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  • Nel Centro

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Nel Centro
Nel Centro

Nel Centro Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.nelcentro.com/
  • Phone: (503) 484-1099
  • 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: Business Casual
  • 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 (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 (503) 484-1096
  • Entertainment: Live jazz in the bar on Friday and Saturday nights, led by jazz guitarist Mike Pardew. Please check our website for details. http://bit.ly/ybu03B

Getting there

  • 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.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "Went to a late lunch at Nel Centro on a weekday afternoon, taking visiting out-of-towners. We were made welcome despite the lateness of the lunch hour. All enjoyed their lunch dishes."
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "We were at the restaurant for a birthday celebration and we had a fine time."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "Good option for pre-concert dinner. Vibrant caeser salad. Pasta cooked just right - al dente. Wide price range on wines - mostly Italian & French - designed to pair well with the food. Rhubarb pastry for dessert - yum!"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "We had a party of 6 dinning before a show at the Newmark. The food and the drinks were delicious. The service had a slow start but was ultimately attentive."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Thanks for taking care if us and helping celebrate our friend's birthday!"
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "Thank you for the excellent service. Jesse, you are wonderful. It made our 1st day in Portland incredible. The food was some of the best Italian food I have had since I left Chicago. It was truly amazing"
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Great food and $5 parking for the night. Stop for dinner before the Shnitz and come back for a drink or dessert after."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "My husband, friends and I have dined at Nel Centro several times in the past and have enjoyed our dinners. This last visit, however, was very disappointing. Two of the diners in our party ordered the same entrée that we had the last time we dined a month ago. It was the split roasted pork loin. Our entrée, in March, was tender, and flavorful. In April, it was merely an over cooked pork chop laid atop smashed red potatoes. The pork was dry, had no flavor, and was not appealing or appetizing at all. Consistency is vitally important; it is impossible to order a dinner not knowing if it will be the same or even close to the previous experience."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "It's nice to find a place in Portland that you don't have to wait 2+ hours to get a table and still has quality food. The service was great as well as the food! I dined with 3 other people and we all enjoyed out meal as well as our appetizers! I would definitely recommend Nel Centro to others!"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "This was our second time. The bread was cold which translated in to a chewy dough. The salad: some ingredients were very cold some at room temperature... a texture surprise. Three of us order the halibut special: the pesto was the worst I ever had. The halibut: had a persistent after taste. When I brought it up in the car we agreed about the fish aftertaste. The dessert was an unmemorable poached apple pastry. For the $$$$ not worth returning. I gave it one star based on the food only. After all, without good food the architecture and ambiance doesn't count."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "This was my first time to Nel Centro. Took a friend for her birthday before a show at the Dolores Winningstad Theater. I've heard about it but finally made it there. The food and service were terrific. Loved the individual quiche. The pastry was so flaky. Never thought about cauliflower in a quiche but it was great. The coffee is excellent and our waitress kept our coffee cups filled."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Varied menu. Food presentation very appealing. Meal components blended well together, and tasted delicious. Service was attentive but not interruptive. Server cleared tableware after each course. Second visit to Nel Centro, both times during rainy weather. Will return during dry weather to enjoy the outside courtyard."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • ". Things started well with a friendly and attentive server. I had the butternut squash soup which was creamy and delicious. My husband felt that the dressing overwhelmed the salad . The entrees were very disappointing. The nuts that should have given the cannelloni some crunch were rather soggy and the dish was bland. My husband's pork was brought to the table almost cold and was dry and over-cooked. When we mentioned this to our server, she immediately came back with a replacement portion. This one was somewhat hotter and parts of it were cooked perfectly. However some parts were almost raw. The meal did end on a high note, though, with an incredible pear/proseco sorbet. However, I will not be returning. t"
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "I've been coming to Nel Centro for several years and have never been disappointed. I especially love the outdoor patio dining here--the firepits make it comfortable almost year round. I had out of town company from Seattle and we had a fine dinnner this past weekend. I had the pork chop dinner which was just perfectly cooked and my friends had the halibut and the spareribs. Everybody loved their meal! The service is always great too - timely and friendly."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Every time I eat at Nel Centro, the place is never overly crowded except for lunch and Happy Hours. I think that since it is connected to the Hotel Modera people underestimate how good this restaurant is. The prices are reasonable and the the food is very good. I have tried their Crab Cakes Benedict, Pork Sandwich, Lamb Burger, Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad , Pork Loin and soups and it was all good. This is a restaurant I would recommend."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "When we arrived for Portland Dining Month it was somewhat early and I think the after work crowd was still there (6:15pm) and it was a little noisy but we were able to get a table that was pretty good, noise wise. And after 7 pm it started to quiet down. Good was very tasty--all of it. Service was excellent. Would recommend Nel Centro to my friends."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "But many look for an energetic atmosphere. Would suggest postponing dinner reservation to 7:00 or later."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Great spot for a business lunch, lively atmosphere but privacy sufficient for business conversation, and the food was excellent."
    Dined on 3/24/2014
  • "Food is always fantastic. fresh, delicious, creatively prepared. Excellent waitstaff--friendly, on-the-spot, accommodating. I don't get the decor, personally, and I would prefer less noise. Great large bar/lounge and very cool fire pits and living wall outside."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Lunch with friends. Good food and terrific service. One of my favorite restaurants. Highly recommended."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "We had the Portland Dining Monthly menu plus a very good calamari appetizer . The salad was very good, though I prefer a higher greens to dressing ratio. The generous portion of roast pork loin was tasty, though a tad dry, served with celery root and potatoes. The panna cotta dessert was outstanding. The house rosé was unexceptional, but the coffee was excellent. The restaurant is spacious, but the many tables are so close together, you hear your neighbors' conversation. Decor is spare - it looks like a chain restaurant - but the patio is reportedly lovely. Service was attentive but not overbearing."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "food at this place is fantastic. Have never had a meal here that wasn't awesome."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "My husband and a friend of ours dined at Nel Centro for the Prix Fixe special for March. I loved the space, great large booths and high ceilings, beautiful lighting! The focaccia bread was yummy and the olive oil served was quite nice. My endive,apple & blue cheese salad was delicious - not too heavy on the delicious dressing! My husband had the butternut squash soup which was absolutely perfect! My pork tenderloin was tender and the sauce (not sure what is was) was fantastic. The potatoes were cooked just right and were yummy! My husband's cannelloni was good - not great. He felt it was a little salty. I enjoyed the panna cotta for dessert - my husband and friend like their sorbet. All in all, it was a great experience. We will go back!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Nel Centro is one of our favorite dining choices when we have tickets for the symphony. Excellent food and service, within comfortable walking distance to the Schnitz. This makes for a stress-free, enjoyable evening out."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Nel Centro turned out to be a great place to have dinner and catch up with friends. The service was excellent, attentive yet unobtrusive. The food was up to Portland standards. The March fixed prix menu was delightful including the winter squash soup, salad , pasta, and wonderful desserts--panna cotta or peach/berry sorbet. Along with a Willamette Valley pinot noir, and it came together well tot us. We had a good visit with our guests and hate to leave when the meal was over. A comfortable and pleasant dining experience."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "My husband and I found the dishes lacking in creativity. The presentation of the courses and wine list were boring. Our servers seem to be less than engaging and in a hurry. No real ambience for the dining experience. The bar was sparsely stocked and the bartender was stingy with the alcohol. Not worth a return visit!"
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "i had not been here for breakfast before and it was great. Good food and service."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "This is an ok place for quick drink with friends after work, but the food is forgettable. With all the wonderful places to eat in Portland, it just doesn't make sense to spend much time here."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "We took advantage of Dining Month to have dinner at Nel Centro and were glad we did. The food was tasty, especially the squash soup and panna cotta. The portions were generous and attractively presented. The service was friendly, attentive, efficient, and responsive. It included nice touches such as being asked if we had a performance to attend after dinner and being thanked by staff members whom we passed on our way out of the restaurant. The staff seemed to work well with and like each other. The only downside was that the pour of the glass of wine I ordered was a little light."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "We used the $29 March special dinner. The meal was fantastic. Our server was most helpful. Only complaint was the service was a little slow, considering we were there as the dining room opened at 5PM."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "Strongly recommend this awesome place for your family. Warmhearted professional service and excellent foods. Worthy to visit it."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Service and atmosphere was fantastic, food was delicious - just too bad the main dish was about five bites, an expensive five bites!"
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "This part of downtown Portland has few places to eat before or after a visit to the Portland Museum of Art or Keller Auditorium. We recently had an early dinner at Nel Centro before seeing a film at the Whitsell Auditorium (at the art museum) and loved the wonderful small plates, including to-die-for butternut squash soup. We'll be back for brunch before a Portland Opera matinee--or supper after."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "I wanted a place where my elderly mother would find familiar items on menu, but have a pleasant reaction to the flavors and flavor combinations. Nel Centro exceeded my expectations. The brunch menu is excellent and every bite a taste sensation. The server was informed, helpful, and gave good service. We could even hear the live string quartet from the bar area. Honestly, I couldn't have hoped for more. Delightful"
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "The food was outstanding. We all loved our choices. Nothing was overcooked or cold. The bread is delicious. We had to ask for coffee and water but it was lunch time and they were busy."
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "This spot remains rock solid. The food is outstanding. Change is just enough to bring new pleasures. Staff is knowledgeable and very pleasant."
    Dined on 3/3/2014
  • "Special event with live jazz on Sunday brunch. All around great experience enjoyed by an appreciative crowd."
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "I was underwhelmed by my stay at the Hotel Modera, where Nel Centro is located, but very pleasantly surprised by the restaurant. My partner and I enjoyed a beet salad, endive salad, french fries, butternut squash gnudi, duck capelletti, and the 12-layer chocolate pistachio mousse cake one evening, and a Florentine omelette and bloody mary for brunch another day. The service was impeccable--genuinely pleasant, and attentive without being intrusive. And the food, while not stunningly original (they have to please a broad audience, no doubt), was very well executed and served in portions that left us satisfied but not stuffed. The coffee was some of the best I had in Portland (which is really saying something), and the bloody mary was perfect."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Close to the Theater location with good food and atmosphere."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "I'd been wanting to check out Nel Centro for a while, and put it off because there were other solid establishments hosted by the same restaurateur, now lamentably gone: Lauro Kitchen and Vindalho, which were both consistently wonderful. The environs of this restaurant are beautiful. The food was consistently excellent. If my rating it 4 out of 5 stars seems inconsistent with that reckoning, it is only because I reserve 5 stars for establishments that surprise and wow me."
    Dined on 2/15/2014