Dock your boat at (or walk/drive to) Pizzeria Portofino in downtown Chicago along the Chicago River and step inside the Italian Riviera. With an extensive menu of delightful Italian dishes, refreshing Mediterranean cocktails and mocktails, seafood brought in fresh daily, and an interior that will make you feel like you’re on vacation, Pizzeria Portofino is another fantastic addition to Chicago’s phenomenal pizza scene.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Address: 317 N. Clark St. Riverfront Chicago, IL 60654
Food Type: Italian
Dining Experience: Indoor or Outdoor
Price: $100+ per Person (cash-free)
Dress Code: Business Casual +
Reservations: Highly Recommended
Special Diets: Pescatarian, Vegetarian,
Gluten Free (not GF dedicated)
Pizzeria Portofino’s Ambience
The restaurant’s ambience was positively delightful. I loved how bright, airy, and green the space was, making it a dream to take photos of our food in, and of course to enjoy our meals. With white walls, faux trellises with hanging vines, and flowing white curtains demarcating private dining areas, as well as an extensive bar topped with Mediterranean drink making supplies and their surprisingly large water front dining area, Pizzeria Portofino was an inviting Italian oasis in the heart of the Windy City.
Boaters can even park their boats outside the restaurant and walk up from the river to grab a bite to eat. How cool is that?
Our Meals at Pizzeria Portofino
The first thing my husband insisted on ordering was the Spinach & Artichoke fondue. He’s a spinach and artichoke fiend, and when I found out they could give me gluten free cauliflower bread instead of the regular bread, I was excited about it as well. Let me tell you, this was by far the best S&A dip we’ve ever had.
We also ordered the Portuguese Octopus with Calabrian oregano and herb oil, and it was exquisite. If you like seafood, you’ll love this fresh, flavorful octopus!
I ordered a gluten free version of the shrimp scampi and it was positively phenomenal. We couldn’t finish it all, but I wish I could have eaten more. It was the best scampi I’ve ever had.
Robin ordered a gluten free Lobster Pizza for us to share, which featured large chunks (and entire claws!) of tender, delicious lobster from Maine, burrata, basil, lemon, and an Italian herbal blend.
To drink, I had an Aperol Spritz, and Robin had the Amalfi Spritz, both of which we shared, and both of which were so delicious and just sweet enough to perfectly compliment our meals without being overbearing or too sugary for dinner drinks.
Final Thoughts on Pizzeria Portofino
I might get some hate for this, but as someone with a severe gluten allergy, this is my new favorite pizza place in Chicago. I know, I know, Chicago is all about deep dish, but this Italian gal who will soon be moving to the East Coast can’t pass up some great gluten-free Italian food with an East Coast twist (like our Maine lobster pizza) when given the chance to safely enjoy a fantastic meal in the Windy City. The staff were so kind and careful about my allergy, and they did everything they could to keep my food separate from the rest of the standard food, which made me feel confident that my meal wouldn’t make me sick.
If you have a gluten allergy, (they have regular pizza and pastas too of course, but I didn’t try those for obvious reasons), if you’re looking for something new in Chicago, if you love Italian food, or if you’re looking for a place to stop for lunch along the Chicago River, give Pizzeria Portofino a try. You won’t regret it!
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