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The Portage Reviews List

The Portage

Named as one of the Best New Restaurant by Chicago Magazine in 2011 and recently featured on the hit show Check, Please! The Portage is a friendly and welcoming restaurant in the heart of Portage Park. We offer refined American comfort food in a home-like setting, whether you choose to sit inside at one of our intimate tables or outside in our zen like garden.
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84 Current Reviews
Summary of Diner Ratings & Reviews
Overall 
4.5 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.5 / 5
(84 Reviews)
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Breakdown 84 reviews
5 stars
(50)
4 stars
(25)
3 stars
(8)
2 stars
(1)
1 star
(0)
Food 
4.5 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.5 / 5
Service 
4.4 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.4 / 5
Ambiance 
4.2 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.2 / 5
Noise Level
2.6 / 3
Energetic
Filter Reviews By:
Diners classify this restaurant as:
  • neighborhood gem(63)
  • fit for foodies(59)
  • special occasion(32)
  • romantic(25)
  • great for outdoor dining(12)
  • hot spot(12)
The Portage Reviews List
Review 1 for The Portage
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 2/13/2015
 2012
Dined on 2/13/2015
 2012
Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 2/13/2015
 2012
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Review 2 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 5/30/2014
 2013
Dined on 5/30/2014
 2013
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 5/30/2014
 2013
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Review 3 for The Portage
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Too crowded

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"I love this place but something has to be done about the seating. If you end up in the middle tables you are constantly bumped into whenever anyone walks by. We asked to be moved to a corner table and were told it was taken by a party who had just walked in the door. It settled down a bit after the 2 families with toddlers left (which I cannot blame the restaurant for the shrieking of the children). However they have a back room which I have asked to be moved to on a different visit. and they wouldn't do it saying it wasn't set up.
I truly love this restaurant and hope for its success. However they have to make the atmosphere less chaotic so one can have a conversation.
"
Dined on 3/21/2015
 2009
Special Features: neighborhood gem, fit for foodies
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Review 4 for The Portage
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Good food in a noisy crowded atmosphere

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"Thank goodness we refused the table in the main area of the restaurant and dined in the tiny back room. If we had not I doubt we could have heard each other during dinner and enjoyed our dinner conversation. The food was excellent from an appetizer of French fries to the salads and entrees. The house made ice cream is very good. Tables are very close together and your conversation can easily be heard at other tables and you can hear their conversations."
Dined on 3/14/2015
 2009
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Review 5 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/07/2015
 2011
Dined on 3/07/2015
 2011
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"Great service and inventive menu options."
Dined on 3/07/2015
 2011
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Review 6 for The Portage
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Good burger, mediocre cocktails

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"I've been to The Portage several times. It's good, but I've never been blown away. I went there recently on a Sunday night so it wasn't busy. We ordered from the cocktail menu, which took some time because the cocktails are lengthy lists of ingredients that don't always sound like they go together. We got our appetizers before the cocktails arrived, and I happened to see the young bartender working tediously at the drinks. I appreciate the freshly squeezed lime juice, but the end result was hardly worth the effort. I'll just order beer or wine if I ever go back. The waiter thought he was being helpful by reciting exactly what was already on the menu, but he wouldn't tell us what was popular or good, so we ordered burgers (which were excellent), as was the wine and the coffee. I found the whole experience a bit pretentious for what it actually was."
Dined on 3/01/2015
 2014
Special Features: fit for foodies
0points
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Review 7 for The Portage
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Warm and welcoming

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"Intimate, warm and cozy. This neighborhood gem is a surprising find for the area. Reservations aren't always needed, but the restaurant is small so get them to be safe. My husband and I recently introduced friends to the restaurant who loved it., and we were reminded again of how good it is. We also like eating at the bar which part of the front room. It can get loud if it is full because it is small, so if you want a very quite restaurant, go elsewhere. If you want style, charm, warmth and some energy along with an interesting menu, try The Portage. The staff is very friendly and attentive."
Dined on 2/19/2015
 2015
Special Features: neighborhood gem
0points
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Review 8 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Always There, Always Great

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"We've been to The Portage several times and have introduced several of our friends to the restaurant and I guess the best compliment you can give a restaurant would be that your friends report that they have been going to the restaurant on other occasions without you.
It is small and sometimes "tight", and when guests linger (who wouldn't want to) reservations can run a bit behind, but with a good cocktail and a nice conversation with friends, the time passes and the food is worth the wait.
Quay is always welcoming and gracious and the service is consistently smooth and efficient.
What more can a diner ask for in this neighborhood gem.
"
Dined on 1/23/2015
 2008
Special Features: neighborhood gem, special occasion, notable wine list, fit for foodies
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Review 9 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Nice Valentines

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"My wife and I went here for Valentines Day this year. They had a special menu for the holiday and it was amazing!"
Dined on 2/14/2015
 2012
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion, notable wine list, fit for foodies
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Review 10 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Great Spot

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"The Portage is a great neighborhood spot that serves outstanding food. Definitely not what you would expect when you see it from the outside. Service is great; food phenomenal. If you haven't been there -- go check it out. Can't wait to go back."
Dined on 2/12/2015
 2000
Special Features: neighborhood gem, good for groups, special occasion, fit for foodies
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Review 11 for The Portage
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

A neighborhood gem!

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"My wife and I celebrated valentines there. Considering the restaurant is located in a low-key neighborhood, overall, the food and ambiance was very good. I will go back. :)"
Dined on 2/14/2015
 2010
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, great for brunch, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies, late-night find
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Review 12 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Great food and service

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"I loved the food, very polished and creative, but the service was some of the best I've ever had outside of Michelin star rated restaraunts. You truly felt well cared for. Thanks."
Dined on 2/13/2015
 2011
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, fit for foodies
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Review 13 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"My wife and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary at The Portage, and we truly enjoyed the experience. The food was exquisite, and the waitstaff were superb. Kudos to all at The Portage! We'll be back soon!"
Dined on 1/31/2015
 2007
Special Features: neighborhood gem, hot spot, fit for foodies
+1point
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Review 14 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

always inventive, but they keep a few fans too

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"Great Place. True neighborhood place. Friendly owners, great food And awesome beer and wine list. Be sure to have a reservation on weekends because it is small and the word is out on how awesome it is!"
Dined on 1/31/2015
 2007
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies, kid-friendly
+1point
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Review 15 for The Portage
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Great neighborhood spot

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"Excellent food, good service, friendly place. Convenient parking.
Tuna & skirt steak were delicious.
Table near the door was drafty in the cold winter weather. Otherwise, an excellent choice."
Dined on 1/29/2015
 2003
Special Features: neighborhood gem
+1point
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Review 16 for The Portage
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

A bit disappointing

Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"We were really looking forward to this meal, but left thinking it was so-so. First, the space itself. This is a cozy restaurant and the noise level is higher than I expected. It is also cramped. We were seated at a two top that was at the crossroads of the dining area and bar, plus the direct path to the kitchen. Not terribly comfortable or conducive to a romantic conversation. Next, the service. We felt hurried through the meal and our server seemed more interested in turning the table, rather than helping us have a good experience. Finally, the food. We had the dates which were very good to start. We had a couple of pork,dishes which were good, but not very memorable. The desert was nice, but again not memorable. In fact, the highlight of the meal was the cocktail-- have the English 75. We were hoping for a neighborhood gem to frequent, but this one fell a bit short. We will try again, in hopes this was simply an off night."
Dined on 1/24/2015
 2012
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Review 17 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"Food was fantastic! So much flavor in everything we had!"
Dined on 1/23/2015
 2010
0points
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Review 18 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"Every time I eat at the Portage I walk away satisfied! I have tried nearly everything from the menu, and was pleased to see a lot of small changes. This prompted us to try even more than usual and we ate a lot of food between two people.. Everything that we ate was incredible: pickled shrimp and beet salad, gnocchi, pork, black cod, scallops, banana bread pudding! The staff is always incredibly friendly and attentive. We have been loyal patrons and will continue to be so! Highly recommended!"
Dined on 1/08/2015
 2013
Special Features: neighborhood gem, good for groups, hot spot, special occasion, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies
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Review 19 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 12/31/2014
 2010
Dined on 12/31/2014
 2010
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"We absolutely love this place! We are regular customers and have yet to have a bad meal. But beyond the inspired food, the service is exceptional. We are always treated as if we are dining at a friend's home when we go there. The place is cozy but lively and the staff friendly, knowledgeable and friendly. While we want the Portage to be successful, we hope that it doesn't catch on too much and make it difficult for us to get a table. Selfish, I know, but what can we say. Just keep this to yourself. :-)"
Dined on 12/31/2014
 2010
Special Features: neighborhood gem, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies
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Review 20 for The Portage
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Downtown dining in city neighborhood

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"If you are looking for sophisticated dining without going into the city and paying $28 to park, try The Portage. Lovely, romantic atmosphere, good cocktails, delicious food with interesting ingredients. Quiet pleasant service but perhaps a little too much explanation about the food. We already know food. Don't give us the tourist explanation unless we ask. Other than that, nice pairings of ingredients."
Dined on 12/20/2014
 2014
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies
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Review 21 for The Portage
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Friendly, Good Service, Good Food

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"Four of us dined Sunday. The restaurant was really busy which seemed to surprise the staff. Casey was our server. Very pleasant, helpful and fun. He kept the place going and we had great service. The chicken is a great way to go. The fish of the day was also enjoyed by 2 in our party.
Good wine list with reasonable prices. Parking is fairly easy in this neighborhood place.
"
Dined on 12/14/2014
 2010
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for outdoor dining
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Review 22 for The Portage
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Pros/Cons to The Portage

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 12/06/2014
 2014
Dined on 12/06/2014
 2014
Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"My husband took me here for a surprise dinner in the city. Parking was free and located in a safe neighborhood which was a huge perk. Upon walking in, you notice a small venue that's dark but warm with maybe 20 tables from what I could see. The service was great but the food was frankly nothing to brag about. I ordered their burger and my husband ordered their rendition of chicken and waffles. Each were beautifully plated and decent in portion size; however, the taste really lacked in both dishes making the entire experience for us just average. If you're not located near the location, I would say it isn't worth the drive."
Dined on 12/06/2014
 2014
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem
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Review 23 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Almost perfect!!

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"Aside from the walnut she'll in the beet salad, which was missing something but still delicious, everything was perfect.
Server was knowledgable of both food and drink menus. Service in general was top notch. Food was excellent with exception noted above.
First course -- Gnioche and Bacon Wrapped Dates
Second course -- Beet Salad and Crab Salad
Third course -- Chicken and Waffles was inventive and perfectly executed. Seafood Risotto was cooked perfectly.
Dessert -- Apple Cobbler and Chocolate Pretzel Bread Pudding both supreme. But if cornered go with bread pudding.
This is the kind of restaurant Portage Park can showcase.
We'll be back. I am already anticipating the Burger and Duck Fat Fries."
Dined on 12/06/2014
 2011
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion, notable wine list, fit for foodies
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Review 24 for The Portage
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Wonderful, creative cocktails.

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"The food was very good with many gluten free items that I need. It was very crowded and the tables are close together. The noise level was overwhelming and at times we ould not hear each other."
Dined on 12/05/2014
 2014
Special Features: neighborhood gem, notable wine list
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Review 25 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Great small spot, tasty food, server fabulous.

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 12/03/2014
 2012
Dined on 12/03/2014
 2012
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"Server was highly attentive but unobtrusive. Kid menu just right: healthy, not fussy, portioned right for an 8 year old with a good appetite. Appetizers & main course all hits. Dessert missed the spot, but that I'm a purist when it comes to creme brûlée. Maybe others enjoy a heavy mint/ginger flavor. Paid good attention to our table with a birthday and 2 older children. Absolutely a hit. Will go back. Will recommend to friends."
Dined on 12/03/2014
 2012
Special Features: neighborhood gem, special occasion, fit for foodies, kid-friendly
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Review 26 for The Portage
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Wow! Interesting food

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"Never had duck fat fries before. They were wonderful. Loved the sciracha aioli! We had 4 different entrees and all 4 of us loved our meals. I had sea scallops and they were tender without being squishy, firm without being hard. Came with green papaya sliced very thinly with a wonderful vinaigrette!"
Dined on 12/03/2014
 2005
Special Features: special occasion, fit for foodies
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Ratings-Only Reviews for The Portage
Based on the average of (58) ratings-only reviews
Overall 
4.6 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.6 / 5
52 out of 52 recommend this product
Food 
4.6 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.6 / 5
Service 
4.5 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.5 / 5
Ambiance 
4.3 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.3 / 5
Noise Level
2.6 / 3
Energetic