Jody Adams opened Porto Boston this summer in the Back Bay. Due to its unique location it may be the best restaurant you are guaranteed to always get a table last minute. The restaurant’s address is 780 Boylston Street but it isn’t on Boylston St. It is actually located next to Saks Fifth Avenue across from Shaws, in a space that was not previously a restaurant – go figure.
I joined my friend Tracey who writes the Life Food Wine blog to check out Adams’ newest dining establishment. We had the bar entirely to ourselves until we were ready to leave at which point one of Boston’s best chefs, Ken Oringer, and his wife walked in the door. What can I say? I keep good company.
The restaurant has an open kitchen and several bars along with an outdoor, covered patio that has lounge furniture. We opted to sit at the long bar just to the right of entrance and enjoyed the undivided attention of a very helpful bartender who walked us through their menu which is almost entirely comprised of fresh seafood that changes frequently.
Most of the items offered are smaller plates and intended to be shared. I’ll be honest that this is generally a turn off for me, but I enjoyed the items we ordered and would certainly return based on how much I enjoyed what I ate.
Tracey and I started with two small plates: an olive bread ($3) that was served warm and looked like a funky pretzel as well as the raw hamachi ($16). I’ve yet to meet a bread that I don’t like and I would recommend this for those of you who are not carb-phobic because it was nice to have alongside our other plates, but clearly the better of the two plates was the hamachi which rivals (if not is better than Ostra’s in the Theater District). The Hamchi had a bit of a kick, that I believe was partly due to the use of paprika and a few other seasonings that we both really enjoyed but couldn’t place; definitely give it a try.
Dinner concluded with the Grilled Swordfish which was highly praised by our bartender and I’m happy to say lived up to the hype. Cooked to perfection, it sat atop sauce, grilled onions and green tomatoes (although I’m still convinced what was on my plate were figs – regardless of what the menu said). I should point out that we enjoyed a bottle of their Cote Mas Rose but if you are not partial to Rose wines, Porto has an impressive wine list for you to peruse.
While Porto may not be for everyone, this is a restaurant you may want to put on your radar if you’re looking for an upscale, relaxing seafood restaurant. Back Bay has very few such places, which I’m sure is one of the reasons Jody Adams wisely chose this slightly off the beaten path location. I wish Porto much success.
*Special thanks to my friend Tracey for sharing her photos.