Porta is just one of the genius creations of the Smith group in Asbury Park, NJ. Their Cavolo Nero salad puts Tuscan kale center stage in a tangy lemon garlic dressing topped with sunchokes and watermelon radish, a touch of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and homemade chile-garlic crostini croutons. Porta is an authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant at the Jersey Shore. When we say authentic, we mean the pizza ovens came straight from Italy to Asbury Park. But who says the magic is completely in the oven? Porta’s pizzas are superb because the ingredients are locally sourced and deliciously arranged atop a homemade crust that will make you sing. We adore the arugula pizza, topped with homemade mozzarella cheese, crisp, peppery green arugula, garlic, and truffle oil. We’ve fallen in love with the Autumn Betty, a seasonal pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, goat cheese, garlic, thyme, and fresh mushrooms. And when we feel its time to cheat from our mostly vegetarian diet, we turn to the 14 1/2, a pizza of homemade mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, hot soppressata, and Calabrian chiles. Ultimately, the 14 1/2 is our favorite Porta creation to date.
While the food is magnificent, it is the people who complete Porta. The staff is always thoughtful and attentive, and most importantly, consistent. We love the culture Porta has created, and we love the amount of energy and devotion the Smith group has put into our little city by the sea.