Hot Dogs – Beef Burgers – Salads

Portillo’s has been a firm family favorite since we re-located here many years back. It is set up to be the quintessential Chicago diner. Until recently we had to travel to Brandon to sample the menu which made it a once in a blue moon kinda place and so not worthy of reviewing. However a new store has opened on 7715 Palm Parkway, Orlando FL 32836 and another is due to open in the heart of the tourist district on the 192..so we thought it was time to let you all know what we think!

Portillo’s is known for Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, chopped salad, cheese fries, homemade chocolate cake, and chocolate cake shake. The Italian beef is slow-roasted for four hours, thinly sliced, and served on freshly baked French bread. Then, it’s dipped in hot gravy made with homemade blend of seasonings. If you like a soggy sandwich then you will love this – me, I’m not a fan to be honest.

The diners are clean and have a sense of theatre about them. It’s a walk up self serve style counter but the staff are in ‘character’ and you can see the order cooks hard at work. Once you have your order placed, wait in line and your order will get yelled out by one of the staff like a bingo caller! Seating is first come first served so if you have a large party find your seating before you queue to place an order otherwise you might be walking around holding your food!

Whilst I’m not a fan of the soggy sandwich option I can say that the chocolate cake is super moist (one piece isn’t enough though) and the chocolate cake milkshake (yes you read it correctly) is awesome according to my kids.

The burger though…. their charbroiled double burger is my top pick. I’ve long been a fan of Five Guys burgers and it’s been my No1 favorite for years. Recently though, the more I’ve tried, the Portillo’s burger the better it gets and I can now declare it my No1 favorite burger in Florida! It’s not over complicated – just a soft bun with simple lettuce, onion and tomato added. That’s all that’s needed because the burgers themselves are the star. They are flame grilled and super tasty. Whilst I still love a Five Guys burger this just goes to show you don’t need lots of toppings and sauces to have a winner. Five Guys fries are nothing short of superb though and Portillo’s, whilst crinkle cut, can’t compete.

Editors Note : Five Guys is opening a new restaurant on I27, just a short distance from Portillo’s on the 192, so my drive home is going to become calorific!!