2016-12-28 / Restaurant of the Week

Portofino Ristorante

How many restaurants can you name that have been around for 42 years? You can probably count them on one hand and my number one choice would be Portofino Ristorante on the corner of Ascan Avenue and Queens Blvd. The menu says “Welcome to Forest Hills, Italy,” where you’ll be caressed in comfort while enjoying traditional Italian cuisine and wines to please every palate. Besides the excellent food and service, you’ll find the enigmatic Carmine, who is so beloved, he gets Christmas presents from his customers! Together with George, our charming waiter, and the rest of the expert crew, you’re assured to have a great meal at Portofino.

A festive, all-inclusive New Year’s Eve will take place from 9pm to 2am, with a 6-course meal including wine pairings and open bar, champagne, and live music for $129.99/person. With selections that include crab cakes, rigatoni, and filet mignon, Chilean sea bass, grilled veal chop, and their decadent desserts, what a way this is to ring in the New Year. Pick up the phone now to make your reservations.

Every Tuesday, loyal diners stream in for the all-you-can-eat buffet which starts at 6pm and provides a splendid array of many of Portofino’s excellent pasta, chicken, meat, and fish dishes, while live music plays in the background. Piano music also fills the air on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and that’s a great time to enjoy Portofino’s inventive specials. Portofino remains consistent in its quality and service, yet adapts to its customers’ preferences. The new menu has been redesigned to focus on everyone’s favorites, and a kid’s menu has been added. Don’t miss the fantastic nightly specials, which make deciding even harder. Chicken pastina soup warmed us up while the buttery buratta mozzarella melted in our mouths. Risotto with scallops, shrimp, and mascarpone or pappardelle pasta with chunks of filet mignon were just some of the specials. Portofino’s fish can’t be beat, with kudos for the filet of red snapper with shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and white wine sauce.

Start with a cocktail from their updated cocktail list or a bottle of wine to go with the tempting appetizers. The roasted beet salad was topped with goat cheese and the cold Tuscan antipasto offers your favorite cuts of cured prosciutto, salami, cheeses, fresh mozzarella, and artichoke hearts topped with shaved Reggiano Parmigiano, just perfect for sharing ($14.95). The mussels, steamed with garlic and white wine, are so delicious, and the broth begs to be soaked up with the warm garlic bread brought to your table. I love the carpaccio of beef, which is paper-thin slices of raw sirloin surrounded by arugula and tomatoes, topped with shaved Parmigiano cheese, drizzled with fine olive oil. The hot antipasto platter is loaded with juicy shrimp, clams, mussels, stuffed mushrooms and fresh eggplant rollatini ($15.95). Portofino’s pasta would make any ‘nonna’ proud. Spaghetti mare e monte is topped with shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Light, fluffy cheese ravioli, butternut squash ravioli, or lobster ravioli topped with a light cream sauce are great choices. Gnocchi al sugo Toscana are light, toothsome bites topped with a rich meat sauce with diced mushrooms. Baked pasta dishes are the perfect comfort food such as stuffed shells, baked ziti, and lasagna, which my companion just loved, taking home a substantial portion for dinner the next day.

Roasted salmon with grilled vegetables makes for a light and healthy dinner, as does the whole Branzino, oven-roasted with lemon, garlic, and fine olive oil. Shrimp oreganata and filet of Sole are always on the menu. If you prefer “turf” you can’t go wrong with the grilled ribeye steak, grilled skirt steak, veal chops, or juicy lamb chops served with gorgonzola polenta.

Chicken Valdostana is their most popular dish, stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella in a mushroom Marsala sauce. Chicken piccata has a light, lemony butter sauce or you can order your favorite sautéed chicken or veal dish including marsala, francese, saltimbocca, or Parmigiana style.

Portofino offers a complete Lunch menu for $16.95 including soup, entrée, and dessert. Let Portofino host your Business luncheon, bereavement luncheon, or any private event, day or night.

Save room for dessert, as you’ll be tempted by the display tray of tiramisu, zabaglione with fresh berries, cheese cake, and flan. Hurry up and reserve for New Year’s Eve and make your next private event a huge success at Portofino, where life is always a party. Portofino is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11 am to 11 pm. There’s a Sunday brunch buffet too, with live music. Portofino Ristorante is easy to reach with the E or F trains, and there’s valet parking. Visit Portofino Ristorante in Forest Hills, Italy, where old friends and good food meet. Celebrating 42 years and still going strong!

109-32 Ascan Avenue
Forest Hills  718.261.1239


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