Portofino's Greek and Italian Restaurant continues to cater to the culinary desires of customers by introducing delicious traditional and house-made Mediterranean recipes.
"We have always been taught in business to deliver what the customer wants," says Dimitris Agrafiotis, who co-owns the restaurant with his father-in-law, Angelo Douvris. "Portofino's has been around over 20 years now. It was not as culturally diverse back then. The menu has been adjusted over the years with customer requests and will continue to do so for the years to come."
The staff keeps up with customer demand and always uses feedback from diners to continue improving the restaurant, he adds. The popular Greek and Italian eatery offers monthly specials to determine what new items make the cut and earn a spot on the everyday menu. Portofino's features many popular and homemade Italian recipes, including lasagna, chicken parmesan, cannelloni, manicotti and more.
For every dish, whether it is Greek, Italian or even American fare, Portofino's uses the freshest ingredients cut and prepared daily.
"Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, an abundance of differences in taste," Agrafiotis says. "It is known to be one of the most popular in the world with influences abroad."
There are a few common traits between Greek and southern Italian cuisine, such as the large variety of fish-based dishes as well as the prevalent use of honey on desserts. The essence of Mediterranean flora like rosemary, laurel and sage is also used in some dishes on both sides of the cultural divide, Agrafiotis says.
"Greek cuisine is a typical Mediterranean cuisine, sharing characteristics with the cuisines of Italy, the Balkans, Turkey and the Levant," he says.
Contemporary Greek cookeries like his make wide use of olive oil, vegetables, herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish and various meats, including poultry, rabbit and pork. Also important are olives, cheese, aubergine (eggplant), courgette (zucchini) and yogurt.
Agrafiotis recently returned from a trip to Greece, where he interacted with a new generation of chefs in different regions and took away some really exciting new ideas he will introduce to Chattanooga soon, he says.
All Portofino's recipes can be perfectly paired with wines that enhance the Mediterranean flavors.
Recently, Agrafiotis added a Twisted Moscatto to the wine list and says the refreshing light wine conjures up a swirl of citrus, orange blossom and floral aromas with concentrated flavors of honey, nectarine and tropical fruit. The new wine also has a hint of creamy vanilla and a crisp acidity that together lead to a juicy, reviving finish.
"Wine experimentation is also something we encourage," Agrafiotis says. "Ask me anytime to try one of our wines; I'd be more than happy to give you a sample for free, specifically on my Greek wines. Ninety-nine percent of the patrons that I give a sample to end up really liking them."
LOCATION: 6407 Ringgold Road.
HOURS: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.