Portofino Bar & Restaurant in Wellswood, Torquay -Restaurant & Bar photographer, Sue Vaughton

United by Taste: The Devon and Italian Connection in Ollie’s Family-Run Trio

A Story of Passion and Tradition

A captivating journey of flavours and experiences awaits you on the beautiful English Riviera. Tucked in the heart of Torquay in South Devon, Ollie and his family have masterfully crafted a gastronomic haven with their trio of restaurant establishments: Ollie’s Restaurant, The Bit on the Side, and Portofino Restaurant & Bar. Embark on this culinary tour, and you’ll soon discover why these places are more than just eateries; they are a testament to family passion, a tribute to quality ingredients, and a love letter to the vibrant local culture.

Ollie’s Restaurant: A Flavourful Ode to Devon

With its doors first thrown open on December 4th, 2020, Ollie’s quickly claimed its spot as a beloved independent restaurant in Torquay’s bustling food scene. The family’s ethos is clear and straightforward: “We’re only as good as our ingredients”. This belief and a desire to deliver the highest quality cuisine drives Ollie’s to form enduring relationships with suppliers across Devon. The result? A tempting array of dishes celebrating the region’s best produce in a vibrant, social setting. Amid the relaxed ambience, every visit to Ollie’s feels like a cosy gathering among friends and family.

It was so exciting to have the opportunity to photograph Ollie’s launch just before they official opened. Superb cuisine crafted by the talented and highly experienced chef Ollie, his team of chefs, his sister, Lydia, and the front-of-house team.

Ollie's Restaurant in Torquay

The Bit on the Side: The Perfect Complement

In November 2021, a narrow shop adjacent to Ollie’s blossomed into a charming entity of its own – The Bit on the Side. It’s not just a boutique bar; it’s a lively culinary sibling that perfectly complements Ollie’s. The Bit on the Side offers an irresistible range of cocktails, drinks, small plates, and even Ollie’s full evening menu. This spirited corner, resonating with the beats of live music every Friday and Saturday, invites you to relax, indulge, and enjoy. It also doubles as an intimate venue for hosting private parties, complete with dedicated barmen and an option for live music.

Portofino Restaurant & Bar: A Slice of Italian Riviera in Wellswood, Torquay

As Ollie’s family’s success story continues, a new chapter was written in May 2023 with the opening of Portofino with Lydia’s leadership. Nestled in the delightful community of Wellswood, Portofino brings the Italian Riviera’s allure to the English Riviera’s heart. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, Portofino offers an exciting Italian menu to satisfy your culinary cravings. Don’t miss their signature Portofino Ice Cream, a sweet treat you can savour on the go!

Portofino is not just about eating; it’s about experiencing. Their Italian cookery classes offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the art of Italian cuisine, giving you the skills to create traditional Italian dishes. Celebrate the fruits of your labour with a grand feast and plenty of vino!

As one 5-star review aptly states, “What can you say? It’s awesome.” Portofino has quickly become a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike. Its fantastic atmosphere, exceptional staff, and delicious food make it a must-visit destination in Torquay.

I spent an unforgettable evening at Portofino Italian Restaurant & Bar two weeks ago! Many thanks to Ollie & Lydia for the invitation to photograph their newly inaugurated establishment in Wellswood. Thank you to all the patrons, friends, family, and staff for their cheerful cooperation and enthusiasm during the photoshoot. Everyone’s willingness to be photographed was an absolute pleasure. You can view the gallery here.

Each of Ollie’s and his family’s restaurant establishments has its unique charm, but they all share a commitment to quality, a love for local ingredients and beverages, and a desire to create memorable experiences. So, whether you’re a food enthusiast, a party planner, or someone looking for a great place to dine, Ollie’s Restaurant, The Bit on the Side, and Portofino Restaurant & Bar await you with open arms and sumptuous fare. Bon appétit!

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