Al Portego is a tiny little place with 2 portions. One half is where you stand and eat cichetti and the other part is filled with 8 pretty small tables that have table service. If you want one of these tables a reservation is a must as the locals appeared to like this one – with good reason. They seems ready to push the tables and chairs around into different configurations. We originally were told that we could get a reservation if we were willing to sit with another couple but when we got there tables had moved and we had our own table. The tables have a chalkboard menu of options which get erased when they run out. Our great server was most helpful as well as spoke good English. Lighting is dim with darkened windows and background music was possibly overflow from the kitchen, but the ambiance was just fine. Cozy and casual, this is a slow food place not to miss.
The bread basket is a forgettable part as it’s mostly dry, but maybe this was due to being on the tail end of lunch. Either way you don’t need filler as the plates are all amply filled.
The sauteed clams were served with a grenolade sauce. They were very small clams but really soaked up the parsley, garlic and oil. Here the dry bread came in handy to soak up tasty bits of this broth. The clams were quite tender and could just suck off into your mouth when sipping the broth. It was a really tasty dish that was easily large enough to share for 2.
A pappardelle pasta was served with shrimp and broccoli rabe. The small shrimp were only lightly cooked and quite tender. The wider noodle worked well with incorporating the shrimp into the dish and they were cooked a lovely al dente. The slightly bitter green added a good contrast to the sweetness of the sweet shrimp. It was delicious.
The frito misto included both seafood and vegetables. It was all nicely crisp and not too greasy. There were shrimp, fish, baby squid, tuna, potatoes, onions and zuchinni that I took note of. It was a great assortment and all was really fresh tasting. I would order it again, pretty much like I’d re-order anything we had.
We really didn’t feel like dessert afterwards but our fun server Veronica was nice enough to bring us a couple cookies to enjoy a sweet finish.