This review is taken from the 2011 edition.
Portobello Promenade has a faded seaside charm that’s equally appealing for eating chips from a wrapper in the sun or watching rain stream down a window in grey winter light. With its traditional bay frontage looking out over the sea and now opening all year round, Porto Café couldn’t be better positioned to satisfy both these niches. Serving fish suppers since 1978 but under new management from 2010, Porto eschews Portobello’s designer influx to offer traditional no-nonsense grub. The ‘fish tea’ ticks all the boxes with fish and chips, peas, tartare sauce and a lemon wedge served with bread and butter and a pot of tea. And for kitsch puddings, nothing beats a cola float or knickerbocker glory – a sundae glass of fruit and Porrelli ice-cream with a long spoon for delving. It’s rather over-branded and some elements are a bit discordant, like a sombre jazz soundtrack and randomly mounted ornamental fish, but the inheritance is strong and the ambition admirable. If they focus on getting the basics spot on, Porto could be making waves for another 30 years.
- High point: Big on kitsch appeal
- Low point: Food sometimes misses the mark
- Private dining: Up to 32 covers
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables
- Music on stereo: 60s music
- Capacity: 50
- Largest group: 50
- Open since: 2010
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