After a trip to the Citadel outlets, I decided to stop by Porto's for a light dinner. The one in Downey is the newest establishment and is just less than 6 miles away from the outlets. Traffic at 6pm gets pretty heavy along the I-5. Also a panhandler was weaving in and out of traffic.
The parking structure is free of charge, although you have the option of valet service also.
A line was already starting to form outside. I was 3rd in line but the people in front of me said they only wanted cakes and they were allowed inside. Inside were two main lines heavily packed and once inside, more people immediately lined up after me. However, the lines went by relatively fast as there is quite an impressive staff.
When in the "Bakery" line, you are asked what type of pastries you want first. So I ordered the Chicken Crouquette, a Chicken Empanada and 3 Potato Balls. After you place these orders, your helper places them in a box for you and you wait in line at the cashier. The cashier will then ask if you want anything else. So I get the Pan con Bistek with a Guava smoothie. My order came out to be just under $20.
Despite the intimidating large number of people, everything is highly organized and your order is well taken care of. The people making the drinks call out your number and it was only a matter of minutes before mine was done. The drink maker even asked if I would like whipped cream...which I didn't want any, but it's always nice to be asked if you want extras and things isinit???
Around the corner were where other people were waiting for their orders. They have these high counter table things where you can put down the pastries you've ordered and perhaps nibble on them while you wait for your sandwiches...I nibbled on my potato ball and it is pretty yummy. It has potato and meat inside and they do not skimp out on anything like some places where it might be filled with air. It is a good size and very satisfying. My only complaint is that it doesn't hold together too well as in it starts to lose its structure after two bites or so...and hence it is probably best eaten in under three bites but I'm the type of person that likes to savor every moment of a good thing.
I'm not quite sure why the place draws soo many people. It is a good sized establishment...it looks like there is even a second floor. The food is good; the service is fantastic...it is clean with no strange smells to speak of other than a tantalizing aroma of quality food...
The large number of people in line is rather reminiscent of that at the 85 Degrees Bakery. The waiting experience is more pleasant or it may just be that the customers are less pushy here.
Perhaps considering that there is quite a large number of fast food restaurants nearby, Porto's is considered to be quite a fancy establishment even though it appears to be just pastries and sandwiches.
I have had their little cakes and sweets on my birthday last year at the establishment in Glendora. The sweets are beautifully created but I thought that the taste was just ok to the point that I didn't even finish it right away. Then my cat died three days later and the sweets just sat in the fridge til my mom finished them up...that is how impressed I am with their sweets.
I'm not much of a coffee drinker but they have a huge selection of different types of the caffeinated beverage and could be heaven for coffee addicts. Their guava smoothie is good, freshly made with all natural ingredients, nothing wierd. But with the same price, you could go out and buy a carton of Sun Tropics Guava juice which is exactly what it tastes like.
Sandwiches are freshly made, but again I felt that there was something lacking in the taste. More butter on the bread perhaps. However, I would definitely go back for the potato balls and chicken croquettes if I were in the area again.