Portobello Yacht Club
Friday, October 22, 2004
Text and photos by Sue Holland, staff writer
Photo by Sue Holland.
Just because a restaurant is located on Walt Disney World property,
does not mean that eatery is owned or managed by Disney. A prime example
is the Portobello Yacht Club restaurant located between the Marketplace
and Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney.
Opened in 1989, this is one of several eateries owned and operated by
Levy Restaurants. In business for 25 years, Levy Restaurants are generally
all upscale dining experiences in major cities throughout the United States.
Walt Disney World is home to three of their restaurantsFulton's
Crab House, Wolfgang Puck Café, and Portobello Yacht Club.
Portobello Yacht Club features delicious Italian cuisine in an elegant
but comfortable setting. Diners wearing theme park attire will not feel
out of place here, while at the same time those who choose to dress up
a bit will also fit right in. The restaurant is easy to find, using the
large riverboat of Fulton's Crab House as a landmark, Portobello is just
to your left when facing the entrance to Fulton's.
Portobello Yacht Club entrance. Photo by Sue Holland.
Lunch is served daily from 11:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and dinner is
served from 4:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Priority seatings can be obtained
by calling (407) 984-8888 up to 30 days in advance. Crowds are generally
light enough at lunch that a priority seating is not necessary, but larger
parties or those traveling during a peak season would still be advised
to make those plans in advance. Dinner can be quite busy, and it is possible
a table will not be available or require a very long wait if a priority
seating is not booked ahead of time.
Portobello Yacht Club interior. Photo by Sue Holland.
The inside dining room is bright and attractive, with simple furniture
and liberal use of white table linens. Fresh flowers adorn each table,
and the wait staff are friendly and very knowledgeable about the items
on the menu. There is an air of elegance, without being stuffy.
The lunch and dinner menus are similar, but dinner prices tend to be
higher and there are more options available. The menu is broken down into
appetizers, pizza, salads, entrees and desserts, with the name shown in
Italian and the description in English. At both lunch and dinner, delicious
bread is served with roasted garlicalmost reason enough for a visit
to Portobello Yacht Club.
Appetizers at both lunch and dinner include a bruschetta, roasted Portobello
mushroom with polenta, fried calamari, and a tomato and mozzarella salad.
The dinner version tends to cost $1-2 more per appetizer, which was a
bit of a surprise. I expect an entrée to be higher-priced at dinner,
with a corresponding increase in portion size, but usually find appetizers
to remain the same price and portion at both meals.
The tomato and mozzarella dish makes a great meal for anyone with a light
appetite, especially paired with the bread and a glass of wine. The bruschetta
is a good choice for sharing, as is the calamari.
Pomodoro, Cipolla e Mozzarella. Photo by Sue Holland.
Dinner includes two additional appetizersprosciutto-wrapped shrimp
and poached manila clams. Following are the restaurant's descriptions
of each appetizer.
Bruschetta alla Toscana a traditional favorite of charcoal
grilled sourdough bread laced with extra virgin olive oil, marinated tomatoes
and fresh basil; $7.95 lunch, $9.95 dinner.
Funghi Arrostiti con Polenta wood-roasted Portobello mushroom
sliced thin with warm creamy soft polenta and Gorgonzola cheese; $ 8.95
Lunch, $9.95 dinner.
Calamari Fritti tender rings of crispy fried calamari with
plum tomato basil and roasted garlic dipping sauces; $8.95 lunch, $9.95 dinner.
Pomodoro, Cipolla e Mozzarella Fresh sliced tomato, shaved
red onion, mozzarella cheese, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar
and basil; $7.95 lunch, $9.95 dinner.
Gamberi Arrosto con Prosciutto herb-marinated Gulf shrimp
wrapped with prosciutto di Parma roasted, served over gourmet field greens
with roasted peppers, crispy leeks and 12-year-old aged balsamic vinegar;
$12.95 dinner only.
Vongole al vino bianco manila clams poached in garlic,
white wine, plum tomatoes, lemon and parsley; $11.95 dinner only.
Pizzas serve as a light meal or shared appetizer. Photo by Sue Holland.
While pizza may not be considered fine or elegant dining, at Portobello
Yacht Club the pizzas available are a cut above the standard fare. The
crust is thin and each pizza is prepared fresh, with a wide variety of
toppings for diners to choose from. Any of the pizzas would make a great
light meal for one person, or an appetizer to be shared by the table.
Create Your Own Pizza or Calzone plum tomatoes, mozzarella,
and your choice of three toppings below: mushrooms, black olives, sausage,
spinach, caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto, pancetta
or anchovies; $10.95 lunch only.
Pizza alla Fantasia goat cheese, plum tomatoes, caramelized
onions, crimini mushrooms and thyme; $9.95 lunch, $10.95 dinner.
Quattro Formaggi White pizza with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella,
gorgonzola, parmigiano and fontina cheeses; $8.95 lunch, $9.95 dinner.
Margherita Plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage
and basil; $8.95 lunch, $9.95 dinner.
An Italian vegetable soup is available at lunch and dinner for $4.95,
but the salads available are different at each meal. Lunch offerings include
a chicken Caesar and a salad with greens, mozzarella and vegetables. At
dinner the choices are a regular Caesar (without chicken) or house salad.
The lunch salads are meals, while the dinner salads are meant as a prelude
to an entrée or pasta dish.
Insalate E Zuppa
Insalata Cesare con Pollo Romaine lettuce with traditional
Caesar dressing, garlic croutons, parmigiano cheese and grilled marinated
chicken breast; $11.95, or without chicken $7.95 lunch only
Insalata Rustica grilled asparagus, prosciutto, roasted
red and yellow peppers, artichokes, fresh mozzarella, olives, served over
gourmet field greens tossed with a Mediterranean vinaigrette; $11.95 lunch
Minestrone di Verdura con Cavatelli Italian vegetable soup
with cavatelli pasta and parmigiano cheese; $4.95 lunch and dinner.
Cesare Romaine lettuce with traditional Caesar dressing,
garlic croutons and parmigiano cheese; $5.95 dinner only.
Insalata Mista della Casa house salad with field greens,
tomatoes, carrots and balsamic vinaigrette; $4.95 dinner only.
Entrees generally tend to be unique to either lunch or dinner, with the
exception of some of the pasta dishes. With those, a smaller portion is
available during the lunch hours, along with a reduced price. Italian
food is the specialty at Portobello Yacht Club.
Pasta and Sandwiches
Penne all' Amatriciana Penne pasta tossed with pancetta,
caramelized onions, plum tomatoes, roasted garlic and basil;Ê $10.95 lunch,
Farfalle alla Primavera con Pollo Pasta butterflies with
asparagus, snow peas, grilled marinated chicken, cream and parmigiano
cheese; $11.95 lunch, $17.95 dinner.
Rigatoni alla Calabrese Rigatoni pasta with Italian sausage,
crimini mushrooms, plum tomatoes, black olives and escarole; $10.95 lunch,
Baci di Formaggi delicate cheese-filled pasta purses, served
with sautéed spinach, plum tomatoes, brown sage butter and shaved
parmigiano cheese; $11.95 lunch.
Spaghettini alla Portobello A house specialty! Scallops,
shrimp, clams and Alaska King Crab with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, wine
and herbs lightly tossed with spaghettini pasta; $25.95 dinner only.
Gamberi con Fettuccine fettuccine pasta with charcoal grilled
Gulf shrimp, asparagus and roasted garlic white wine cream sauce; $23.95
Linguine alle Vongole Linguine pasta with fresh Manila
clams, garlic, white wine, plum tomatoes and parsley; $18.95 dinner only.
Petto di Pollo alla Milanese Breaded chicken breast sautéed,
served with mixed greens, red onions, plum tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette;
Panino di Bistecca open-faced ribeye steak charcoal grilled,
served on Italian baguette with caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms,
spinach and rosemary potato chips; $10.95 lunch.
Panino di Bistecca. Photo by Sue Holland.
Panino di Prosciutto traditional Italian black olive bread,
pressed with prosciutto di Parma, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, arugula,
and rosemary potato chips; $9.95 lunch.
Panino di Pollo alla Valdostana charcoal grilled chicken
breast, pressed on Italian bread with fontina cheese, roasted peppers,
pesto and rosemary potato chips; $9.95 lunch.
Meat and Seafood Entrees
Grigliatta di Manzo e Gamberi charcoal grilled center cut
filet of beef and gulf shrimp, served with wood roasted vegetables, red
skin potatoes, and white truffle butter sauce; $39.95 dinner only.
Agnello alla Griglia New Zealand rack of lamb charcoal
grilled herb marinated, served with creamy mascarpone risotto cake, wood
roasted Tuscan vegetables and rosemary sauce; $27.95 dinner only.
Tonno Arrosto con Prosciutto prosciutto and sage wrapped
yellow fin tuna wood roasted, with aged balsamic vinegar and roasted seasonal
vegetables; $25.95 dinner only.
Bistecca alla Griglia charcoal grilled ribeye steak with
parmigiano cheese crust, served with roasted garlic whipped potatoes and
seasonal vegetables; $25.95 dinner only.
with shrimp add $10.00
with 6 oz. Australian lobster tail add $20.00
Pollo alla Griglia half chicken with roasted garlic whipped
potatoes, rosemary sauce and seasonal vegetables; $17.95 dinner only.
Costoletta di Vitello alla Griglia charcoal grilled 14-ounce
center cut veal chop served with roasted garlic whipped potatoes, asparagus
and white wine sage sauce; $31.95 dinner only.
Aragosta alla Griglia con Spaghettini twin Australian lobster
tails, served with spaghettini pasta, tomato basil cream sauce, asparagus
and lemon basil butter; $42.95 dinner only.
Beverages include the usual offerings, along with several less common
items. Fresh-squeezed lemonade is available, including both strawberry
and raspberry varieties. Iced cappuccino can come with either vanilla
or chocolate flavoring added. Pellegrino mineral waters are offered as
well. Peach, coconut and strawberry non-alcoholic frozen drinks appeal
as much to adults as they do to children. In addition to an extensive
wine list, their own version of sangria is available by the glass, pitcher
Desserts are the highlight of the meal for many diners, especially when
on vacation. Portobello Yacht Club will not disappoint those with a sweet
Crema Cotta Carmellata Portobello's signature dessert.
Classic white chocolate custard, caramelized into a crisp candy glaze
served with fresh seasonal berries; $6.95 lunch and dinner.
Cannoli alla Siciliana traditional Sicilian cannoli filled
with creamy ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and candied orange; $6.95
lunch and dinner
Torta di Mascarpone espresso-soaked lady finger, with mascarpone
cream dusted with cocoa; $6.95 lunch and dinner.
Paradiso al Cioccolato chocolate layered cake with chocolate
frosting, toffee crunch and warm caramel sauce; $5.95 lunch and dinner.
Cappuccino Gelato Portobello's very own chocolate coffee
ice cream with toffee crunch; $4.95 lunch and dinner.
Gelati e Sorbetti a refreshing selection of ice cream and
sorbets to choose from Sorbets; $3.95 Gelati $4.95 lunch and dinner.
Frutta Fresca della Stagione Fresh seasonal fruit with
whipped cream $5.95 dinner only.
Dolci Assortiti selection of sorbet, ice cream, fresh seasonal
fruit, white chocolate custard and torta di mascarpone. Serves four; $19.95
lunch and dinner.
In addition to the regular menu, each week the chef creates a small number
of special entrees. Following are the specials available earlier this
year, as an example of what may be found on your visit.
Salmone alla Griglia charcoal grilled Atlantic salmon served
with lemon whipped potatoes, sautéed broccolini and roasted garlic
aioli; $12.95 lunch.
Zuppa di Pesce traditional Adriatic seafood stew, with
shrimp, calamari, clams and assorted fish, braised in white wine, garlic,
plum tomatoes and fresh herbs; $12.95 lunch, $27.95 dinner.
Dentice alla Griglia charcoal grilled genuine American
red snapper, served with rock shrimp risotto, lemon basil butter and garlic
wilted escarole; $25.95 dinner.
Salmone Arrosto wood roasted Atlantic salmon, served with
roasted shallot whipped potatoes, braised root vegetables and pear tomato
broth; $24.95 dinner.
There is also a fixed-price, multi-course dinner option for $46.95 per
person, with pre-selected items that are specific to the various regions
of Italy. Children have their own menu, which is relatively basic compared
to the adult menu choices. Prices range from $4.95 for a hot dog meal
to $12.95 for a steak dinner. Other choices include pizza, pasta, burgers
and chicken tenders.
Dining al fresco is an option. Photo by Sue Holland.
When the weather is pleasant, guests may choose to dine outdoors in the
attractive patio area. The same white linens, fresh flowers and dinnerware
create an atmosphere every bit as nice as inside, with the added advantage
of enjoying some the nice weather Florida is known for.
Portobello Yacht Club has long been a popular dining spot, and from my
experiences there it consistently provides excellent food and service
in a warm, inviting setting. A meal here is a relaxing break from the
busy theme parks, and you just may find yourself returning for another
meal here on future Walt Disney World trips!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Sue here.