Our Dineout 2012 adventures continue! With pictures showing up frequently on my Facebook feed, Al Porto seems to be a popular choice among my friends. Also recommended by not one, but two of my coworkers, we decided to journey to the bowels of Gastown to have a taste. How was it, really?
Al Porto was already on my radar during last year’s Dineout after I got some good reviews from friends and coworkers that had been there. Hidden in the alleyways of Gastown, Al Porto is a quaint Italian restaurant with…a not very noticeable entrance. I had to walk through a row of shops within a building and down some steps. Upon arriving, I felt that the restaurant has a cozy “home” feel: the interiors were decorated with many tidbits…not unlike your aunt’s house.
We ordered, and our starter arrived after a lengthy wait. To be fair, it was Dineout, and the restaurant was very much alive at this point. For starters, I got the Beef Carpaccio with arugula, grana padana capers, olive oil, lemon-dijon. I love Beef Carpaccio. The rarer the meat, the better you can tell the quality of the meat. In this case, the beef was tender, cut razor thin with a right amount of sauce drizzled on top.
Up next was the Porchetta, slow roasted pork loin stuffed with garlic, rosemary and fennel. Having just been to Meat and Bread just a few blocks away recently, I was expecting something about the same caliber. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed: the meat was lacked seasoning, somewhat dry, and tough.
For dessert, I picked the Tiramisu with lady-fingers and mascarpone mousse. I thought it was just OK.
Was it because of the hype from my circle of social network that I should be expecting a lot from this restaurant? I love the Beef Carpaccio, but then again, it was not something that required cooking. The main and the dessert border lined mediocre. Maybe it was Dineout, so the kitchen was feeling the rush? But based on what I had that night, I wouldn’t return.