Portofino is an Italian Restaurant on the Detroit River. Portofino is an area landmark and has been serving customers for over 30 years! They have a main dining room as well as a seasonal patio, all-season deck, and several banquet rooms. Portofino also offers theme dinners and cruises down the river.
We walked in and were asked if we wanted to sit outside or inside. I was glad we chose inside because it was over 90 degrees out and the outside tables do not have umbrellas, so the diners out there had the hot sun beating down on them. We were seated immediately at a table by the window, looking out at the river. From our table I had a great view of the Detroit skyline in the distance. The staff seemed friendly but I would say they were overstaffed. There were three people at the hostess stand and a group of 3 or 4 servers stood in a group, chatting on the patio. Our server was very attentive. Soon after we sat down, she came by for our drink orders and quickly brought out our selections.
The menu is broken up into Antipasto (appetizers), Insalata (salads), Pranzo (sandwiches served with fries), Pasta, Pesce (seafood), Pollo (chicken), Carne di Vitello (veal), and Carne (meat). They also have separate beer, wine, and banquet menus.
Its important to note that all entrees come with a salad, rolls, and the chef’s daily starch and vegetable. The salad has lettuce, red onions, grape tomatoes, and dried cranberries. I ordered ranch dressing which does not go good with dried cranberries. Keep this in mind because the salad is not described on the menu. The rolls were served warm and were very light and buttery. When I visited, the starch was mashed potatoes and the vegetable was zucchini and carrots. The mashed potatoes were made from real potatoes and were light and fluffy. The vegetables were a nice texture and had a savory, butter taste.
I decided to order out of my comfort zone and try the Shrimp and Crab Cakes which was served with a whole grain mustard aioli. I was served two cakes, each about the size of a fist, that were drizzled with the delicious mustard sauce. The shrimp added a firmer texture to the crab cakes that made this dish so delicious! The shrimp and crab mixed together so perfectly that I did not want it to end!
We also had the Chicken Parmesan that was served with a side of spaghetti and the vegetables. It was quite good but there was not enough cheese. I was really hoping for some DeLuca’s style smothered Chicken Parmesan and this was just not it. From the two entrees I had, it seemed like the seafood was the real winner and the Italian was secondary.
When we finished our entrees, our server told us their dessert selections. That day they had cannolis, creme brulee, and chocolate lava cake. If you ask, they also have vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. I was tempted by the creme brulee but decided to try the chocolate lava cake which is a warm chocolate cake filled with chocolate sauce and covered with cherries. Lava it was! The cake came out steaming! It was a very chocolaty and pretty much exactly what I was expecting.
Overall, I would definitely go back to Portofino! If you are a seafood eater, try one of the many seafood selections and if not they have many other options as well! The views from the restaurant are absolutely beautiful and if its not too hot outside, the views from the patio can only be better!
Portofino is located on the Detroit River at 3455 Biddle Ave in Wyandotte! To learn more about Portofino (the restaurant and the history) visit portofinoontheriver.com. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.