Excited about Eating by Ernie & Dora Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to a century old building that was once the maintenance station of Tweetsie Railroad in Boone, NC, and now houses Café Portofino. This casual restaurant offers a wide variety of sandwiches, pastas, and steaks.

Cafe Portofino Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Parking in front, but also a bigger lot on the side with FREE parking!

Dora here. I must confess I was a bit apprehensive about trying this place since it’s practically right across the street from Appalachian State. I expected it to be a student bar/hangout. And, since we entered the establishment from the parking lot on the side, that was precisely my first impression of the narrow, dimly-lit room. But that’s the wrong door. The front door’s on the other side. lol. The restaurant portion is actually quite spacious.

Cafe Portofino Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

It’s actually quite spacious on the inside if you enter from the correct door. lol (Sorry for the fuzzy picture!)

But who wants to sit inside with such glorious weather? And–bonus!–the outdoor patio is dog friendly! There’s an adorable Corgi puppy hanging out under the table next to us. 

Cafe Portofino Fiction Faith & Foodie Ernie & Dora Hiers

Bonus, the outdoor patio is DOG friendly!

For my lunch, I chose the Portofino Spaghetti, a meat sauce made with ground beef, Italian sausage and garlic served over spaghetti, served with a side salad and a roll sprinkled with parmesan. Their Greek feta salad dressing was outstanding, and the spaghetti cooked flawlessly. The yeast roll was hardy, perfect for dipping up the meaty, thick, garlicky sauce, and I appreciated the spoon they brought for the pasta without me asking.

Cafe Portofino Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Portofino Spaghetti, meaty and thick

Dora here. The server was friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable and helpful with suggestions. The Grown Up Mac & Cheese was a notch above typical pub food. Penne pasta, grilled chicken and broccoli blanketed with a cream sauce, and then sprinkled with another layer of cheese. Although I enjoyed this dish and all the components, I would’ve preferred less sauce. Overall, though, a pleasant surprise and one I would order again with a special request of less sauce.

Cafe Portofino Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Grown Up Mac & Cheese, a pleasant surprise. Next time, though, I will order it with less sauce.

What about you? What was the last meal/restaurant that exceeded your expectations?

We rate this restaurant 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving great food.

Cafe Portofino & Tap Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato