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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: 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 (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

  • 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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Diner Reviews
  • "On the 90˚ day we dined, our booth next to the kitchen was uncomfortably warm. The food was quite good and well prepared and presented; however featuring asparagus when it is near the end of the season in an otherwise well conceived ravioli dish was a mistake. It was woody and flavorless, the asparagus–a mistake the executive chef, whom we presume does selects and buys produce for the kitchen, should not make. And the service: we waited over a half an hour before our drinks appeared. The server made apologies, stating the bartender was "overwhelmed." This was on an evening when many diners were there in advance of opening night for a major broadway show. Nel Centro prides itself on pre-theatre service. It fell short, very short."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "A group of 4 wanted to have dinner pre-show at the Keller Auditorium, someplace with good food and close by. Nel Centro was a perfect choice. I made an advance reservation with Open Table and was very happy to see that in spite of the restaurant being packed and about 5 minutes late, our table was ready! The food was excellent. Two of us had a salmon special and it was cooked exactly to my request. The restaurant was very busy with pre-show diners and our service was a little slow. We actually had to take our request to pay the bill to the host station as our waitress was not around. I would suggest staffing a little extra, knowing these show nights will be extra busy for a short duration. I would definitely recommend."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "We had dinner outside in the courtyard. Our meals were fair to good. Cocktails were creative and excellent. Soups fell short of the expectations set by their prices. Tomato soup had a cheerful tomato flavor but no depth, no lingering flavor. Pea, romaine, and mint soup was earthy, layered, though mintless. Salads were fresh, competent, nothing special. Entrees didn't arrive until we'd been there almost an hour and had to tell the servers we needed to leave soon. A salmon special was tasty with interesting veggies. A calamari appetizer was large-portioned and blah, its only flavor too much pepper. Cost for 2: $100. Worth it? Nel Centro is one of the great outdoor dining spaces, but I wonder if the food is being allowed to slide."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "From the friendly greeting, to the cocktail, to the delicious brunch - everything was fantastic. The decore is modern, yet cozy and very natural looking. There is plenty of seating for large groups if needed. The outdoor area is also spacious and provides a nice setting with several firepits. A really nice place to go!"
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "I took a group of clients to Nel Centro (chose the venue based on online reviews). The restaurant was very patient with me as the number in my group kept fluctuating. Great experience, good wine, great food, great service, and a great time with my clients. A good find in downtown Portland where like restaurants are hard to find."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Went before a concert and they got us in send out without feeling rushed. We split a salad send ravioli. Perfect combination with a 50ml white wine. It was the start of a very nice evening."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "waiter seemed like serving was a lot of work so the experience of eating at the restaurant was less than it has been on previous occasions."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "I've been here many times and every time the service and the food is spot on. Their happy hour is great too! I love that the outdoor dining area is enclosed and somewhat secluded from the street and passersby."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Few places in Portland are as pleasant as the garden courtyard at Hotel Modera/Nel Centro on a warm summer evening. The wine list includes a few very good and fairly priced selections - e.g., Roilette Fleurie "Cuvee Tardive" for under $50 a bottle. But the food cries out for more robust wine - like the bottle of La Bota de Palo Cortado 34 I brought for dinner. A salad of fava beans and pea shoots with slivers of shaved pecorino, lemon and mint, was just perfect - simple, fresh and quintessentially summer. Grilled leg of lamb came with runner beans and salsa verde: perfectly cooked meat, bold flavors to accompany it, a match concocted in heaven for the sherry. Fruit sorbet, good espresso, friendly service made a perfect evening."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "needed an early pre-concert meal. decided to try this place. service was great . food recs seemed spot on. and got to our concert in good time."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "We had a business lunch and it worked out perfectly. The food was delicious and the service was just right, not rushed at all. Wonderful salads and sandwiches!"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Great ambiance, great food, and wonderful views from the windows. Never disappointed, except one time, when the wait person billed our table twice. It was corrected. Love to come for HH after the Keller presentation."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Quiet enough to talk. Great menu. Excellent wine choices. Split the bill for each couple, thanks for that. Food was excellent with one minor flaw. Several of us had the croissnt bread pudding and we all felt it was too dry. Could have used a sauce, duck confit, excellent. Lamb was perfect as was the fish. Wild boar ragu was excellent and upon request served it with polenta instead of the pappardelle pasta. Short ribs also excellent. We are a group that dines together frequently around town."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "I eat at Nel Centro quite frequently and the food and atmosphere are always great. There servers are top in the city."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "I usually have dined at Nel Centro for dinner or for the bar menu. I was very pleased to dine there for lunch. The menu, meal and service were all excellent. I was happy that I had made a reservation as there were no empty tables."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "The food here is consistently good and the staff is very accommodating. Good for work lunches/dinners."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "First time visiting for dinner. The service was fantastic, just the right attention to detail but not annoying. Busy night with a full house. My leg of lamb was done to perfection. My wife's pasta was good but not exceptional. Salad's were tasty and well presented. Overall nice evening and would consider dining here again."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Everything we ordered was cooked perfectly, very tasty and creative. Our server was friendly and very helpful in meal choice. Outdoor bar area was wonderful. Wewill go back."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "All around, the best dining experience and its located right below a top notch hotel. The food is great, the atmosphere is relaxed and enjoyable. Full bar and great outdoor seating. I would not recommend for little kids, but teen kids would easily fit in. Two thumbs way up!"
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "Dining out on the patio on a sunny warm day, doesn't get any better in a downtown location. The grilled tuna Niçoise salad was well prepared with the tuna seared just enough. There is a good selection of wines by the glass."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "Have dined at Nel Centro four times, always most enjoyable. The rotisserie chicken is outstanding!"
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "Service was very very slow. Wine arrived as the meal was ending. We asked to move an umbrella for shade (it was not being used) and were told it was their policy to not move umbrellas. Eventually we were offered another table, which was a great improvement."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Happy hour offerings, dining el fresco prior to symphony performance was fantastic."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "We had a lovely lightly grilled halibut with just a spring salad and a lovely Oregon Pinot Gris. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy happy hour on their lovely outdoor patio. It's a great place to people watch and/or meet friends at the end of the work day!"
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "I met someone here for a first date about 9:00 on a Friday night. The weather was perfect...the outdoor area was quiet and inviting. Fire was burning nicely in the middle of the outside courtyard. I had some french fries with the special fancy (Harissa) ketchup, a pizza (I think it was the spicy capicollo) and the tiramisu. I arrived first and it took a few minutes for the server to find me, but they did a good job otherwise. We stayed until 12:30 and then they very politely booted us out."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "Our party was happy with our evening out at Nel Centro. The food was good, especially the pomme frites. There are no vegan options, so our vegan diner had an option of only vegetable sides. They were well prepared, but it was still just a couple of side plates of vegies. Just a little sad looking. The best thing ever is the citrus beet salad. It's delicious."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "First time visit and it was a nice pleasant surprise for our party of six. Great bar, wonderful wait staff, and exquisite meal. Not a budget buster either!"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "I always enjoy Nel Centro. I am most often there for lunch and am a big fan of their daily fish special."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "Nel Centro is unusual because they get everything right -- the service, the food, the décor, even the wireless access. I go there whenever I can."
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "We had a lovely evening at Nel Centro. The restaurant, off the lobby of the Hotel Modero, is very nicely appointed with excellent lighting and street views. Because the tables are well spaced, the ambient background noise is refreshingly low, allowing an actual conversation. The staff was very attentive and friendly and professional. The menu was varied and interesting and our meals were beautifully prepared and excellent! We'll be back. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Great place to go with friends lots of booth seating. great bar. Lighting is nice an food is consistently good as well as bar and cocktails. Nice walkability at this end of town."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "I've been to Nel Centro many times and it remains one of my favorite restaurants. Whenever I'm downtown for a meal I always suggest Nel Centro. "
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "Always a warm welcome and a stable set of choices. "
    Dined on 5/19/2014
  • "We've been here a few times, for dinner & breakfast. The food is outstanding - interesting (small) menu, well prepared, delicious. Good wine selection, amazing, creative cocktails. I would have given it 5 stars except the service is not up to its otherwise high standards. More than once we've been seated for dinner & given water, only to sit & wait for 10 minutes before being approached by waiter or offered a beverage. At breakfast, a request for Tabasco (for instance) is followed by a several-minute wait, while eggs get cold. If they'd get this sorted out, it would bump to 5 stars in an instant."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "we had not been and enjoy trying 'new to us' spots. Very good overall. A little 'hotel sterile' but nice the food very good .. boar ragu over pappradelle was great."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "Had another lovely meal at Nel Centro--great service, interesting menu selections and fantastic (but not overwhelming) wine list. We've eaten here perhaps 3 or 4 times and have never been disappointed. In fact, we came back the next night (with our son) after the Oregon Symphony for a drink and dessert! The outdoor patio is charming--modern but not cold, kind of relaxing and zen-like and the fire tables are awesome."
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "My wife and I made a late dinner decision and picked Nel Centro as she had heard from a friend the food was great. Her friend was right as both mine and my wife's meal were super. Prior to making the reservation, we were both hesitate as we have driven by the restaurant in the past and it did not seem too busy (which often is not a good sign). Now, after eating at Nel Centro, we only can hope the secret does not get out too quickly as we certainly plan to return (and hope we can get reservations)."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "We've had some bad experiences over the years trying to find a place that will accommodate a large group and offer good food, while not blasting us with noise and crowds and all the requisite Portland stuff. We ate at Nel Centro for Mother's Day brunch, and it was absolutely perfect! A large table in a quiet space, wonderful food, excellent service, and not horribly expensive. My whole family (!) was pleased. We will be back!"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "We stopped at Nel Centro for the first time before attending a performance at Keller Auditorium. The food was delicious and the service was quick. They were very busy, but our server was sure to come back and take one more drink/food order from the Happy Hour menu."
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "This is the second time I've eaten at Nel Centro. The first time was dinner. This time was Mother's Day Brunch. Both times the food was fresh and prepared perfectly. I appreciated the fresh spinach on the omelet that was minimally wilted and still bright green. I love the goat cheese in different meal selections. The fruit in the fruit plate was just right for ripeness. A refreshing cup of jasmine green tea was available and nice 'stiff' cup of coffee for my companion. We would definitely eat here again. We've recommended it to friends and they also enjoyed their meals."
    Dined on 5/11/2014