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“Great food and service”

Ristorante Al Portone
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Ranked #30 of 378 Restaurants in Lugano
Price range: US$50 - US$120
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Delivery, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Takeout, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: Chef Francis offers fine dining in the legendary restaurant with the historic entrance gates. A quiet space where you can have lunch and well furnished with colleagues, friends or dine by candlelight. Come and discover the different tastes proposed and accompanied by fine wines selected by our sommelier. At the gates is the ideal destination to make a break in life, to spend a moment out of time to get pampered palate.
Lugano, Switzerland
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great food and service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2013

I was part of a group of about 20 people that had dinner at Al Portone. The food was excellent (many people especially liked the carpaccio), as was the service (also they spoke English). Everyone had a good time. We probably had too much wine. The only downside was that it was a bit expensive.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Review collected in partnership with this restaurant

Helpful?
2 Thank Bilbo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this review, 28 May 2013
Thank you very much, it was a real pleasure for us to receive you and your friends. (lot of wine is not a problem when the dinner is fine!!! but of course the price...) ;-) See you soon...
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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123 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    93
    22
    6
    2
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Studio City, CA
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Sorry, have to disagree with prior reviews”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2013

On the basis of TripAdvisor reviews, my wife and I visited Al Portone. The restaurant seemed good from the outset, its physical presence seemed worthy of all the praise from TripAdvisor.
The service indeed, was impeccable, as was the ambiance. The wine list was excellent. So where did it go wrong? The food. My wife had the salmon tartar which smelled and tasted like week-old fish! If you are used to sushi-grade salmon forget this! I had a pear and cardamom salad which was actually quite good. I then had bison which was ringed with fat and grizzle and was not at all what I expected from a restaurant supposedly of this caliber and a restaurant rated so high in TripAdvisor. Maybe we ordered the wrong stuff! But a restaurant that carries a variety as large as the menu at Al Portone, would do much better to concentrate on a few items and perfect them rather than offer everything and provide sub-quality food. This did not live up to expectations or the hefty price!

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Alan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this review, 21 May 2013
If it did exist a website where the restaurant and the staff could write some note about all the guests, we would have attributed a 5/5 to you and your wife, because you were great with us and you have made a lot of wonderful comments during the dinner, about the restaurant, the atmosphere and the food too!!! All the plate was empty when they came back in the kitchen, and you have chosen really good wine with your choice of meat...
What a surprise Mr A.S.!!! When you came in our restaurant, on May the 3rd, 2013 for dinner, we have spoken together and you said to me that it was the first time you have booked with My Table and it was a beautiful experience. It was your 10th time in Lugano and the first that you eat well like that, and that this restaurant was a great discovery for you...
Your wife did say to me that the Tartar was delicious 4 times and in French she said "Merci" for this excellent food... Now you have written that the salmon was old!!! In our restaurant all is made a la minute with fresh products and the salmon that your wife has eaten was for the day... About the quality of the salmon, you are comparing sushi grade salmon with Norwegian salmon that indeed are totally different...
About the bison entrecote, If I recall your first choice was for the Horse tenderloin and then you changed it for the entrecote of Bison. First Our Bison come from the USA and this cut has some fat around like a proper entrecote pieces. Again the comparison between entrecote and tenderloin concern two different cut.
After your dinner, you have told me that you will write a very beautiful comment on Tripadvisor... We are lucky, if it was bad!!!... No comment.
Finally, if this website for guests could exist, we attribute to you the note of 5/5 for hypocrisy and falseness...
Best regards.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“What a gem for lunch!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2013 via mobile

Based on a mention in a travel guide we decided to hunt down Al Portone in Lugano. That said, we were hungry so if after a few circles of the area we did not see it, we would have just winged it on the waterfront -- I am glad the third time was a charm and we spotted it on our last pass! Parking was easy across the road in the public lot.

Upon entering the restaurant you are immediately struck that this is fine dining. A gentleman who ended up being our server quickly greeted us and led us to a corner table in the front room. He assisted us with our winter coats and left to get menus. He returned with menus that had English translations! Wonderful surprise - AND he spoke English well! Just to address this now, his service was excellent -- polite, discreet and pleasant. Additionally, he was very helpful in recommending dishes! Truly stellar service! That said, this was fine dining so do not expect quick turnaround of dishes. We had 4 courses in all and lunch lasted about 3 hours.

As to the fare -- wonderful! We had the foie gras truffles to start. Beautiful presentation and complex delicious flavor (I could not help but think that this was the type of plate I wanted at NYC's Le Bernandin)! We next had the cream of cauliflower soup, fresh tagliatelle with shrimp, and the homemade agnolotti. All three were delicious but the cauliflower won that round for its intense cauliflower creaminess. For main courses, we had the wild sea bass, the horse tenderloin, and the veal sweetbreads (at our server's suggestion). The sweetbreads were the best we ever had (as was their accompanying mashed potatoes). The sauce was the perfect pairing for the super light and creamy sweetbreads. The horse tenderloin was very lean and cooked perfectly. That said, it was not as gustatorily interesting (other than perhaps in concept) as the sweetbreads. The fish was good but also did not shine as much as the sweetbreads. For dessert, we had the tiramsu and the chocolate mousse (at our server's recommendation). Both were great. The chocolate was dark and rich but super light in texture. The tiramsu was also light in texture and not too sweet, chocolate-y or coffee-y.

Overall, an excellent lunch!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank HollidayVacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this review, 30 March 2013
What a beautifull comment! Thank you for this! Hope that "Le Bernardin" will be happy like us of that!!! :-) See you soon for other times of culinary delight Al Portone.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
1 review
“Just perfect”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2013

We was in lugano for a romantic trip for our first wedding anniversary. We found Al Portone because the hotel where we was tell that it is the most better restaurant in Lugano centro. The I don't know because I don't know a lot of restaurant in Lugano but I sure that the best where I have eat. I was the better week end that we made since a long time... Thank you I we will be back maybe before our second weddind anniversary!!!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Review collected in partnership with MyTable.com

Helpful?
Thank James C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Francis C, Propriétaire at Ristorante Al Portone, responded to this review, 30 May 2013
Thank you for this comment, it is always a pleasure to serve people who likes good food. See you soon. Best regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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