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The Portofino trattoria, bar and restaurant occupy the ground floor of the Portofino Urban Sea Hotel in the pleasant seaside town of Ciudad Jardin, between the airport and Palma de Mallorca. Although Portofino is not in the beachside front line, this makes it a little kinder on the pocket, and a 50 metre stroll to the lovely family beach with its panoramic views over Palma bay, is not exactly a hardship. The hotel itself has 74 rooms, has recently been completely modernised, and is conveniently located within 10 minutes (by car) of both the airport and the city.
The bar and restaurant area is a well designed, modern space with plenty of quiet corners, while the pool terrace in the inner courtyard is a shady, cool and tranquil haven on a hot day. As with all the Urban Rural Group hotels, the welcome from the staff is warm, friendly, and welcoming. The delightful Maria showed me to my table and took me through the menu.
As you'd expect in a trattoria, the menu is heavily Italian influenced, with a good selection of pizzas and pasta - all the pasta and breads are prepared fresh every day. Head chef for the Urban Rustic Hotels Group (the Azul Playa, the Portofino, and the Trébol at Hotel Misión de San Miguel) is Marcos Morey and the dishes reflect his respect for fresh ingredients, distinct flavours and stylish and colourful presentation.
I went for the Bruschetta as a starter, which might have been a mistake, because it was a large helping and was so tasty that I had to eat all of it (rustic bread, tomato, mozzarella, parma ham, with flakes of garlic and splashes of balsamic vinegar). On Maria's suggestion, I'd ordered the Pansooti with baked pear as main course. Whether you spell it pansooti or pansotti, this is a stuffed pasta originally from Liguria, similar to ravioli but often triangular or half-moon in shape. These were a full moon and were immersed in a thick goat cheese sauce (see the picture below).
Now I don't often get excited about pasta, but the contrast between the sweet and slightly crunchy pear filling, the smooth saltiness of the sauce, and the perfectly cooked pasta was rather special. Definitely a dish to remember. In between mouthfuls, I checked out the pizzas ordered by some folk near me and must say they looked great, with thin crusts and generous toppings.
The dessert menu features Italian delights such as Tiramisú, Panna Cotta, and Tartufo but those are for another day! I also noticed that there's a nice cocktail list - how about a frozen strawberry Daiquiri on a hot day - and a selection of Spanish and Italian wines. All in all, my experience at Portofino was first class, and one I'll be looking to repeat.