With Italy unmoored from its anti-antigravity tethers, it has become increasingly difficult to get top-notch Italian cuisine without the aid of 70-story stilts and industrial-sized butterfly nets. Return to a simpler era of Italian-cuisine consumption with today's Groupon. For $15, you get $35 worth of fine food and drink at Portalli's, located in Ellicott City, approximately 12 miles west of downtown Baltimore.
Using an array of supermagnets and the culinary prowess of Executive Chef Keith Holsey, Portalli's positions a lasagna nimbus cloud of traditional Italian dishes over the heads of diners, with pasta precipitation ready to rain down on forks and knives. The restaurant aims to bring back the Italian tradition of multi-course dinners; as such, portions, while generous, are sized to allow for numerous plates throughout the meal. Portalli's extensive menu features antipasti favorite such as bruschetta ($7) and calamari ($10), as well as tried-and-true pasta dishes, including spaghetti and house-made veal and beef meatballs ($10) in a homemade marinara sauce; vegetable lasagna ($12); and gnocchi ($12) made with the freshest local produce available, based on the season. Fish fanatics can sink hook-hands into pan-seared sea scallops ($16) or prawn scampi ($16), while meatmeisters may opt for veal short ribs ($16) or a braised lamb shank ($18). In addition to a savory selection of cocktails ($6.50+), Portalli's also offers numerous Italian wines available by the glass and by the bottle, with Portalli's servers specially trained in the twin arts of wine-matching and mine-watching.
Portalli's is housed in a historic building, with an elegant exterior façade matched by the dignified décor of the dining room. Warm orange paint and deep black wood line the walls, with white tablecloths and classical lighting fixtures adding ornate openness and Mediterranean magnificence to the surroundings. Put on your pasta poncho and visit Portalli's for fine Italian dining and groan-inducing Lady and the Tramp recreations.
The Baltimore Sun calls Portalli's a "pretty lovable Italian restaurant," and diners all across Baltimore seem to share the sentiment. A Diners' Choice winner, the Italian restaurant gets four stars from Open Table foodies and four more from four Yahoo! Locals:
- Some of these dishes are described, at the table, as American versions of Italian classics, which makes sense enough. What wasn't entirely conveyed was that Portalli's portions and prices have been calibrated small enough to encourage diners to make a traditional, Italian-style, four-course meal. – Richard Gorelick, Baltimore Sun
- We eat out a couple times a week all over MD, and I can say this place ranks in the top 10 based on our experience. – Tallisker, Yahoo! Local
Portalli's Chef Keith Holsey portions his dishes according to the traditional Italian four-course meal. This doesn't stop the chef from crafting a menu of creatively interpreted Italian classics, though, such as Cioppino over fettuccine or Salmon con Granchio. Chef Holsey's creations consist of uncomplicated flavors that, according to the Baltimore Sun, allow "good and simple ingredients to work together." Portalli's also caters to families with dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs or meatball flatbread pizza, which teaches kids about fractions so they don't have to learn about them on the street.
8085 Main Street
Ellicott City, Maryland 21043Get Directions