Although a single visit may not qualify me to review Portofino in any depth, first impressions can be valuable. I did vist this eatery years ago when it first opened, and in those days it was more Pizzeria. Now it has a very extensive menu indeed.
As a group of four we sampled Portofino on Easter Monday. Our reserved table was available and service was prompt and reasonably attentive. I would say that it was about 35% occupied, and my first thought was of noise. In perhaps Italian style most surfaces were hard bare timber and ceramic wall tiles with the resultant acoustics making any conversation below shout volume quite difficult. The underlying bass thumping of the music system did nothing to help.
Behind the counter there seemed to be some sort of altercation going on between staff, with lots of waving of dockets, stabbing fingers and wiping of brows. Don't ask.
Directly opposite to my seat were some prominent and rather unfriendly wall notices, all in large red type. 'Intoxicated patrons will not be served' and 'No ID, No Service, No Exeptions', or words to that effect. Turning to the menu I found similarly admonitory conditions: 'Minimum order per client, one maincourse meal' and 'Only one order per table'. It appeared to me that in a city like New Plymouth with its huge over-supply of restaurants, snack-bars and take-outs, Portofino must be very sure of its commercial situation to be able to dictate the terms on which it will accept its patrons money.
As I have said, the decor is in trattoria style with bare wooden tables and one knife, one fork and one paper napkin per person. Paper? Yes, but at least it bore the Portofino logo.
Having dealt with most of the gripes, the menu is certainly extensive, if overpriced, with a plate of scampi at over $50. A reasonable range of entres, followed by a selection of seafood - mostly prawn, squid or scallop based (almost certainly pre-frozen), a whole page of pasta based meals and pizzas, and a selection of meat and fish.
Three of us chose the 'Fish of the day', which was gurnard fillets on rice with a piquant caper and india-rubber shrimp dressing. (Pre-frozen, pre-cooked shrimp are a trap for any cook!) The whole dish, somewhat strangely, covered with salad leaves. The food was tasty, well prepared, and servings were adequate. Serving time from ordering time was 45 minutes.
Overall, I would rate the ambience and general surrounding at 3, the service at 5 and the food at 7.
Would I go there again? Given the adequate supply of restaurants in this city, probably not.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC