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“Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover”
Review of Ports Cafe

Ports Cafe
Ranked #1 of 91 Restaurants in Geneva
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$28
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Description: An informal setting overlooking Seneca Lake, featuring savory and unique dishes made from fresh, ​locally sourced ingredients.​ ​Finger Lakes wines and craft beers are available by the glass. Reservations Recommended. Maximum group is 8.
Reviewed 10 August 2014

After reading several reviews about Ports Cafe on Trip Advisor, we decided to give it a try, and we are certainly glad we did. Pulling up to the restaurant, first impressions, left us wondering if it was the right restaurant. We had a five o'clock reservation and we were first ones there (dinner is not served till 5:30). From the outside, Ports looks like your typical family restaurant, but once greeted by our waitress, it was apparent that it was anything but typical!

Ports Cafe has a limited printed menu, which was fine, but they top that with a special list for the evening that was so long, our waitress left us her "cheat sheet". Each item looked more tastier than the previous one. No decision would have been the wrong one. Our appetizer, entrée, and desert were wonderful, and everything was priced equally as wonderful.

It wasn't long before the restaurant was filled, and by 6:30, seating was only available outside. While having our meals, I noticed several people walk up to the restaurant, read the menu, and leave, and I wanted to run outside to tell them to return, because they were only viewing half of the options and getting less than half the story. Oh well, it was their loss.

This evening we celebrated our 26th anniversary, and the dinner was one of the better ones we had had celebrating previous anniversaries. The service was excellent, the dinner was wonderful, and price was far less than I would have expected to pay.

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Thank Richard A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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395 - 399 of 710 reviews

Reviewed 10 August 2014

Our party of four chose different selections from the "specials" menu, ranging from seafood to steak -- and even duck. All earned an A+ from the group. BTW, don't judge Ports by its online menu. Most patrons select from the daily specials. Turnaround may not be the speediest at Ports,but our server was attentive and knowledgeable. As we all know, preparing great food takes tim, so we used that time to enjoy an extra glass of wine from a list that features the best of the locals, among others. We tried to go back for a second experience before leaving the Finger Lakes, but the place was booked solid. Make your reservations well in advance. You won't regret it.

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1  Thank Bill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014

The second night of our stay in Geneva, we wanted to try somewhere outside our hotel. We did an internet search, and voila!, this place came up #1. We called that night (not a good idea, but it was a Thursday thank gawd!), and were told as there were only two of us, they could probably accommodate us in a half hour. We drove over and arrived five minutes before we had the reservation (or not!).

It didn't look like much at first...unpaved parking lot, and a LOT of cars!!! Looked a bit like a bar that out-grew itself.

In the foyer there was a line of people, with more and more arriving as we stood there. A young man with a e?-tablet was at the reservation stand, and he kept running back and forth to bus tables. Not good as we wanted to know where we stood (literally) waiting, and every time we wanted to speak with him (as did the other twenty or so people), he was GONE again! But hey, if it's that good, what can you EXPECT, right???

The place isn't posh. No linens, mostly the look of a sport's bar, formica tables of the sort in a bar... Patrons can see into the kitchen (and actually, our table must have been an after-thought just off the counter to the kitchen/but before the hallway to the newly remodelled bathroom areas (an addition). Oh well, we've been next to swinging doors to a posh restaurant on more than one occasion...we're cool with it, and understand that they are trying to fit in more tables!

After an hour of waiting in line(which passed quickly chatting with other visitors to the area), we found out that someone else had 'claimed' our table (annoying!), and we were finally seated (at that out of the way table...lol).

The wait staff was scurrying here and there, clearing away, filling wine glasses (what else do you drink in one of the world's premier wine regions?), and finally we ordered. OUR waitress was amazing. She personally knew and had savored each and every item we asked questions about. She handled my dietary restrictions without a blink of an eye, and was willing to go back and forth to ask the cooks questions 'to make sure!'

After a bit of a wait, but definitely NOT OUT OF LINE for the busy-ness of the place, we were served our wonderful salads. LET ME TELL YOU, these were salad CREATIONS. Mine was built with fresh crispt and some unusual greens, and topped w/ a unique salad dressing that I don't think you can capture in a bottle ... maple dijon (mustard) that simply made me sigh...a really foodie's delight finding something that wonderful!!!

My entree was a peanut chicken,shrimp & fresh basil sauce, Due to my dietary restrictions, my dish was served over basmati rice rather than specialty filled ravioli (hated to miss that, but whatever, ;0/ gluten issue! ). The meal I had was wonderful, a gastronomic memory (and why I will travel back to thisarea again JUST so we can go back to this restaurant!).

Dessert for us (we split it) was a real cherry creme brule...sigh again!

With pairings with several white wines, our total bill was half what we'd paid the night before (of course we understand that hotel restaurants are almost always more...).

We'd recommend making reservations the day before, and still expect a bit of a wait. But it is well worth it! Really, really, really worth it, LOL!

1  Thank Booklady14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Had another delicious meal at Ports Café. From apps to dessert, everything is well prepared and seasoned. Great variety on their menu and a whole additional list of specials. Especially well liked were the pork belly sliders app., chipotle duck breast, Thai shrimp and chicken, leg of lamb, and monkfish with prosciutto. The servers in the dining room were attentive and knowledgeable. They have a great choice of wines, with an appropriate listing of local products. That's the good news. The bad news is that the organization in the dining room was a disaster. They accepted our reservation for 8 pm but we waited 40 min. beyond that to be seated and another 15-20 min. to have a server show up at our table. Several other parties waited an hour past their reservation. The parties leaving the restaurant assured us that it was "worth the wait" so we hung in there. In my opinion, they misused their host, who often disappeared from his station for lengthy periods to assist servers or bus tables. Tables sat empty for 30 min. waiting to be cleaned and reset while a crowd waited in the foyer to be seated. Servers passed through this crowd to get to and from outside seating. These were just some of the inefficiencies in the dining room. Another time waster is the need for their staff to recite a long list of specials. Our server actually gave us a couple of hand written copies of this list so she didn't have to reiterate the list in the somewhat noisy dining room. A better idea would be to make the list at the beginning of the night and give each table a few copies, along with the regular menu. Then servers would be able to attend to other customers or get empty tables turned around more quickly. Lastly, they need to finish their construction project. The place looks the same as it did a year ago. Get it done already! The food is so good that we will go back but they need a manager to watch an evening's worth of fiasco in the dining room and then revamp the team assignments.

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Thank tripdokta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2014

This is a wonderful restaurant. There is a long specials list and everything sounds so good that you will have trouble deciding on your meal. We shared the cherry salad with goat cheese, and I chose the swordfish while my husband had the scallops.Everything was outstanding and not overly pricey. We would go out of our way to have dinner at this restaurant. You will not be disappointed or think you could have had better if you'd stayed home.

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Thank Sandra M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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