Italian cuisine was born when, after building the city of Rome, Romulus and Remus discovered Greece didn’t deliver to their new address. Taste the origins of an empire with today’s Groupon to Portalli’s in Ellicott City. Choose between the following options:
- For $45, you get a five-course Italian dinner for two from the prix fixe menu (up to a $91 total value) that includes:
- One antipasto dish (up to a $10 value)
- Two salads (a $6 value each)
- Two pasta dishes (up to a $12 value each)
- Two entrees (up to a $19 value each)
- One dessert (a $7 value)<p>
- For $85, you get a five-course dinner for four from the prix fixe menu (up to a $182 total value) that includes:
- Two antipasto dishes (up to a $10 value each)
- Four salads (a $6 value each)
- Four pasta dishes (up to a $12 value each)
- Four entrees (up to a $19 value each)
- Two desserts (a $7 value each)<p>
Portalli’s celebrates traditional Italian dining with a prix fixe menu of special preparations that appeal to families and discerning foodies alike and service that earned praise from Richard Gorelick of the Baltimore Sun. Parties warm up jaw muscles for marathon chewing sessions with slices of bruschetta dressed in a mélange of white beans, roma tomato, and drizzles of balsamic glaze. The Portalli salad hosts poached pears atop baby greens; gnocchi arrives to tables adorned with seasonal local produce. Teeth can then tear into a tender flatiron steak simmering beneath a dijon-peppercorn sauce or a broiled-crab-and-saffron risotto cake in which crustaceans sate stomachs with roasted peppers rather than wasting time singing under the sea. Dessert entitles each diner to a single serving of cannoli, in which sweet ricotta peeps temptingly from its rolled pastry shell. Each of Portalli’s portions is sized to satisfy stomachs, delight variety-seeking taste buds, and indulge desires to feel like a giant. Portalli’s interior swathes guests in stylish comfort with a warm mauve palette, slits of sunlight streaming in through the ceiling, and ornate sconces spaced along the walls. Gaggles of diners chuckle and trade theories about the origins of the first human pyramid over crisp white tablecloths and ebony dining chairs.
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.