Nel Centro
Nel Centro

Nel Centro

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.nelcentro.com/
  • Phone: 5034841099x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Monday through Thursday: 6:30am - 11:00pm
    Friday: 6:30am - 12:00am
    Saturday: 7:30am - 12:00am
    Sunday: 8:00am - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, French
  • Executive Chef: David Machado
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Private parties, meetings and banquets are available in our five attractive private dining rooms.
  • Private Party Contact: Brianne Rudolph 5034841096x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Columbia
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet parking is available adjacent to the restaurant at the Hotel Modera, 515 SW Clay Street.
A word from Nel Centro
Nel Centro

Aromatic herbs. Classic recipes. The sweep of history. Nel Centro is a modern, light-filled aria to one of the world's most revered cuisines.

Nel Centro (Italian for "in the center") explores the classic dishes of the Riviera and chef David Machado's passion for grand culinary traditions and locally sourced, seasonal food.

Reservations accepted for the main dining room only. Bar & patio seating are first-come, first-served. Happy hour available only in the bar and on the patio (4pm - 6pm every day).

Private parties, meetings and banquets are available in our five attractive private dining rooms.

Valet parking is available adjacent to the restaurant at the Hotel Modera: 515 SW Clay Street.
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Nel Centro reviews from OpenTable diners
147 reviews since June 22, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.2
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (87)fit for foodies (69)good for groups (60)special occasion (50)vibrant bar scene (45)great for lunch (44)neighborhood gem (29)hot spot (26)notable wine list (22)romantic (15)late-night find (9)great for brunch (8)kid-friendly (5)scenic view (5)Show More
  • Depends on what you're looking for
    dumoyer2
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    When people seated after you are having their order taken while you are still waiting to meet your server, when your food starts to arrive and you're still waiting for your drinks, when the wrong entree is placed before you before the error is pointed out and it is whisked away, these are examples of a restaurant in need of service improvement. On the plus side, I love that each table has it's own mini pepper grinder, a trend long overdue. Food is tasty, in particular the duck leg confit was wonderful but something about the salad which wasn't called a Caesar but had an entire anchovy half on it was a bit strange. I'd choose Nel Centro for drinks, bar bites and a truly lovely outdoor dining area before or after the theater.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nel Centro
    kansasona
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    We went to Nel Centro with reservation for five people. Food was good, but smaller portions and a bit pricey. Lots of noise especially if you go there before the concert, however on my reservation notes I asked for a place where it would be less noisy, and they placed us somewhat away from loud groups, which we appreciated very much. Wait for the food was a bit long. Our waitress was very engaging. We ordered a starter of calamari and lemonade, calamari were great, then we ordered five entree plates. Mine was Osso bucco, with lemon risotto. I very much liked the meat. Risotto was okay. For desserts, the best are pear almond gateau and chocolate croissant pudding. Overall a good place to dine with family on special occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    great food and great experience. a fun place to go to with friends or family. love the atmosphere and the location...right in center of town. would return again
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great patio area!
    vicnicVIP
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    The patio at Nel Centro is the place to be in the summer/fall if you are downtown. The service is always great here and the food is good. I always recommend Nel Centro to friends and business associates who are in town for business or pleasure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fresh
    JennVIP
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    We ate at Nel Centro on a quiet Sunday evening. The food was fresh - we enjoyed delicious traditional Italian bolognese and a king salmon special. We didn't notice the fire pit area until after our meal - would recommend sitting outside, if capacity allows.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Corn & crispy prosciutto risotto!
    Nicknick
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Terrific! Enough said.... Oh, and they created a dish for my vegan friend which she enjoyed very much....
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Net Centro makes a memory
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    The food and service were excellent. Met with an out of town friend in for a week of work in town. I picked Nel Centro to appeal to a wide range of tastes and due to it's location and reviews. The service was outstanding. Attentive without being pushy or overbearing. The food was outstanding. Our group had Calamari and a tomato salad as starters. We had varied entrees which were all of high quality and the perfect portion size. My wife was even tempted by a desert from the menu (which she almost never does). Nel Centro was busy but quiet for a Sunday late afternoon/early evening. The valet parking at the attached hotel was worth every penny. All in all, a great experience that I look forward to repeating soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • LOMaxVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Great happy hour, terrific pastas, respectable wine list that pairs well with the food. Cant go wrong here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent
    Wesley
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Great cuisine though our entrées were a little late in coming. Excellent, professional and courteous service. Nice intimate ambiance though also fit for small groups.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Our server was very gracious and did an outstanding job!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nel Centro maintains quality
    Praxismaxisdiner
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    As usual the quality here remains top notch. I have been dining here for years and have never had anything but a first rate experience. The menu offers change over time and each new effort works. Service remains top flight with friendly and knowledgeable wait staff. You can't go wrong here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yummy!
    WaikikWahineVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Wanted to take the chef home so could enjoy the great food everyday
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A little disappointing
    DeeDeeVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    We chose Nel Centro because of its outdoor dining area which is very nice. The servers were very attentive without being overbearing. Everything was pretty good, but the food was a bit disappointing. Two people in our party ordered the Salad Nicoise which was quite small and overloaded with endive. They left the majority of it on their plate. The lamb burger was reported as okay. I ordered the steak sandwich and it was bready and the meat was too chewy. When I took one bite the entire inside of the sandwich came out because you couldn't bite into the steak. The fries were outstanding. All in all we had a nice visit, but the food sure could have been better. We were disappointed because we have had better at Nel Centro.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dinner came too soon
    RushedVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    We have always had outstanding food and service at Nel Centro. This time, we ordered only the salmon entrees--four of us, but we also had cocktails beforehand. We barely had time to get halfway, maybe a third of the way, through our cocktails when our dinners arrived. We had also ordered a bottle of wine which we really could not drink until halfway through our dinner. It was all a bit rushed, but the restaurant was not full. I was very disappointed with the timing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tasty food in quiet restaurant
    pdxpearl
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    The restaurant was quiet enough for us to have a conversation, and the food was excellent. Everything we ordered was brought to us quickly, the portions were just enough for a dinner course, and the flavor combinations worked very well together. Their desserts are exceptional!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sensational
    Lesolie
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    What a wonderful restaurant right in the heart of the city. Food is prepared perfectly, plated beautifully with exemplary service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nel Centro
    Ptownfoodie
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    The food was really nice. I enjoyed the salmon special with chanterelles, corn, tomatoes etc. Very beautifully presented and tasted great. My husband chose the steak with the horseradish aioli and was equally impressed. The service was attentive as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Anniversary Dinner
    DOWF
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    The duck confit is the best ever. You can dress up or down here, it all works. Great service. Good pace.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Noweyman
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Our second visit. Sat on patio and ordered from bar menu. Food and service were good. We'll definitely return
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Breakfast with a broad city view
    Zebraman
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    The large windows provide a great cityscape backdrop from any seat. Our ample booth was a wonderful place to visit and enjoy the Nel Centro Benedict with polenta cakes under perfectly poached eggs. Excellent service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • lola
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Beautiful sitting by the fire pits! The watermelon salad was fabulous, but we thought the main course pasta portions were rather small. Tiramisu bombe was yummy!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous, of course
    Smartwoman
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    The outdoor space was perfect for our late lunch and, as always, the food, presentation, and service were all exceptional!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lovely Meal
    FoodieDrinkie
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The presentation and taste of the dishes were all well balanced, flavorful without being overpowering, beautifully layed out and well proportioned. It was an enjoyable experience with great service - attentive but not intrusive.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice place to eat
    MnDNO
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Nel Centro was a great place for a date night. The outdoor seating was nice and not too loud and the food was great. We preferred the fish to the pasta dish we ordered, but the flavors of both were quite good. The drinks were also excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dining
    PDXGlobaltraveler
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Wonderful service. We were in a festive mood and our server was playful, and interactive - she really "read" us well and made us feel very comfortable. Her service and attention to detail and concern for us was outstanding. The food was presented well, although the steak look kind of lost on the giant plate. The contemporary ambience was just perfect; not pretentious and we had a truly lovely evening. Thank you!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    PuraVida4YouVIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    I enjoyed dinner with friends from work while visiting from California. I liked it so much I returned the next night. The option of indoor or outdoor dining is at Nel Centro is fantastic. We dined outside both nights enjoying the lovely Portland weather in August. Our service was excellent both nights. We had a variety of choices from the menu and all the food was very good. I really appreciate adequate portions as oppossed the the Cheescake Factory excess. Special Recognition. I made a poor choice from the wine list I asked our server is we could reselect and she graciously accommodated my request. I can wait to get back to Portland to enjoy another visit to Nel Centro!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great patio scene
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    A perfect evening on the patio of Nel Centro. Brought out of town guest to dine at Nel Centro.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A clean, well lighted place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    The floor plan is very open, the decor is tastefully modern and the food is very good. Nel Centro is most definitely a go-to place for me when I want good food with great service. I've been here twice separated by about a year between visits. I definitely wanted to come here the second time specifically because I wanted what I had the first time, the spit-roasted pork loin.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Beautiful Interior
    AnnetteM
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    I had never been to Nel Centro. I have heard about it and when my coworker put it in her top 2 for a birthday luncheon I jumped at the chance. The interior was very well appointed. Marble floors, beautiful wood tables and chairs, it was very stunning and with all the floor length windows, very well lit with natural lighting. Their outside seating featured a purgola and bistro tables/chairs. Also appointed well. At a moment's notice they were very willing to move our 9 person group outdoors. Even though it was a beautiful day, we opted to stay indoors. Another fantastic aspect of this great venue is their easy accessibility for persons with disabilities.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Better than we anticipated!
    Nicknick
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Couldn't get into 3 hotspots on a Saturday night & remembered we had drinks here before a show a few months ago. Hotel ambiance (nothing special, although last time we ate outside & it was lovely and hard to get a table)... Dinner for the 4 of us was defiantly worth a trip back. Service a little "hovering" (not crazy bad, but just enough for me to notice it). Calamari for an appetizer was fine, but nothing to write home about. The fresh tomato soup special had my husband waxing poetic.... Salad was nice. One of our party had spaghetti with a red sauce which was very appreciated by the Italian in the group. 2 had steak frites (liked them) & I had one of the BEST fresh corn & pancetta risottos I've ever eaten.... Going back!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Some food good, some less so
    Okfood
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Nice spot, food just ok. Wagyu beef and other steak were very tough. Fries nothing special. Calamari ok, sauces nice. Salad nice. Papa radek every good...maybe best to stick to pastas. Spinach not special. Desserts were nice
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great group dinner!
    golfgal56
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    I arranged a last minute dinner for a party of 13. Nel Centro staff was very accommodating, and everyone enjoyed the meal/service/wine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointment
    decor500
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    We had dinner at El Centro about a year ago, and it was lovely, with great service and very good food. This year (we were visiting Portland from Seattle), we had a very different experience. The food was all right, but not memorable. Our waiter was present in body, but gave the impression that her mind was elsewhere. She definitely was not into service. A haphazard attitude on the part of one's waiter can really influence the overall impression of a meal, including the taste.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • pdxfoodie
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Lovely spot and on the whole very good food. A little disappointed in the pasta, the tomato and shrimp sauce on spaghetti seemed pretty ordinary and a little too much for the amount of pasta.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great server, average food
    PDXgolf
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Exceelent wine list, server was very good, food was uninspiring and very average, nothing special in the kitchen
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    Made reservations at Nel Centro since we attended a function at nearby Keller Auditorium. After a very short walk we arrived and were promptly seated at a very nice table. Our dinner consisted of an appetizer, salad, and entree: lamb shoulder and spaghetti with shrimp. The food was excellent, portions were perfect. Best of all was our waiter. Throughout the evening he was very unobtrusive but very attentive to our needs. Great job Nel Centro. We will be back
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Group friendly
    Oper
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    We had a table of 9 and except for one missed second glass of wine all went well. Interesting and extensive menu. One waitress handled all of us. We appreciated her willingness to break down our orders for payment and we weren't charged 18 percent for a large group.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Fresh creative food, great service
    bluerangersfan
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Takes full advantage of in-season ingredients. Creative, but unpretentious, preparations. Fava bean salad with pecorino & mint with superb. The bar is busy with the after-work crowd and the restaurant is full with the pre-show crowd, but the service is up to the tasks. Nice selection of wines too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not a good date night restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Very noisy hard to have a conservation. Food good but small portions. Tables too close to each other. Great staff very friendly.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Fancy Italian with a Twist
    soccerdoodmanVIP
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Had a great dinner here with friends the other night. Our entire meal (salads, entrees, desserts) was excellent from start to finish.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet