ABOUT PORTOFINO


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About Portofino

Established in 1990, Portofino is SE Portland’s longest standing Italian Dining institution, never resting on its laurels and constantly striving to be it’s best. It is a cozy neighborhood trattoria in the heart of Sellwood that utilizes fresh, local ingredients to create Italian-inspired dishes.

Ingredients sourced from local providers and many from our own gardens (approximately an 1/8 acre) become the tools our chefs use to create a menu rooted in Italy, but also draws from the Mediterranean and Pacific Northwest. We make almost everything from scratch “in-house” from pastas, sauces, cured meats, sausages, cheeses, etc.

Portofino’s has Portland’s 2nd largest wine list and our wine program will enhance each guest’s dining experience by offering wines primarily from Italy, Oregon and France, but several other regions.  A full bar is also available for diners, with many house specialty drinks, as well.

A professional service staff complements the food and wine experience at Portofino. Thank you for visiting our website, and we hope to see you soon. We accept reservations, but they are not required, so please call us at (503) 234-8259.  Ciao!

CHEF JASON TOM

Our Chef, Jason Tom’s initial interest in cooking began in his family’s home.  And although he did some professional cooking at chain restaurants when he was younger, he really became inspired by how his cooking could cause his family, and his entire community, to come together. Meals were more than a time for sustenance and nutrition, they were events for communal story-telling, sharing of ideas and generally collecting the neighbors and other members, as well.  It was through food’s power within his own culture and traditions which inspired him to look towards cooking as his life’s work.

Jason moved to Portland, Oregon in the year 2000 with the express goal of becoming a chef. He attended the Western Culinary Institute in 2002. Upon graduation in 2003, Jason began working with the regionally and nationally renowned chef Caprial Pence at her restaurant in Sellwood. The Chef de Cuisine, Mark Dowers, really took Jason under his wing and he continued to work at Caprial’s, along side his mentor, ascending to Sous Chef before his departure in 2008.  Jason then began a journey to try and master the art of pasta making, working at Bar Mingo, Caffe Mingo, A Cena and the Inn at Whittier in Alaska. Shortly after returning to Portland in the fall of 2013 Jason accepted the offer to become the Chef at Portofino .

And here we are today, watching Jason week in and week out coming up with exciting and delectable specials from many local, seasonal ingredients. His deft hand with pasta is constantly evident, and we make pasta fresh everyday here for our guests to enjoy. Jason has also taken a real interest in the gardening aspect of our restaurant, and we have maximized our back garden under his care. Enjoy the difference!

OWNER/SOMMELIER, SETH MATASAR

Portofino’s owner, Seth Matasar, started in the restaurant business at the tender age of 12.  He began working in the kitchen, and continued to do so until he was 20 years old, when he made the switch to working in the “front-of-the-house.”  And although he received a B.A. in Philosophy & Political Science from Tulane University in New Orleans and a M.A. in Education, as well, he found his life’s work outside of any classroom.  He has worked at a variety of institutions from Chicago’s Edwardo’s and J.P.’s Eating Place, New Orleans’ internationally famous, Commander’s Palace and Jason’s on St. Charles Ave. as well as in Vail, CO at The Tyrolean, Terra Bistro and Beano’s Cabin through 2006 before relocating to Portland to become the proprietor at Portofino.

Seth had a solid knowledge of wines from a very young age, as well.  Most of which he learned initially through his father who had a very substantial personal collection, and then further through a variety of people in the industry. However, in Vail he would be prompted by many colleagues to go take the tests for his Sommelier Certificate through the Court of Master Sommeliers. On his first attempt in 1997 he passed, tied for the highest score in the class; and he went through the Advanced Level in 2001. But then Seth’s focus graduated onto the goal of owning his own restaurant. He continued to work at other places in the Vail Valley, but it was more obvious his goal of ownership would never be achievable unless he moved due to the financial burden of owning in Vail.

In the spring of 2004, while on a road trip all over the West Coast he visited at his father-in-law’s former restaurant, Portofino. Coincidentally the current owner was struggling with the place, and was looking to sell. He bought Portofino on November 17, 2006.  8+ years later he is proud with what he and his staff have re-built and is always striving and hungry for more.

Thanks for coming to see us. Enjoy!