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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

PORTOFINO
HAMILTON, BERMUDA

In talking to friends prior to flying down to Bermuda, this restaurant was near the top of my list.  Couldn't wait to try the place!


NOTICE SOMETHING STRANGE AT PORTOFINO?  TREES GROWING OUT OF THE ROOF!

We arrived here at about 5:45pm and the restaurant wasn't open yet.  The sign said it opened at six so we went next door to the Splash disco and had a drink.  At six, we decided to head back a few steps to Portofino.

Just as we got in line a big crowd developed behind us.  This is an extremely popular place with both locals and tourists.  Even though it was now past six a little sign on the door hanging on some twine said "Closed."  A pompous looking dude came out ignoring the crowd and went about setting some of the outdoor tables with silverware.  He was not courteous enough to say anything like:  "Hi folks, we'll be with you in just a minute."  Nothing.  Once he set the silverware on three or four tables, he dashed back into the restaurant.

Finally at about 6:06 another pompous looking guy appeared at the door with a blank look on his face, reached out and flipped the sign to "Open" and then disappeared into the restaurant.  He didn't welcome guests or say a single word.  He looked put out.  I guess when your place is "that" popular you don't have to bend over backwards to be cordial to your guests.  Finally seating began.


PORTOFINO'S TAKE OUT SECTION - IT'S OPEN ALL DAY WITH NO BREAKS BETWEEN LUNCH & DINNER

We carefully checked out the menu and ordered two starters -- an order of garlic bread and some fried calamari.  The calamari was excellent.  Fried to a deep golden brown and very tasty.  The garlic bread, on the other hand, was the worst we've ever had anywhere in the world.  For $2.50 they came out with four slices of what appeared to be regular Wonder Bread (plain, old white loaf bread).  It had something smeared on it and was slightly toasted on one side and uncooked on the other.  It had some garlic flavor to it and it was completely covered in something very green in color.  I'm not sure whether it was parsley or what.  But this was a poor excuse for garlic bread.  The garlic bread police should raid this place and slap 'em with a hefty fine!

The way I judge an Italian restaurant is by how they prepare simple linguini with red clam sauce so that's what I ordered.  My wife ordered one of the specials -- sea scallops on a bed of spinach.  My linguini was good but nothing to write home about.  My wife said the sea scallops were very good but I couldn't help but notice how small the portion was on this dish.   I think it consisted of four medium scallops.  I asked her if it would be enough food and she nodded "just perfect."  However when we got back to the hotel I immediately caught her raiding the granola bars so apparently it wasn't all that filling!

This is the most popular Italian restaurant in Bermuda and while not bad, based on our one and only visit, it was mediocre.  I might add that despite the pompous guys before the restaurant opened, our server was very good, courteous and friendly.

Dinner with wine and no dessert came to $99.  Portofino has a web site here.

ADDITIONAL BERMUDA RESTAURANT REVIEWS:

Freeport Seafood Restaurant - Royal Naval Dockyards
Hog Penny Restaurant & Pub - Hamilton
Henry VIII - Southampton
Lobster Pot - Hamilton
Pickled Onion - Hamilton
Swizzle Inn - Hamilton Parish (Near the Airport)
Tio Pepe - Southampton
Waterlot Inn - Southampton
Whaler Inn - Southampton
White Horse Tavern - St. George