As Someone who’s Allergic to Mushrooms…

You would think there would be some trepidation before sitting down to eat at a place named Portobello.  But during our recent to trip to this Downtown Disney restaurant, our waitress Lisa greeted us promptly after we sat down, and did not miss a beat before asking us if we had any allergy concerns.  She made me feel really comfortable and at ease– A feeling for which I am eternally grateful, because this wonderful Italian restaurant proved to be a meal not to be missed.

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John ordered the signature lemonade, Local Honey Lemonade–lemonade enhanced with winter park orange blossom honey.  Being a honey purist as well as a lemonade connoisseur, I think he was in heaven.

We began our meal with the iconic roasted garlic that Portobello is known for.  SImply spread it on to Portobello’s warm crusty bread-rolls and watch it melt like butter.  John loaded up his roll with so much of the stuff that I was compelled to ask, “would you ilke some bread with that garlic?”  Luckily, I know how much he loves garlic so I wasn’t too alarmed!

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Now that I was reassured no vampires would attack tonight, Lisa presented me with Portebello’s soup of the day, Minestrone.  Combining fresh vegetables in a chicken stock base, the Italian flavors were simple but excellent, becoming even more pronounced when I dunked Portobello’s herb dinner rolls into it.

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Fried mozzarella rice balls came out next.  Very unique in flavor, they are how I would imagine a portable pizza ball to taste.  The [rice] risotto melted right into the cheese and combined to create this italian version of a tempura roll (minus the seaweed).  The red marinara sauce was so flavorful and the combination celebrates everything good about melted cheese and fried pasta resulting in a party in my mouth.

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The feast continued when our entrees arrived: Grilled chicken for me, and Spaghetti with fresh vegetables for John.  Just looking at the large cuts of zucchini on his place had my mouth watering.  The balance of vegetables to pasta was perfect and a the red sauce tied it all together brilliantly.

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Before I could start drooling on the table they presented me with my own grilled chicken.  The half a chicken piled high atop of the grilled potatoes only reinforced one fact: if there is one place to order grilled chicken from it is Portobello.  They cooked it to absolute perfection and served it with sautéed red skinned potatoes that had the just the right amount of Italian herbs and “crunch” to them.

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I can not remember the last time I had a meal this good.  The flavor transported me back to my mother’s kitchen and her chicken.  Despite the fact that it’s been over a year since I have been home for a home cooked meal, I felt like she, a nursery school teacher over 2,000 miles away, had somehow become the head chef of Portobellos and made this plate just for me.  I relished every single bite of this huge plate, wishing it would never end

From the incredible service to a wonderful meal, our dinner at Portobello’s was fantastic.  Every detail was accounted for, and personally it was the nicest meal I’ve had in a long while.

Portobello is located in the Pleasure Island section of Downtown Disney.  They are open Monday through Friday from Lunch 11:30 am 11:00 pm.

You can make reservations at Disneydining.com or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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