I recently ate at Porto for a friend’s going away dinner. Nice place, comfortable environment, and really conveniently located for all things Back Bay.
Porto just opened in July, aaand you can tell that they’re still working out some of the kinks with service and flow. But hey, it’s a good thing to be testing and improving as the restaurant settles in. At one point the chef stopped over to ask us our thoughts about the place, the food – it was cool to see that they care very much about customer feedback. I feel like even though Back Bay hosts dozens and dozens of restaurants, there are few that draw people back repeatedly, and so tapping directly into customer’s impressions will be key to making a mark.
There were twelve of us at dinner, so we of course ended up ordering a lot, although I’m not quite sure what went down on the other end of the table from me. But, what I do know, is that we got the kalamata olive bread, green beans, squid ink bucatini, campanelle, clams, Chatham oysters, poached halibut, and lobster raviolo.
I really liked the green bean salad, much more than I was expecting to. I sort of just ordered it because it seemed like an okay veg option – but it was so delicious. Lemony, tangy, with some very light cream/tahini. And really good croutons. It was also much bigger than I thought it would be! Take home message: don’t underestimate this dish. The campanelle was equally tasty, like a classic pesto pasta can just hit the spot. And, it wasn’t oily, which I usually find to be the case with pesto. The olive bread was a great starter to get for the table. As you can see below, it comes in almost honeycomb-like shapes. It has all the right amounts of olive oil and olives for flavor.
I heard that the poached halibut was delicious. And the sauce for the clams was greeeeeat. The bucatini, not so much. The sauce had almost a sweet soy sauce taste to it, like sukiyaki, which didn’t really make sense to any of us. Also, FYI that the lobster raviolo is raviolo, not ravioli. As in, it is one giant raviolo [ravioli is plural]. Sort of like a lasagna sheet with lobster rav filling.
I ordered a cranberry sour for my drink and really liked it. They also have a cool concept of the cocktail cart, with a different cocktail each day as the option. They’ll come around to your table and make it for you on the spot.
Overall, I did enjoy the food I ate. However, I think Porto is overpriced and it wouldn’t be my first choice if you were looking for a go-to place in Back Bay.