Porto Bello: Where Cooking is a Family Affair


Suwanee resident Victor Garcia, a long-time chef and restaurateur opened Porto Bello restaurant serving up authentic Italian cuisine at the restaurant’s original location in Suwanee on McGinnis Ferry Road in 2007.

Hugo Garcia, Victor’s son who now helps his father manage and run the business, recalled growing up and going to work with his dad at the different restaurants where his father was chef and part owner. When time came for Victor to open his own restaurant, Hugo said his father was a little nervous at first, and he gave him a little nudge.
“I knew the quality of his food and his work ethic,” Hugo said. “I knew we could make it work.”

Hugo called the old location on McGinnis Ferry Road “the perfect stepping stone” to the new location.

“It was a good opportunity to open up and see what we could do,” Hugo said. “It gave me the opportunity to learn more about the restaurant and to learn more about the clientele.”

The Garcias relocated the restaurant to the new location on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in late November 2011. With the new location came a couple of new elements for the restaurant: opening for lunch and offering a full-service bar. Hugo said it’s their passion for the food and the attention to the details that makes them different from other restaurants.

Some of the menu favorites include the Porto Bello salad, clams and calamari. Popular entrées include Eggplant Rollatina stuffed with pasta ricotta and then baked in a tomato sauce and topped with parmiggiano and mozzarella, Eggplant Parmesean and Lobster Ravioli.

If you’re hungry for chicken, the Chicken Francese in a lemon butter sauce is one of the restaurant’s more popular menu items, but Hugo said the Chicken Scarpariello, which is more of a Sicilian-style dish with garlic, mushrooms, pepperoncini, olives, sausage, potatoes and spices is one of his personal favorites. Menu items also include seafood, veal and beef selections.

“He (Victor Garcia) just does a really good job and everything is as fresh as possible,” Hugo said talking about his father’s cooking. “The sauces are either made on a daily basis or in the moment when he is preparing your meal.”

Currently it is Hugo and his parents working in the restaurant, but his brother, who has been overseas serving in the Army will be back and may offer a helping hand with the restaurant soon.

Hugo said he realizes a lot of family members sometimes have a difficult time working with one another, but he said it’s not like that for them.
“For me it’s a dream come true,” Hugo said. “I love working with them. It’s been great.”

For more information, go to the website at portobelloitaliancuisine.com.


Porto Bello
3370 Lawrenceville Suwanee Road 770-271-4747

BY: Tana Christian Suggs
[email protected]



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