Caro Amico Italian Cafe

4.6
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314 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Caro Amico Italian Cafe is located in a venerable mid-century building on Barbur Boulevard, just 20 blocks south of downtown Portland. Full of history, memories, & Frank Sinatra songs from the 60's, Caro Amico qualifies for 'traditional' in the City's treasured old family restaurants. Situated just below 'Pill Hill,' Caro offers a view of Portland's burgeoning high rise waterfront and, of course, the 21st Century Aerial Tram as it makes its way from the waterfront below to the University Hospitals and Offices above.

Our Deck is open now for Outdoor Dining. Enjoy Happy Hour on the Deck or in our Cozy Bar. 5:00-6:00PM.


What 314 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DB
Portland
16 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience3

It’s was as good as we remembered from 23 years ago. Food excellent, staff friendly decor probably could use a refresh.
Will definitely go back!

K
Portland
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Been going here for years. Food is always great. Lasagna, meatballs pasta carbonara, excellent!! Our waiter, Brohim, was amazing. Recommended a wonderful syrah and took great care of us.

VN
Portland
10 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Wow, I've lived in this area for 35 years and never been to this neighborhood gem. Loved it. Wonderful food!

JJ
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

A cute little house-converted restaurant tucked away off of Barbur. Elsie, the owner, stopped by the store where I work and gave me her business card with a note on the back to get a free pizza any time I wanted to stop by. We ordered the PSU Viking (with roasted garlic? I know it sounds strange, but it was delicious!) and Elsie happened to be at the restaurant that night, walking around and talking to guests. She’s very attentive, and clearly knows how to run a restaurant. I’m only docking a couple points for service because we had a hard time getting a server’s attention multiple times throughout our dinner, but it was Valentines Day and they were very busy so it’s completely understandable! Overall I’d highly recommend stopping in to get some high-quality Italian cuisine in a very down-to-earth atmosphere.

Thank you Elsie!

BC
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Caro Amico is my go-to Italian restaurant. The owner is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and the food is perfetto! My sweetheart and I had a romantic dinner while watching the full Snow Moon rise over the Cascade Range.

RL
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience1

This place needs to be remodeled. It smells so bad! As soon as you walk in, it smells like grandma’s moldy basement. So that set the tone for the meal. I get that it’s an institution, but I could see how business could continue to decline. Hanging on the twinkly light view and the dedication of regulars...

DP
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

By far our favorite in town. In fact we will celebrate Valentines Day here. So, at the risk of making it more difficult to make a reservation in the future, we happily submit this 5 star review!

B
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Wonderful
We will be back

l
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I was visiting my sons in Portland from the northeast. The food was on par with one of the best Italian restaurants in the Northend of Boston. Superb.

MS
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I've Been going to Caro Amico for over 40 years, excellent as usual

m
Seattle
26 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Birthday! Perfect food, lovely service. Thanks for making it special.

MM
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall2food3service1ambience3

Took my wife, my mother and mother in law to dinner for my wife's birthday. The waiter did not even bother to ask if we wanted anything to drink, then brought bread. We ate the bread which was hard and may destroy your mouth (maybe that's the plan) then the waiter starts bringing our orders without clearing any of the dishes from appetizers. My mother in law literally held her dish out for him as he placed her plate down, and he completely ignored it. We had to pile the dishes up ourselves and ask him to take them PLEASE.
Simply garbage experience. Still tipped him 30%. Cause that's what you do.

EN
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really enjoyed our meal. Everything was great. We will be back.

FR
Portland
27 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved it. Amazing service and lovely atmosphere. Food was delish!

SM
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We usually order the Pasta Putanesca with a shared Caesar Salad. Good old time ambience, delicious food and good wine/cocktails.

B
Munich
92 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

classic American Italian place. Always good. Genuine and authentic, not trendy. Old school bar is amazing.

OT
Portland
12 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Food was overpriced and tasted mediocre

OT
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

We feel like we found a hidden gem after our other reservation fell through!! So happy to get a last minute table for 8 on a Satieday evening. Went without knowing anything about Carol Amico and everyone in our group was very impressed and happy with their meal. We will return on our next visit from Seattle

D
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Loved this place since the '50s, when it was where most Portlanders enjoyed their first bite of pizza.
Coming in the door one was greeted by the scent of Italian herbs, the crust was thin and crispy, the minestrone divine. Sorry to say that is no more. Soup recipe is changed, crust is inconsistent, and this time tasteless and not crisp. Chop salad is good, but don't think cheese was Italian. As it is quieter we
prefer sitting in the bar. This visit it was a real treat as the bartender was fun to watch, and in spite of
being very busy mixing drinks, was a very efficient server as well. While we miss Butch as our greeter
we very much enjoy his replacement. She is quite gracious, and reacted immediately when told of
the messy state of womens' tiny restroom. Overall, at this point I would be cautious about recommending it to friends.

SM
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Caro Amico has a great atmosphere and the food is consistently excellent. We've been coming here for years and plan to continue. Our favorite is the Pasta Putanesca.

OT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is incredible!!

K
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Three of us were celebrating a birthday at Caro Amico. We each decided to order pizza. Two of us ordered the smaller 8” personal size. What a surprise to see the plentiful amount of toppings on them, much more than we had anticipated. Flavors were wonderful ... fresh. Personnel were all prompt, most friendly and helpful. A good time and dinner was had!

L
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is a delightful place for a group. The setting is nice, and the food and service are outstanding!

OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Solid food. Excellent service. A PDX classic.

T
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

I had dinner with my family of 6 the night before Thanksgiving. The food, wine, menu selection was wonderful and at a great price, too! We will definitely be back!

OT
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Delicious!

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The owner is very nice and explained some of the history of the Italian neighborhood.

LG
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was yummy, staff was friendly, and I loved the old world feel of it!

R
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Good classic old school Italian food and ambiance.

R
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My son-in-law and I had a lovely dinner at Caro Amico. We had some serious talking to do and the staff was so great. Food was the usual—fantastic!

OT
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The presentation of the meal was just perfect. The cacophony of flavors lead up to an orgasmic culinary crescendo paired with a gorgeous chianti that was extraordinary...just delightful and perfect.

BH
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a warm welcome here. The view is very nice, the staff are friendly and the food is excellent.

KS
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We go here every year for our Anniversary. Its cozy, friendly, warm. Gorgeous view and the food is AMAZING! We love the Tiramisu! They also have a wonderful wine selection. The service is always great & the servers are friendly. We highly recommend this lovely restaurant!

u
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous dining with well prepared and presented meals in a beautiful and historic atmosphere.

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious as always, superb service and ambiance

S
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Took my 15 yo daughter here, this was our guest time. Wanted Italian food, but did not want to drive into downtown. So we tried the place for the first time, and we were very pleased. Decore, was simple order style, which was fine for us. The hostess, and waiters were so friendly, with great service. Our garlic prawns appetizer was delicious, and not overcooked. Both of our pastor was just wonderful. We had lava cake for dessert, and that was also very delicious. We would definitely come back

m
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience3

I have not had a pizza at Caro Amico's for a number of years. In my memory, the hand made crust was always excellent as well as the ingredients. This time my pizza crust tasted like something that came out of the grocery freezer. In addition, the mozzarella (I presume) was poor quality. Our waiter was excellent, but I was disappointed in my meal.

OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience3

This was a dinner that I planned with my in-laws in town. When we arrived no one was at the check in station for seating. Then we waited for 2-3 minutes for the staff to come and greet us. Once we were seated, the waiter took a long time to come to the table and then they ran out of the wine we requested...absolutely unimpressed. The waiter used verbiage like “what do you want” and had ABSOLUTELY NO SOCIAL SKILLS. He made the whole table feel uncomfortable and was honestly the reason I 100% won’t be returning. The food was okay, the garlic bread was small. The restaurant was so loud the waiter kept saying “what!?” I wasn’t offered desert. I wasn’t offered an alternative to the BOTTLE OF WINE I ATTEMPTED TO ORDER. There should have been a better service. Also I was celebrating two birthdays which we were not ever told happy birthday by the server when mentioned. Don’t come here for special occasions.

ON
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall2food3service4ambience2

Service was very good and solicitous. Cocktails were good. Two of our party had the scallop pasta, which was excellent. One had the ravioli in red sauce. The sauce simply was not very good. We don't make a practice of sending dishes back, but in this case, that's what we did. The booth was cramped and not very comfortable. If you go, we'd highly recommend the scallops but all in all, we probably will not go back.

CY
Los Angeles
27 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall5food4service3ambience4

We loved the owner of the restaurant. She found out we were from Hawaii and shared with us her stories of her husband being stationed in Hawaii and her children being born there. She walked around chatting with various patrons.

It was a Friday, so it was packed and the service was a bit slow. It it was expected with the number of people seated. It’s very noisy in this restaurant. People with hearing aids might have a hard time. It was a pretty place though. Cozy.

The bread was tasty. Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. Caesar salad to share was delicious.

For dinner, some of it was excellent and some just ok. My dad got the pan seared scallops with linguine in a cream sauce. The scallops were excellent but his sauce was just ok. My boyfriend ordered the chicken piccata. The sauce was the best of all our dishes. The chicken was dry and hard. I ordered the carbonara. That was tasty. Big chunks of pancetta.

We would definitely come here again. There’s some patio seating which looks nice for summer time. The parking lot is super small. But free parking. Love that you can make Open Table reservations.