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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Portofino, Norton St Leichhardt

Hey Guys!! I had a big weekend last week, full of food, alcohol and a whole load of fun (maybe a bit too much of each...) but it was a great one! It's really nice to have something to look forward to after a long week of unpaid work =P.

My family and I went out for dinner for a belated birthday celebration on Saturday night for my brother's 23rd birthday. Whenever we go out to dinner we always end up at some sort of Asian restaurant, so this time we decided to mix it up a bit and go for something more European. Up till now I don't think I've had much Italian food in Sydney and the few places that I've been to have obviously not left much of an impression. I was determined to find a good Italian eatery, since I'm SURE Sydney is full of them (although nothing will top Alfresco up at the Gold Coast!).

For me Italian food, or more so the pasta dishes that come from the cuisine, is my quintessential comfort food - it's so hearty and filling and always leaves me feeling full and content. It takes me to a place where I can imagine myself finishing a nice big bowl of pasta in some nice cosy wood cabin while it's snowing outside, and then curling up into a ball and falling asleep on a huge comfy couch next to a blazing fireplace....

.....And preferably with some gorgeous guy's arms wrapped around me. I'm channeling Chris Pine at the moment. Or Ryan Reynolds. Hehe.

Ahem, moving on....Obviously when you think Italian in Sydney, you think of Norton St, Leichhardt - Sydney's Little Italy! So I jumped onto Eatability - my go-to guide for restaurants - and searched away. Whenever I use this site I ALWAYS make sure there are more than AT LEAST 50 reviews otherwise you know that someones been pulling a shifty and rating their own restaurant and it turns up on your search as a 10 star rating with like one or few reviews =P. So after narrowing my search criteria I ended up finding this little restaurant called Portofino, located further down Norton St with quite an extensive menu - and after a few minutes we were booked in prime time =).

I really liked this place, it was really warm and cosy and the staff are nice. Again like I said, the menu was really long which made it hard for me to decide what to get (my average decision making time = 20 minutes, even at maccas =P). We ordered a few pizza crusts - sorta like garlic bread entrees - and we all ordered pasta, but they do have a range of other dishes and a long list of pizzas. The service here is really quick as well! I'm pretty sure we only waited about 10-15 minutes for mains and this was on a Saturday night restaurant rush hour.

Garlic, Chilli and Herb Pizza Crust
Olive Tapenade Pizza Crust - must recreate this!
Remember my rant about the cabin and the fireplace (and the gorgeous guy =P)? Well the food at this place fit the bill! Gorgeous pasta that fills you up to just the right amount - taking me right to that log cabin. I don't know if it's just my family and I but we thought the portion sizes were really generous - we never eat this much pasta at home. But it all tasted so good!! And we thought it was real value for money given that I was full after eating about 1/4 of the dish (believe me these photos are deceiving!).

Linguini Con Gamberoni - Prawns, Sun dried Tomatoes, Olives, Shallots, Garlic and Parmesan - my favourite!

Ravioli Special Of the Day! I can't remember exactly what it was but it was filled with goat's cheese and had chicken
in there somewhere, along with a rich creamy sauce

Spaghetti Al Frutti De Mare - Spaghetti and a whole mix of trawler seafood

Fettuccine with prawns, spinach and a rich Napolitana sauce (cheese and cream omitted of course =P - guess who!)

And of course, I always leave room for dessert. Again, the menu was really good and made it so hard to decide. I was tossing between the creme brulee and the gelato, and my stomach screamed gelato.

Gelato Pyramid - Honey Macadamia, Wildberry and Peanut Butter gelato,
with a honey creme anglaise and almond praline

This is a great Italian eatery! My brother and I both agreed we'd be coming back with friends. However, after experiencing Portofinos I'm really keen to see what the rest of Norton St has to offer, especially the Italian Forum. But would definitely recommend you go with a bunch of friends here, take some (red!) wine, order as much as you can and just share it all!

166 Norton St
Ph: (02) 9550 0782

Portofino on Urbanspoon

Hope you enjoyed reading! xx

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