We had Christmas dinner for six at Portabella. It has been highly recommended in some publications but also dismissed as a chain tourist trap locally. It has a nice location on Ocean Avenue, a charminig patio for dinning, and a very nice ground floor dining room. There are also other less desireable dinning rooms unless you are making use of the dog-friendly back patio. It was not particularly busy and there seemed to be plenty of staff present. We were seated at our lovely reserved table on time and then it fell appart. The service was rushed from the moment we were seated, that is except for the times when it completely disappeared. When we did not order cocktails immediately on being seated, the server disappeared. There was no water. The server eventually returned, explained the menu and made recommendations which we ordered. We had to ask for water. We were served an inadequate portion of bread for the table and nobody came to refill the empty basket. There was still no water or drinks. The mushroom appetizer was served tepid, was mediocre and there were still no beverages. The meals were brought with the water. After asking, the wine was brought later. The halibut and salmon were cooked rock hard and not eaten. The veal shank ordered medium rare was medium well to well done. I had to search the restaurant for the server and he said that he would take care of it. The uneaten and partially eaten meals were removed but it was too late to re-order entrees. The waiter and another staff member told us that they would personally pay for our desserts to make up for the unsatisfactory main courses and that was all that they could do. Meanwhile, the owner was sitting at the bar in the rear. As we were hungry and some had not eaten, we had a variety of desserts and they were average. We were charged for the entrees and this is an expensive place. We left dissatified and will not return. There are plenty of other good restaurants in Carmel.
Pros: Nice setting
Cons: Food, service, attitude, cost.