The pop up brunch series Portofino was doing became so popular, they changed it to a regular thing.
So you know we have a couple weekends in spring and fall where the weather is just perfect. I’m talking not a cloud in the sky, low pollen counts and low humidity. These are the days that you want to spend an afternoon on a patio, and luckily I picked such a Sunday to visit Portofino in Buckhead and sample their brunch menu.
Portofino’s interior is light and airy, with beautiful hardwood flooring, and dark crown molding and doors. A second dining area has tile and painted brick and a wall of wine bottles. While either of these dining rooms would have been perfectly lovely for a brunch, the gorgeous Atlanta weather beckoned everyone outside.
What’s neat about Portofino’s patio is that there are two levels. First, you’ll walk into the main patio covered by an awning and partially with a pergola. The heaters suggest that the patio is used nearly year round. Walk to the rear and down several steps and you’ll find the open air patio, for those that want to bask in the sun.
It’s not brunch without a cocktail, right? You can choose to build your own bloody mary. By this I mean fill in your choices on a piece of paper, because who wants to get up and actually make it yourself when you are dining out? Besides selecting vodka, choose other options your salt such as Hawaiian Black sea salt, white anchovy filet and calabrese pepper. I say skip the Bloody Mary in favor of the Paces Ferry Place (see it behind the Zeppoli above), made with bourbon, Limoncello, peach, bitters, ginger ale. It’s strong so watch out.
Under the “For the Table” section of Portofino’s menu, you’ll find sharable carbs like muffins, biscuits and scones. But the Zeppoli is where it’s at. These are beautiful Italian doughnuts and are served with a delicate “sauce” which makes them even tastier. This dish is a steal at just $4.
Brunch is and should be filling, after all, you are combining two meals. While you could move on to your mains and be completely satisfied, there are a couple worth mentioning. First is the Blini. These potato pancakes are served with a generous portion of Caviar, along with a parsley Crème Fraiche. The dish is pretty hearty, so perfect for a main for one person.
If someone in your party is not getting the Shrimp and Polenta entree, you owe it to everyone to get the starter portion as a side for all to taste. I love that they went light on the cheese and serve it with colorful vegetables like the sherry macerated tomato.
There are many tempting options on the main brunch items besides the shrimp and polenta mentioned above. If you are looking for something on the sweet side, I’d go with the French Toast which is made from Ciabatta and served with currant and orange honey.
We went for heartier options: The Duck Benedict and the Grilled Lamb. While I liked the presentation of the duck, more like thick pieces of bacon on the side, I’d have preferred a confit under the egg, but it still tasted incredible. The better of the two dishes on Portofino’s Brunch menu that we chose was the lamb. The lamb was perfect and potato and butternut squash hash were a terrific pairing.
Brunch is served from 11:30 to 2pm on Sundays at Portofino in Buckhead. Make a reservation if you want a seat on the patio, as I can bet this is going to be hot real estate in the coming months.
View the brunch menu at Portofino here. Disclosure: My brunch at Portofino was complimentary.