REVIEW

La Terrazza at Hotel Splendido

Portofino is one of the most special, romantic towns in the world, and the Hotel Splendido, a former monastery perched atop a verdant hillside that peers down on the yachts crowding Portofino Bay and the Tigullio Gulf, is one of the most special, romantic hotels in the world.  It should come as no surprise then that La Terrazza, the hotel’s open-air terrace restaurant with breathtaking views of the Ligurian sea, is the consummate romantic restaurant.  It does not seek to do anything flashy or innovative; merely to serve excellently prepared Italian and regional specialties, in particular fresh seafood and pasta, in a warm, pampered setting.  In the evenings, a pianist plays softly on the terrace before transitioning to the inside bar area to perform energetic piano and vocal numbers. 

Begin with a light starter:  the excellent beef carpaccio laced with black truffles and parmesan cheese or the warm local rock fish with cherry tomatoes.  A pasta dish is obligatory, the best of which are the risotto with scampi and pumpkin flowers, the trofie al pesto and the lobster linguine.  The Lugurian region is the birthplace of pesto, and almost every fine restaurant in this area serves a divine incarnation of it with a pasta dish, typically trofie al pesto, a Lugirian specialty that is composed of thin, hand-rolled tight twist pasta and Genova’s transcendental pesto sauce.  Lastly, conclude with the deep fried scampi, prawns, baby squid and zucchini, amazingly light and refreshing. 

Finally, an unavoidable caution on pricing.  Normally, we at Argus Guide do not comment on a restaurant’s prices or factor them into our rankings:  we are concerned with a restaurant’s objective merit, and it is then up to the individual diner to determine for himself whether such an experience is warranted by the price.  Although the cost of a dinner at La Terrazza is substantially greater than the cost of many other restaurants with food of comparable quality, it at least arguable that such inflation is justified by the view and ambiance.  However, when ordering a bottle of wine (€120) one evening, our waiter declaimed - loudly, and in front of my guest - "I would suggest this other [more than twice as expensive] bottle instead, the wine you have chosen is a very basic, common wine."  Aside from our curiosity as to why the restaurant serves such expensive pedestrian wine, our immediate reaction was that that kind of aggressive upselling through attempted embarrassment would simply not be tolerated at a first-rate restaurant in the US, but it was the only service misstep we encountered during what was otherwise a stay graced by truly notable service.

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INFORMATION

Portofino
Salita Baratta, 16
+39 0185-267-801
Mon-Sun, 1pm-2:30, 7:30pm-10:30pm
    Corrado Corti, Chef

    TAGS

    • Portofino
    • Italian
    • Al Fresco
    • Best Decor
    • Best Service
    • Best View
    • Romantic

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