people.. Everything that we ate was incredible: pickled shrimp and beet salad, gnocchi, pork, black cod, scallops, banana bread pudding! The staff is always incredibly friendly and attentive. We have been loyal patrons and will continue to be so! Highly recommended!
We absolutely love this place! We are regular customers and have yet to have a bad meal. But beyond the inspired food, the service is exceptional. We are always treated as if we are dining at a friend's home when we go there. The place is cozy but lively and the staff friendly, knowledgeable and friendly. While we want the Portage to be successful, we hope that it doesn't catch on too much and make it difficult for us to get a table. Selfish, I know, but what can we say. Just keep this to yourself. :-)
If you are looking for sophisticated dining without going into the city and paying $28 to park, try The Portage. Lovely, romantic atmosphere, good cocktails, delicious food with interesting ingredients. Quiet pleasant service but perhaps a little too much explanation about the food. We already know food. Don't give us the tourist explanation unless we ask. Other than that, nice pairings of ingredients.
Four of us dined Sunday. The restaurant was really busy which seemed to surprise the staff. Casey was our server. Very pleasant, helpful and fun. He kept the place going and we had great service. The chicken is a great way to go. The fish of the day was also enjoyed by 2 in our party.
Good wine list with reasonable prices. Parking is fairly easy in this neighborhood place.
Aside from the walnut she'll in the beet salad, which was missing something but still delicious, everything was perfect.
Server was knowledgable of both food and drink menus. Service in general was top notch. Food was excellent with exception noted above.
First course -- Gnioche and Bacon Wrapped Dates
Second course -- Beet Salad and Crab Salad
Third course -- Chicken and Waffles was inventive and perfectly executed. Seafood Risotto was cooked perfectly.
Dessert -- Apple Cobbler and Chocolate Pretzel Bread Pudding both supreme. But if cornered go with bread pudding.
This is the kind of restaurant Portage Park can showcase.
We'll be back. I am already anticipating the Burger and Duck Fat Fries.
My husband took me here for a surprise dinner in the city. Parking was free and located in a safe neighborhood which was a huge perk. Upon walking in, you notice a small venue that's dark but warm with maybe 20 tables from what I could see. The service was great but the food was frankly nothing to brag about. I ordered their burger and my husband ordered their rendition of chicken and waffles. Each were beautifully plated and decent in portion size; however, the taste really lacked in both dishes making the entire experience for us just average. If you're not located near the location, I would say it isn't worth the drive.
The food was very good with many gluten free items that I need. It was very crowded and the tables are close together. The noise level was overwhelming and at times we ould not hear each other.
Never had duck fat fries before. They were wonderful. Loved the sciracha aioli! We had 4 different entrees and all 4 of us loved our meals. I had sea scallops and they were tender without being squishy, firm without being hard. Came with green papaya sliced very thinly with a wonderful vinaigrette!
Server was highly attentive but unobtrusive. Kid menu just right: healthy, not fussy, portioned right for an 8 year old with a good appetite. Appetizers & main course all hits. Dessert missed the spot, but that I'm a purist when it comes to creme brûlée. Maybe others enjoy a heavy mint/ginger flavor. Paid good attention to our table with a birthday and 2 older children. Absolutely a hit. Will go back. Will recommend to friends.
The menu and our waiter Casey was awesome as always. We lioved the new chicken dish replacing the fried one (although passed on the waffles part).. Also had scallops ... Very very good as were the fig bacon appetizers and the duck fat fries. Biggest issue was the bar service was extremely slow ... Casey kept on having to apologize for the long drink wait and in the end we were there so long that we ended up passing on dessert and we normally would not have there, but some people were just tired due to the slow start.
I love this place. It's unpretentious, friendly, reasonably priced and the food is delicious. The only issue I have with this place is that it's a little too cozy. The tables are very small and very close together and almost uncomfortable. We asked to sit in the back room and they said that they were not using the back room that night. Although there wasn't a line out the door, I can see them putting one or two fewer tables in the front area and just spreading out to the back. They did also mention that the back room is colder because of the doors that open into the back garden. Regardless, they should take care of it...
Otherwise, I have no complaints about the food or the service.
Fabulous food. Lovely evening. That's why I go out. What's the point otherwise ? Bravo Portage!
After a drought of good restaurants in the Portage Park area we finally have a gem in The Portage. Great food, attentive staff, fun bar and genial host. Will keep coming back!!!
Born and raised in the Portage Park neighborhood, so when I learned The Portage restaurant opened, I was excited to try it. And The Portage did not disappoint! This restaurant is a hidden gem in the neighborhood, offering an ever-changing menu of American gastropub fare. It's a lovely place for a romantic dinner or to stop in for drinks and appetizers.
I recommend the bacon wrapped dates and the duck fat fries to start. They even make their own ice cream, so be adventurous and try their homemade buttered popcorn flavor. This is a great spot to celebrate a special occasion with a small group. The service is fast and friendly, and the drink menu has a nice variety of craft beer, wine, and creative cocktails. You should also check out the the outdoor patio in the summer.
We have never been disappointed. Chef Joey is always doing something new, creative, and great.
Quay your host makes everyone feel welcome and special. Small but extremely friendly. We recommend The Portage to everyone.
I've been going to this restaurant for about a year and a half. The affable owner/chef is clearly committed to quality, and the wait staff is pleasant. The "word" is out on this local gem, because it is packed on the weekends. The indoor dining area is small, so it can be a bit noisy, but when the weather is nice, the outdoor patio is great. The menu offers a nice but not overwhelming array of selections, and everything is delicious. Meals here are affordable and consistently delicious.
We went on the recommendation of a friend and were delighted from the moment we spotted to the place until the time we left. Upon our arrival, a bit earlier than the party we were meeting, we had a drink at the bar with Kaitlin(?). She gave us the details on the restaurant using local or vendors within a one hundred mile radius and that the owner was opening a new restaurant in the near future. I'd deem her to be a mixologist as well- The gin and cucumber drink was light, refreshing and delicious. Our waiter, Jose, was also extremely knowledge and friendly. The food we ordered ranged from the chicken and waffles to the brisket. We all tried each other's food and every morsel gave a tasty delight to the palate. Amazing restaurant!!!
The Portage has become on of our favorite little gems for good food and drinks. Caitlin mixes some great custom cocktail options and Quay always makes you feel appreciated and at home.
The Portage is a great neighborhood restaurant. As we waited for our table the bartender recommended a wonderful beer. We had three entrees, the glazed chicken on waffle was terrific, steak dish was great (though a the portion was a bit small) and the fish of the day was meh (wish I had ordered the chicken or steak). We truly enjoyed The Portage. Two suggestions: include women wait staff and create an area to stand while waiting for a table.
My husband and I found the Portage to be a really 'hip' place. It's a crowded, lively place, but the mood is light, boisterous, and happy. The noise level comes from people enjoying good conversation at their leisure. The crowd is well behaved and intelligent. The service staff is very attentive and all college kids. The food is OUTSTANDING. What we liked best, is that the restaurant does not rush the diner to leave. It's perfect for a fun evening of conversation while enjoying terrific food.
Saw The Portage on Check Please. The place in hard to find and tiny (maybe ten tables) -- and it's cramped. My chair was constantly bumped by servers and other patrons. (I am told they have a large outdoor patio but it was no open in November.) Menu is diverse and interesting - and reasonably priced. Every dish we had was delicious -- a great combination of flavors and ingredients. Service is attentive. I would like to see a broader selection of wines by the glass.
several food items were just ok. My favorite dish was the ramen. I tried the duck fat fries, fried chicken thighs, bacon wrapped dates, pork tenderloin.
I love this cozy restaurant, but it has an inconsistent menu. Our server was friendly, although bar service was slow. We ordered a bottle of wine and two cocktails - the wine came immediately, one cocktail came much later, and the second cocktail was MUCH later with no explanation. Brussel sprout appetizer was fantastic! We ordered the skate wing (fish special) it was moist and delicious (and more brussel sprouts!). The brisket was dry and not very flavorful. Others had the scallops-very good, and the noodle dish - which was disappointing. Desserts were very good. We sat in the "library"- a corridor between the restaurant and the back patio. The door opening and closing all night was a distraction and a bit chilly.
Second time here. Took some friends with us this time, and everyone loved it. Great beer selection, something for everyone on the menu (try the gnocchi), and exceptional service.
Great place to meet with my friends who live downtown and be able to enjoy fine dining food and downtown neighborhood atmosphere. Outdoor patio is stellar and service is great. Small, but interesting wine list, as well as seasonal cocktails.