Portalia: As Authentic As It Gets
By Ilija Sekulovski
Now, we don’t take the word authentic lightly – and you know who else doesn’t? The Italian Chamber of Commerce. Recently, the Chamber presented Portalia with an award declaring that their food was 100%, completely, authentically Italian.
“It was an honor,” Chef and Owner Antonio tells us, “but it was also very hard to get. The Italian Chamber of Commerce would show up completely unannounced, and inspect everything thoroughly. To be verified, everything has to be pure Italian – from the mozzarella to the prosciutto. They don’t leave a single thing unchecked.” To receive the award just proved one thing: Portalia was an official piece of Italy, right here in Astoria.
Portalia is a beautiful restaurant. The interior is classy – fancy even – but not intimidating at all. There is such a variety in the people here, from business men on important dinners, to 20-somethings on their first, to families with toddlers and babies in tow. There’s a dim, intimate ambiance throughout the restaurant that is both comforting and inviting.
The food here, as you can guess, is phenomenal. Antonio has immense pride in his food, telling us, “It’s all fresh. I try to keep it as organic as possible. I want the best ingredients – the best cheese, the best vegetables, the best everything. High quality, fresh and organic.”
One of their specials is the ravioli – which changes every day, and is made completely from scratch, every day. They have an amazing papardelle as well, in creamy, tomato sauce – it’s out of this world. Also amazing is the Polenta, which is mixed cornmeal with wild mushroom ragu, thyme and white truffle oil.
Another recommendation is the whole branzino – if you’re into fish, this is one of the best branzino’s in Astoria! If you’re a pasta lover like me, go with the papardelle, or bucatini alla carbonara – which has guanciale, onions, black pepper, parmesan and quail egg. For real.
We asked Antonio to pick a favorite item from the menu, and he said, “I can’t! They’re all amazing,” and he truly believes that. He tells us every single item on the menu is so meticulously picked, so intensely designed, that the final product is phenomenal.
Authentic Italian Pizza
If you want to check out Portalia – they’ve got amazing brunch (cause you can’t be Astorian without a good brunch), but they also have half-priced bottles of wine on Monday nights, and free dessert on Tuesdays.
We love Portalia so much, we want to send you there! If you want to win a $100 gift card, all you’ve got to do is enter here!
Astoria, NY 11106