Il Portico in Tappan: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011

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By Donna Schmidt, accompanied by Rob Schmidt

Driving into Tappan is like going back in time.  Its charm is intoxicating with its historic buildings, cobblestone and brick streets and a feeling that a Dickens novel could certainly have been written here.  Last night we went to Il Portico in Tappan.  Housed in what was once a jewelry store from 1876-1882, it later became the Eggers Hotel in 1882. Weary travelers could get accommodations for 3 cents a night.

G. Peppe Pinton purchased the building 22 years ago and has been serving Northern Italian cuisine with a side of storytelling for all that time. Pinton is from Calabria and was once the owner of the Cosmos Soccer team.  He sat with us telling us fascinating stories about different times in his life. Owning the Cosmos and working for Time Warner, coaching the Ramapo College soccer team, his two sons, running 17 soccer camps all over the world, managing several homes and five adorable, well groomed dogs.

In between listening and talking, my husband and I managed to eat.  It takes more than that to stop us. I started with the Lentil Soup with spicy sausage. It was filled with fresh basil and did hit the spot and had just the right spice.

My husband had the smoked mozzarella ravioli with toasted peanuts, butter sage and champagne sauce.  He seemed to enjoy it and left his plate clean.

For entrees I had the roasted Murray chicken with warm lentil salad and Dijon brandy.


It was comfort food, nicely crisped skin and a generous portion.

My husband opted for the tilapia which was panko crusted with basil and lemon aioli.

For dessert, we split the tiramisu, skipped coffee and went right for a little Frangelica.

We took the other dessert home for our daughter.  The dessert was creamy and sweet, just the right finish to a wonderful time in a comfortable atmosphere enjoying  fascinating conversation with old and new friends.

The 411 on Il Portico.

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9 Comments

  1. Well-done, perfect, a concise report of a fine restaurant, and an interesting and fascinating owner. In addition to the soup, anything for that matter at Pepe’s place, I would have also enjoyed the stories and the conversation — not to mention a glass, perhaps a glass and a half of fine red vino!
    Caio!

  2. A fantastic restaurant with one of the most outstanding, outgoing, interesting owners!! You will always be treated like family and the service and quality of food is top-notched. I strongly recommend that you consider making a special trip to Tappan, New York to enjoy this historic and charming restaurant and the wine list is worth discovering too.

  3. Guy De Vincenzo on

    You can find a swarm of Italian restaurants west of the Hudson River, Il Portico in Tappan tops them all. There’s an old-world aspect to this outstanding restaurant. The welcome of owner Peppe Pinton is cordial, the room is understated but with lot’s of attention to details and the cooking of Marino Di Saverio can have a poetic depth. I keep coming back for their selection of perfectly cooked pasta combinations that exemplifies the chef’s understanding of his ingredients. In an age of the mega-restaurant, dinner at such a personable place can give a definite lift. Il Portico’s charm lies in its constistency, something of luxury in these times.

  4. LeighAnn Dardzinski on

    You know you can always enjoy a delicious meal at IL Portico when Chef Marino Di Saverio is behind the tasty dish!! My husband and I can’t get enough of Chef Marino’s outstanding Italian dishes! The service and atmosphere are top notch. This is one our top restuarants in rockland where we look forward to dining out!

  5. Deborah Larca on

    Living in Rockland all my life, I have had the pleasure to dine at IL Portico countless times thoughout the years.

    Each and every time, the food at IL Portico has been consistant. In my opinion, it is definately one of the best restaurants in the county.

    Whenever I have friends visit from NYC, Westchester, Bergen, etc. and they ask me to pick a restaurant in Rockland to dine at, I always say to them “Let’s go to my favorite place, IL Portico for dinner.” They all love it and can’t wait to go back. Thanks to Chef Marino, I can top the restaurants they bring me to……

    My compliments to Chef Marino. I must say that he is a fantastic chef. Every appetizer, entree, etc. that I have had is prepared is to order. You can tell that everything is so fresh.

    Also, my compliments to the service. Simply outstanding!!

  6. Alexander Cole on

    A charming and romantic restaurant, Il Portico is an ideal spot. Delicious classic Italian dishes dominate the menu, The wine list is well-selected and reasonably priced with a good number of choices available by the glass. The wonderfully personable staff is helpful and knowledgeable, definitely in my top five.

  7. Kerry Beckmann on

    It is always a treat to visit Il Portico. We have been coming for years and never been disappointed. The food and ambiance make every meal a lovely occasion and I can not say enough about the staff – especially Head Maitre d’ Dario who goes out of his way to ensure a perfect dining experience for each guest.

  8. EuropeanDelight on

    The Il Portico cuisine is simply flawless. Peppe, the owner has created such a unique place where you feel right at home and somewhere else exquisite all at once. The atmosphere at Il Portico is incomparable to any other restaurant. And the food is so delicious, choosing a favorite dish is almost impossible. The penne a la vodka in its homemade sauce is cooked to perfection. The filet mignon is tender and juicy. The salmon is fresh and delicious. Each and every one of the desserts taste heavenly. I recommend this restaurant to everyone but especially to couples because not only will you fall in love with the place and the food, but you will also fall in love with each other all over again!

  9. I had booked a party of twenty at II Portico a few weeks ago on a friends reference. It could of not turned out any better, it was truly a flawless experience. I have returned numerous times since and look forward to dining at II Portico in the future.

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