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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 WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
Diner Reviews
  • "The outdoor space was perfect for our late lunch and, as always, the food, presentation, and service were all exceptional!"
    Dined on 8/25/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/20/2014
  • "A perfect evening on the patio of Nel Centro. Brought out of town guest to dine at Nel Centro."
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "I arranged a last minute dinner for a party of 13. Nel Centro staff was very accommodating, and everyone enjoyed the meal/service/wine."
    Dined on 8/11/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/3/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Exceelent wine list, server was very good, food was uninspiring and very average, nothing special in the kitchen"
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 7/28/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "The service was terrible, it took almost fourty minutes to get our lunch. My tuna salad was not very good, greens did not look very fresh and the fish was not very tender. My guest enjoyed her chicken sandwich but we exeeded her one hour lunch by 30 minutes. The outdoor seating was the only good experience."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "We had a group of 8 at Nel Centro for an early dinner before a show at the Keller Auditorium a few blocks away. They set up a lovely big table, with city window views and plenty of room for all of us. One couple was stuck in traffic and was a bit late, which the staff handled well. Waitress was very attentive and provided great service all night. As we were chatting and having cocktails, she let us know that we should get our food orders placed before the kitchen got too busy , so we'd stay on track for our show time. Everyone was pleased with their appetizers and dinners, and we made it to the show with a few extra minutes to spare. Would definitely go there again in the future!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "Our server was terrific with both drink and food recommendations! Everything was absolutely wonderful and our server made sure that we finished in time to walk to the theater. Great time with a group of friends!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "Nel Centro has one of Portland's better happy hours (in terms of price, quality, and variety), but sit-down dinner is fine, too. Tough to recommend a single item, although the pastas are tough to pass up (then again, so are the meat and fish). Full wine menu, knowledgeable staff, and meals seem to be brought by first available staff, which is always a plus. The lack of a separate gluten-free menu doesn't mean a lack of GF options."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "The food was amazing, the service was fantastic. My fiance and I had a wonderful time here."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "My husband, teenaged son and I had dinner before a show at the Keller. Our server asked if we we're show-bound to ensure the timing of the meal. Our starter salads were delicious. My steak was cooked perfectly MR. My guys loved their pasta. We even had time for dessert. This is a fun and friendly spot. We'll be back!"
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "There were six of us for dinner, everyone chose something different and every dish was excellent - taste and presentation! Service was also superb. Our waitress was knowledgeable, willing to ask the kitchen for details, attentive without hovering and very accommodating. Can't say enough. And the prices are reasonable for an upscale place. Very attractive restaurant with lovely city views."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "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 have dined numerous times at Nel Centro. Always enjoyed the experience and the food. We had 6PM reservations for 4 on a Tuesday night and the place was PACKED. Loud. Horrible service( It took 2 requests and 20 minutes to get my glass of wine.) We had tickets for a show at 8 PM about 3 blocks away and we didn't have time for dessert because the entrees came out so late. They never should have accepted our reservation request since the place was so packed! We made the request 2 days before the dining event. We like the place, but we'll call ahead next time to make sure we will have an enjoyable dining experience."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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