This Italian restaurant located in Disney's Downtown area is a great place to escape for calm and good food.
During a recent spring break trip to Orlando I sought out the Portobello Yacht Club for a late lunch. I had read reviews, many which touted the upscale nature of the restaurant and quality of food. Some reviews were spot on while others were way off the mark.
I cannot in good conscience refer to someplace with white paper on the tables and crayons as as "fine dining." The atmosphere is pleasant. It has a definite nautical theme, but it is not as over in your face as the Fulton's Crab House located next door. As the name implies the Portobello Yacht Club is located on the water. To be specific it is located on a lagoon, with boats taking tourists to and from condos on the other side of the lake. It helped to create the desired ambience of leisurely dining by the water.
My waiter, Tommy, was pleasant and helpful without being bothersome. I was brought bread, butter, and a whole head of roasted garlic. This was large enough for two to share and could substitute for an appetizer. I ordered the Brick Oven Baked Tuscan Cheese, a delicious combination of melted mozzarella and provolone cheese that came with toasted sliced of baguette. This was a good size appetizer for $8.95, easily shared between 2-4 people. The cheese was served in a small iron skillet which kept the cheese hot for a considerable time, allowing it to be enjoyed without rushing.
My main course was the Wood Roasted Trout. It was served with artichoke hearts, potatoes, kalamata olives, and capers swimming in a lemon butter sauce. It was half a trout, nicely filleted ($14.95). I was told by Tommy that the dinner portion was much larger. The trout was very tasty, but the artichokes, olive, and potatoes were a bit salty. I think the dish would benefit by adding the olives at the very last second. If you are on a low sodium diet avoid this dish. I accompanied both my appetizer and main dish with a very nice Borgo Conventi Sauvignon Blanc.
To conclude my meal I decided on the Gelato Sampler. You can try all flavors or a choice of 3. I opted to try the stracciatella, pistachio, and chocolate orange ($6.95). Tommy commented that the stracciatella was good, but not of the same quality as the pistachio, and chocolate orange. I enjoy vanilla ice cream and so decided that to try it anyway. Tommy was right. The stracciatella was very good, but the pistachio wa excellent. It is in fact made with real pistachios. That may sound funny, but many pistachio ice creams have almonds instead. The chocolate orange was marvelous! The gelato is served in small metal cups to help it stay cold. The servings were the perfect size for such full flavored gelati. I had to refrain from licking the chocolate orange remnants from the cup. To accompany my gelato I had one of the best cups of cappuccino I have had outside of Italy.
To best enjoy the food at the Portobello Yacht Club remove from your mind dishes that you may expect on Italian menus. There are kid menu featuring dishes such as pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers. There is also a budget friendly lunch combo of soup or salad and a half panini for $9.95. Considering you also receive the refreshing atmosphere and convivial service this is a steal in Orlando.