Saturday, December 19, 2015

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria - Disney Springs

Last Friday, my daughters and I had lunch at Portobello Country Italian Trattoria in Disney Springs.  We have never dined at this restaurant before, because of mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, and we tend to have very high standards when it comes to Italian food, our favorite cuisine to cook at home.

After a member of my private Facebook group Gluten Free in Orlando raved about her meal at Portobello, I finally decided to give it a try.  Portobello is not Disney-owned and operated, so they do not have an allergy-friendly menu.  When I told our server that I had celiac, she did not offer to bring out a chef, but I asked to see one to discuss gluten free options.  Our server had told me that there were salad options, and the chef mentioned that most pasta dishes can be made gluten free with the use of gluten free penne, because their sauces are gluten free.  When I asked what brand they used, I was told Bonta d'Italia, which is Schar.

My meal started with gluten free bread that I found to be poorly heated, and I did not enjoy the roasted garlic and olive oil that it was served with.

I ordered the chicken farfalle with snow peas, asparagus, tomatoes, and parmigiano cream sauce.  I asked for broccoli to be substituted for the asparagus, because I have never been a huge fan of this vegetable, but I found some small asparagus pieces in my meal.  This was the dish recommended in my Facebook group, so I was excited to try it.  The first couple of bites, I was really impressed.  The sauce was so flavorful, I declined a garnish of Parmesan cheese.  The pasta was al dente, and the vegetables were cooked well, but the chicken was very bland.  After having well-seasoned grilled chicken in a pasta dish at Carrabba's earlier this month, I was disappointed in this chicken, because it had no seasoning.  I grew tired of my pasta as I continued to eat it, because it was drowned in sauce.  This dish had so much potential, but it fell short, because it was over-sauced, and had tasteless chicken.

For dessert, both the panna cotta and the white chocolate custard (creme brulee) are gluten free.  I ended up choosing the panna cotta, which is made with Winter Park honey, and served with seasonal fruit.

First off, I was really turned off by the presentation of the panna cotta, with all those strange lines down the sides.  Taste-wise, it was good, but nothing special.  It could have been improved with orange zest to kick up the flavor a bit.

Overall, I was not impressed by my meal at Portobello enough to dine there again any time soon, when there are so many great restaurants at Disney Springs to choose from.

You can read more about Portobello, and view their menu and hours on their website or on Disney's website.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Portobello Country Italian Trattoria?


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