After watching all of the serious issues that could go wrong at an Italian Restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares, I have been very hesitant whenever someone would invite me to eat Italian food. Al Porto Ristorante is located in a large alleyway in Gastown with a very secretive vibe to it. The reason it being so “secretive” is because not only is it tucked away from Gastown, but when you go into the restaurant, a stair case leads down into the restaurant because it is a basement of an old Gastown building. The restaurant was dim lit with décor that reminded me of an Italian home in a vineyard pictured in a movie. To be honest, it spooked me out a little bit.
What’s in it: Wild mushroom risotto croquettes, stuffed with provolone, and basil tomato sauce.
I’ve never tried risotto croquettes so the waiter suggested that Jacky and I should order it because it was a popular choice.
When I bit into it, I couldn’t really tell that it was risotto nor could I taste any wild mushrooms. Everything was just overly cheesy and the texture was like barley.
The tomato sauce tasted like something I could get from a can of Ragu and it was extremely watered down.
What’s in it: Risotto, prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, salmon, and halibut.
If you want good risotto, Al Porto Ristorante is not the place to get it. This dish was probably their biggest failure, and you could tell by how this looks in the photo.
For those of you who don’t know how risotto is like, it is a short grain white rice cooked in a broth until it is creamy with a consistency. This was not risotto rice, instead it was long grain rice. Therefore, it was not creamy or toothsome and it tasted like a cheesy and dry fried rice.
The process in perfecting a risotto dish is challenging because risotto takes a lot of stirring and it has to be cooked perfectly. I was incredibly disappointed when I took a bite and I observed that these were long grains and not risotto rice.
If you want to know what good risotto looks like, I have a recommendation in New York City.This restaurant boasts on their delicious, creamy and al dente risotto dishes.
What’s in it: Prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, salmon, halibut, and tomato sauce.
This was probably the best thing about our dinner and Jacky was pretty smart to stick with the simple pasta. You cannot go wrong on pasta.
The tomato sauce for the Linguine Pescatore was not as watered down as the sauce for our Arancini Funghis, but it wasn’t also super creamy. The tomatoes were not sour and quite piquant.
There was a fair amount of seafood to linguine and the linguine was cooked just fine, but it was definitely not handmade.