Nel Centro

4.6
1790 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Hip Italian eatery in the Theatre & Arts District of downtown Portland, Nel Centro is a vibrant, fun and delicious expression of Riviera cuisine.
Perfect for dinner before a show at the Keller Auditorium or Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Nel Centro will make your special night out even more memorable. Join the power lunch crowd at Nel Centro for an array of scrumptious salads, innovative pizzas & fresh market fish.
Nel Centro features a full scratch bar, swanky patio, private dining rooms and one of the city's premiere wine lists. Come visit and experience the luxury of the Riviera in downtown Portland.
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What 1790 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
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went for my birthday and it was wonderful! Waitstaff was pleasant, helpful, and friendly without over doing it. Food arrive fresh and warm and drinks were yummy! Very nice interior and good ambiance!

OG
Portland
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice relaxing afternoon sitting outside enjoying lunch.

AB
Portland
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Food was outstanding! Only complaint is that 2 members of our party were gluten free. The waiter was aware and when desert came around we asked if anything was gluten free. He said the chocolate budino could be served without the graham crackers so we ordered it. However as we were eating it my daughter said she thought there might be graham crackers in it! Yup sure enough. We told the waiter and he apologized. For a restaurant of this caliber I fully expected it to be taken off our bill since he recommended it as gf. However it was not. That was a bit disappointing.

EC
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was reasonably priced, fast, and delicious. I would recommend to anyone who wants delicious Italian food.

j
Central Coast
8 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our overall experience was outstanding. Our server, Russ, was very knowledgeable, very attentive and entertaining! We will definitely ask for his section again! The food was wonderful and well priced.

TH
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food was really good. Server got stuck serving a big party simultaneously with us and could not be very attentive but he was really nice. They could use a better hand off system with other wait staff for these situations.

B
Portland
18 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great lunch spot. The food came quickly and both the food and the service were excellent.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

Our entire experience was incredibly subpar and disappointing. Really poor service, small portions and over priced. I’m ok with a pricey meal, but it has to be something I can’t just make at home. Additionally, the fact that they only give five raviolis for the price they charge seemed insane. Not a place we will return to. Plenty of other good options in the city.

KW
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The service was excellent. The cocktails were delicious. The food was way too expensive for the amount you got. I paid $20 for 5 tortellini stuffed with cheese and tomatoes. I can't imagine they were that expensive to produce. All-in-all a nice place but not worth the money.

T
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outdoor seating was relaxing and fun. Calamari was excellent. Meatballs were tasty. House red wine was very good. Good value for good price.

BF
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice dinner, attentive staff and great food. Will go again.

NV
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good Ambience.

FH
Los Angeles
34 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 3ambience 4

This first time we had less than friendly efficient service.

BY
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of our favorites! We always enjoy both the food and the service.

JJ
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Once again, Nel Centro was outstanding. This time a catch-up lunch with a friend. Other times, pre-theater dinners, happy hour, breakfasts...you name it, you can depend on Nel Centro for superb food, excellent service, a most pleasant setting, and all-around satisfying experience!

JS
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Good food. Would have preferred to sit outdoors but we didn't ask when we arrived so oh well. We want to come back for happy hour outdoors this summer.

EM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

My friends and I enjoyed our meals. The choices are varied and one can choose two "starters" and a salad and that makes for an economic and pleasing meal. The service was mostly good, but our server got a bit confused and added the cost of my dish of polenta (delicious) to the bill of another one of our group. Not a serious faux pas, and we shared that cost in a group decision, but more care would have avoided the error. However, we always enjoy dining at Nel Centro and will certainly return.

OT
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

It's a lovely place -- excellent food and service -- our only complaint is the noise level.
It is really difficult to find a good restaurant that is quiet enough for conversation.

AA
Portland
12 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Awesome service but very loud environment. Kitchen handled the crowd well as did servers.

RP
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I was very happy with my simple order of a burger, fries and a beer, but am pleased to report that that the menu offerings go far beyond the simple to some very elegant creations. I chose a 1:00 time slot to avoid the noonday rush and was rewarded by an unhurried experience where I could easily hear the person sitting across from me. The waiter was very knowledgeable and cheerfully accommodated our requests. Nel Centro is one of my favorite places to meet people for lunch. There are less expensive places in the vicinity but the overall dining experience makes it worth it.

L
Minneapolis
19 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great visit with attentive staff and really wonderful meal. Will definitely be back!

RB
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for a delicious meal, amazing service and great location. Walking distance to the Keller!

TL
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love Nel Centro. We always go there before or after a Keller show. We love the pizzas - it was so nice that the waiter offered the list of pizzas from the bar. We had a mix up on our order. They brought two salads and we thought they were shared salads since we all thought the salads in the past were much larger. We must not have been clear when we ordered two and said we were going to share (we were thinking 4 people) he heard 2 people. We also ended up with the wrong pizza since we were talking about the arugala salad and he heard arugala pizza. They instantly remedied the pizzas. Also, we we had plenty of food. The wait staff was very gracious and caring in all their interactions with us. I must admit the lemon drop I got was pretty small for $16. and I've had better - but that may be that I was not used to the liquor I requested. I learned on that one. We also love the outside seating - I'd forgotten about it.

DJ
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Upscale dining experience. The place just flat out looks nice. Service is excellent and food quality is outstanding. I had one of the specials that night, salmon, and it was nicely prepared and delicious. We shared two desserts, a cheese cake and a version of s'mores that were both excellent, rich but not heavy. Recent visit was our third time and we will be back again.

CS
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Our waitress was very informed and offered a great suggestion for wine. My husband and I both enjoyed our dishes and shared a delicious dessert. Very happy and will return!

j
Seattle
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

We ate right when they opened, so we were only offered the brunch menu. We all found something on the menu,but wished the whole menu was available. That being said the service was awesome and the baked polenta dish was freaking fantastic.

PD
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Lovely, light, and airy ambience. Delicious, well crafted food (if not overly adventurous). Attentive but not intrusive service. Good spot where a party of eight could enjoy one another's company without shouting. I'm a regular here and on their lovely patio in summer. Great a salads, pasta, pizzas, love the calamari.

K
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Kirsten was fabulous and took great care of our table.

CW
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Great service; was very accomodating to my keto diet; was sensitive to the fact that we needed to leave in time to attend an event.

JM
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great atmosphere, really had a great time and will visit again soon!

DH
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The shrimp risotto was the best I have ever eaten. Ditto the short ribs. We had a wonderful meal and will be back often!

N
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Shrimp Louie covered with goopy bad dressing. Shrimp should have been undressed. Toast was warmish bread. A real mixed bag.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent as always. Wait staff was phenomenal. Good drinks, great dinner

KJ
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Very nice spot. A little long on the service - went for lunch and waited about 20 minutes before someone took our order. Other than that, risotto was good (a little salty) and the space is beautiful.

PP
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Yes- the special seafood risotto was great! Service was very attentive and we really enjoyed our time at Nel Centro

KE
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a late breakfast and it held us until early dinner! Flavors were outstanding and eggs were cooked perfectly.

P
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food was beautiful and tasty. The handmade pasta was wonderful and hearty. We had probably the best halibut we have ever had. The mushroom soup was decadently rich. The restaurant is modern and lovely. Its open design makes it a bit loud, though it seemed the patio and the room near the hotel were quieter. Overall, it was a treat for a night out.

JH
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A special dinner out before our daughter moves to Texas.
Halibut special was amazing, tomato bisque soup, perfectly seasoned, rock lobster risotto served steaming hot.
Ravioli of the day was delish but portion seems small.
Smore’s dessert was a perfect five nite ending to a wonderful dinner.

AS
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and food is delicious. We love coming here for breakfast. It’s rarely crowded, yet the food and cocktails are great. Service is outstanding and friendly.

G
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I celebrated our anniversary at Nel Centro and we will definitely be back. It was our first time there and have to say from the moment we walked into the door we were treated with exceptional service. The food took us on a little trip to northern Italy. Quality over quantity. Thank you to Gavin and all the staff.

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