“I own that whipped cream!” Actual words that came out of my dear friend Laurie’s mouth at our impromptu dinner on Monday.A group of us were working late and one by one we were instant messaging each other with who wants to grab dinner. Impromptu Mondays are so fun. However, they are also so bad as they do tend to set you up for a week of bad habits L
Four of us live in Southie so there was an obvious area but quite limited in choices. The decision was made for Café Porto Bello’s on East Broadway and we all thought “why not!”
Porto Bello’s is a tiny local Italian restaurant that has been around for as long as I can remember. Considering I have lived in Southie for about six years, the last time I dined there was at least eight years ago, so I was looking forward to starting my week off with a gigantic plate of pasta! Why do I have absolutely no willpower whatsoever?
This teeny tiny restaurant, holding no more than 45 patrons at any one time had a waitlist on a Monday night. We put our name down and popped next door to The Playwright for a quick drink.
When we finally got a table that seats four for five of us (it was very cozy) we realized it was $9.95 Pasta Mondays! Now we know why it was so packed and why the waitlist.
The place is not much to look at decor-wise. It is like a small old cafe with red walls, old Italian pictures, friendly, happy staff and a constant stream of regulars. It feels like home… warm and welcoming. We were all in a fun mood as we wrapped ourselves around the table ready for dinner.
Our waitress came over and we realized we knew her from our old favorite, the Farragut House… this was getting even more like being home. We ordered a bottle of Mark West Pinot Noir and checked out the menu.
The menu looked so good, especially the pasta dishes. I was torn between about four dishes and my conscience – the one that tells me I should be on a diet. Just so you know, when it comes to food, my conscience rarely, if ever wins… unfortunately. What did win was the Pollo Saltimbocca.
Before our entrees we shared the Fried Mozzarella. The mozzarella is classic and solid, however the sauce was superb. A delicious, fresh home-made tomato and basil sauce. We were also served soft Italian bread and olive oil, which was brought to our table each time we ran out!
All of us decided to order from the main menu rather than the Pasta Monday’s menu. Four of us ordered different pasta dishes and Laurie ordered the Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza. Everyone was very happy and laughing and enjoying their food. Another bottle of Pinot Noir! This was really good Italian! How did I forget?
I loved my Chicken Saltimbocca. It is comfort Italian food at its best. A huge plate with a big thick slab of prosciutto atop a large chicken breast atop an enormous plate of linguine… so tasty! .My silk shirt also seemed to love it as most of it was down the front. Probably not the best decision to wear a silk shirt and then eat a huge plate of pasta, sauce and oily goodness.
Dessert time. We were offered a number of options but we really only wanted something small, so we picked the lemon cake with whipped cream to share. The guy behind us really wanted cake, but the people with him didn’t want any so we all decided to buy him a slice. Besides the whipped cream from a can, which secretly I love, the cake is really very good – fresh sponge cake with tangy lemon curd filling. The guy next to us left so Laurie leaned in and took the whipped cream right off his plate. The other diners were aghast at her behavior. She then told them, quite loudly I might add “I own that whipped cream!” You sort of had to be there because it was hysterical.
What another great Monday and now I have a new/old place to go back to when I am craving good Italian and I don’t want to go to the North End. Cozy, friendly, inexpensive, fun, happy Monday!!! Oh and another thing, this place is cash only. I did have to run to the ATM!