A little piece of heaven, right here in New Jersey. That’s right, we’re talking about PORTA!!! An AMAZING Neapolitan pizza joint, by Smith Restaurants. And how lucky are we to have two locations here in New Jersey?! We recently stopped by the Asbury Park location (for ahh, I’d say about the 10 millionth time), and had brunch… ON.A.MONDAY. Porta refers to it as BRUNDAY– and we obviously couldn’t be happier!
Walking in to Porta is pure bliss. Their rustic/industrial ambiance is right up our alley, with exposed beams, festoon lighting, and weathered doors spread out across the back wall.
The main dining room is huge, and completed with communal seating. This has become quite the restaurant trend as of lately. I know, the idea of sitting with strangers can be a bit intimidating to some, but we find it quite lovely, a social experience if you will, even if we do opt to sit at the bar most of the time, obviously to take full advantage of their five dollar mimosa carafes that are offered during brunch. But, if you’re totally against sitting communally, try to snag a 4 top by the bar.
Aside from their ginormous dining room, they have the Monk room (with the coolest wallpaper, maybe ever), a back room, which transforms into a nightclub, and a pretty kick ass outdoor space known as Porta National Park- with colorful picnic benches, a bar (weeeeee), and a space for live entertainment for those warmer months (which can’t come soon enough).
Now obviously the space is amazing… but what really makes us stay for hours (besides the mimosas), is the AMAZING food. The menu changes seasonally, which allows us to renew our love for Porta’s food over and over again! Of course, their staple items remain like the incredible ricotta and mozzarella cheese, which is made in house daily, and their meatballs.
Now, as I’ve said before, when we go to Porta, we make a whole day out of it, and usually stay through shift and menu changes. So brunch usually always turns into lunch…and sometimes even dinner. But hey, that just gives us more time to indulge in many of their menu items. Pizza is a MUST. Porta is known for it. They have so many different varieties to choose from. They have vegan and vegetarian options for the meatless folks too.
This past visit, we decided to opt for a salad- the 6 minute abs. While you won’t notice new abs poking through after 6 minutes, you will totally feel super healthy eating it, while feeling super full and satisfied. I mean, how can you not feel like a health nut eating things like bulgar wheat, lentils, farro, and watercress? Which by the way, all surprised us with their deliciousness. To top things off, this salad is finished with a 6 minute egg. We will take eggs in any form, but this egg was something to write home about. We will definitely be recreating this dish at home, so stay tuned for the recipe.
After slugging back a few more mimosas, it was time to eat again, which we will never argue with. Now, as Italians, we never pass up a Pomodoro, so obviously, we sprang for that. Pomodoro is practically the definition of Italian food and Porta nailed it, as always!
If you live in or are visiting NJ, try to pop into one of their locations, either Jersey City or Asbury Park. We promise, you will not be disappointed.
Porta Paterns Esto. Nulli claudatur honesto – May the door always be open. May it never be closed to any honest person.