Portobello at Downtown Disney Remakes its Image & Menu (plus a recipe!)

Those who were following my short tweetfest from Downtown Disney last night probably caught my mention of the new look, and lovely scent, of Portobello. The restaurant, which sits between Pleasure Island and the Downtown Disney Marketplace, has recently completed a transformation from the old stuffy ‘Yacht Club’ theme into an eatery reminiscent of the Italian countryside.

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Chef Steven Richard

According to Executive Chef Steven Richard, the change is a natural one. “America has had a love affair with Italian food for decades,” Richards said. “What we’re seeing now is more and more people knowing the regional nuances of the cuisine – having more vivid notions of what Italy feels and tastes and smells like. More families have been there themselves, and the ones who haven’t, want a life-like recreation of that trip they haven’t taken.”

The space, inspired by Italy’s trattorias and hidden corners, features warm tones of red, orange and yellow, with terracotta tile and rustic irons designed to make guests feel transported to the Italian countryside. Guests can also enjoy dining outdoors with the new alfresco patio. The revamped trattoria will offer authentic regional fare and warm rustic décor with a reinvigorated wine list.

Portobello’s new menu was developed by the culinary trio comprised of James Beard award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano, of Chicago’s noted Spiaggia restaurant, John Radcliff, Regional Chef of Levy Restaurants, and Steven Richard, Executive Chef of Portobello.

As it turns out Orlando Food Critic Scott Joseph recently visited Portobello and found the experience a pleasurable one (which is saying something considering what he writes about the other restaurants run by Levy in Downtown Disney). Now, I am really looking forward to my first opportunity to dine there.

Portobello is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and accepts all major credit cards. Visit www.portobellorestaurant.com to learn more.

Finally, Portobello has also been kind enough to share its recipe for Ravioli Gigante which you can find below the cut in case you want to try it at home:

Sunday Night Review – Disney News and Links

  • The Disney Channel graduate High School Musical 3: Senior Year remained top of its class for the 2nd week running. This trend will end next week as Quantum of Solace his the air.
  • Bad news for the Disney Webmaster Bowling League. The company that was contracting to build the 100 lane Bowling Alley at Wide World of Sports is unable to make its committments due to the tough economy. That said, the folks at WWOS seemed pretty excited about the potential for this bowling alley to bring lots of new visitors to Walt Disney World, so it will probably get built anyway.
  • Via former Orlando Sentinel’s food critic Scott Joseph’s blog we learn that Chef de Cuisine at Victoria & Albert’s Scott Hunnel has been awarded the Culinary Professional of the Year by Sante’, a magazine for food and beverage professionals. Also recognized are Gary Kaikaka of California Grill, who received the Service Professional Award for outstanding achievement in food, wine and spririts service. The winners will be feted at an awards ceremony November 4th at Silverado Resort in Napa, California.
  • Read the story how Disney Story Artist Mark Walton became the voice of ‘Rhino’ the hamster from Disney’s upcoming Animated feature Bolt.
  • Graeme McMillan over at i09 makes a great case for why everyone should be watching Pushing Daisies.

Finally, below the cut is a video of a ride through Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain with the lights on. I don’t know why they don’t leave the lights on normally, it’s much more frightening to see how close you come to those crossbars sometimes.