Nel Centro

4.6
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1861 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian

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Pre/post Theatre
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. Or 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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Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Join us for a special New Year's Eve featuring Chef Luis Escorcia's most memorable dishes. **A credit card is required for all reservations. $50 flat fee for cancellation less than 24 hours notice or for a no-show.**

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What 1861 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
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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SB
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Great food, upscale atmosphere, good service. This place has it all!

AH
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was outstanding and my server was extremely attentive

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our meal was amazing and the service was great. Next time I'm back in town I'll definitely be back!

S
San Francisco
69 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience3

This has been a favorite for a while. Our last visit the food was mediocre. The pasta tasted like it had sat under the hot lamp for a while. The salad were good and my brother enjoyed the short ribs.

The restaurant was also unusually quiet for a Saturday night.

What has happened to this great place?

p
Portland
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We stayed at the motel there, so ate dinner and breakfast at Nel Centro. Good menu choices, three of us opted for the osso bucco and it was excellent! Lobster bisque was the fourth choice, and she said it was very good. Nice service, good martinis and drinks, nice wine list, just very comfortable. The breakfast menu was so fun, with options we generally don't see on a breakfast menu, including baked eggs and polenta, practically to die for. Really good. We probably will stay here again and eat here again when we come down for one of the Keller Broadway plays.

SB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place to go before or after an event in Portland. Also nice for special occasions or on a date.

JL
Portland
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience3

We regularly go to Nel Centro, with a regular group, prior to a show at the theater. This time we went with a group of ten people and I was concerned that would be a challenge to get us served and off to the theater on time. Not only was the service exceptional, our waiter did an outstanding job. The food at Nel Centro is always great; a creative menu without being silly. I feel the prices and portions are appropriate. I would highly recommend Nel Centro.

JM
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent Food. Attentive and charming waitress. No complaints. A wonderful experience.

MM
Portland
12 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

We have lunched at Nel Centro frequently before afternoon performances at The Keller. Since our last visit the Saturday schedule and menu has changed. Brunch is now offered till two. There is no lunch menu, and the lunch items on the brunch menu are more limited. We found new things to try, and both brunch items were perfectly prepared and delicious. The servers were welcoming, cheerful and gracious.

SV
New York Area
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Food was ok but not special. Portion was small and overall pretty overpriced! Cocktails were all on the bitter side.

BL
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Lovely relaxed pre-theater dinner

DS
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a great find ! Excellent service and exceptional cuisine. Various items made in-house. Sausages, ice cream, mascarpone etc. Rotisserie chicken and potatoes rustic with fresh herbs. Tiramisu bomb, sublime, best ever. Would visit again.

MR
Portland
19 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

I can always rely on Nel Centro for the best. This was a special get together and, as always, it was a great time with friends and food. Our server was very attentive. Made us feel a bit rushed, but I think he was just trying to be on top of everything. I’m looking forward to my next visit.

LI
Portland
28 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service and food. One of our favorite places to eat especially before a play.

DP
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service was nice and fast, Jack was great, and the food was good. Great place for a lunch date!

KJ
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great choice for pre or post Keller show. My only issue is that the tables are very close together and the noise level can be very high. Dinner menu is always great as is the table service.

GG
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Cold drafts at our table. The food was a little too salty. Service was wonderful.

BS
Portland
22 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My friend and I had a tasty breakfast in quiet booth and were served with warmth.

J
San Francisco
66 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

We are visitors to Portland. We had a very nice experience and recommend the restaurant highly. I ordered the salmon special and it was delicious. My wife thoroughly enjoyed her chicken dinner as well. And kudos to the server. He made sure that we did not receive the entree until after we finished our cocktails.

T
Portland
48 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect service, food, and wine.

GS
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nel Centro is the place my kiddo and I like to have a meal before the opera. The food is always good and the service is excellent

BB
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience4

Waited, seated at table for almost one hour in half empty dining room before our dinner appeared; food quality was far below our expectations for a DM restaurant. Ambience and wines were only bright spots, but that is no enough.

CA
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

I do like having weekend brunch at Nel Centro. The food is very good and it's never too crowded or noisy. My only complaint about this particular visit is, for some reason, the waiter never seemed to hear my requests, so I had to make them repeatedly.

r
Portland
20 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Love the neighborhood feel of this restaurant. The food and service is consistently great . A real Portland gem.

SC
Phoenix
6 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good food, nice atmosphere and service. Pasta portions a bit small, but great flavors.

OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

We did not get our entrees for well over an hour. We got there and it was nearly empty. Then a rush of people and we were
Served long after others who had arrived later.

MG
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of my favorite places to go for a celebration or to take guests. There were 7 in our group and we ordered very different meals, but they were all served at once. Everybody loved what they ordered.

D
San Diego
10 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I was pleasantly surprised by this restaurant. Upon arriving I realized it was in a hotel andI am not really a big fan of hotel restaurants. However every dish we had was delicious. We had the goat cheese and tapenade for an appetizer. We also ordered a plate of raviolis as an appetizer because they were handmade but we also wanted entrées. They were happy to bring us the raviolis as an appetizer. We each had a different meat entrée which was cooked perfectly. The desserts were very unique and delicious. In the end when the bill came it was all reasonably priced.

TB
San Diego
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

The food was absolutely delish and service was amazing! The interior of the restaurant itself was a bit dated though considering the creativity of the food dishes and the somewhat high price points for the food.

MM
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

A welcoming restaurant near downtown activities. Good food and friend staff.

M
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience3

I've eaten at Nel Centro several times, and the lady two times the food has not been up to their usual par. The halibut special was dry and overcooked, and the chicken dry and tough. The food was also cold (congealed polenta). Others at the table enjoyed their dishes but overall , I would probably not visit again .

s
Chicago
126 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food and service. Lovely pasta - mushroom ravioli and pappardelle with beef cheeks, and a halibut special with vegetables. Don't forget to get the mussels appetizer - they are terrific.

BC
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

It’s was an overall good experience. Not particularly great nor bad. The food was good. The focaccia and calamari were both exceptional. Calamari tasted fresh and not at all chewy. Sauce had perfect zip of heat. I had the rib eye and it was very good. My husband had the spaghetti with dungeness crab. It wasn’t the flavor profile we expected. Expected to taste the sweet meat of the dungeness and it tasted more like the briny flavor you’d get from an oyster. Not bad, just unexpected. The service was neither great nor bad. The orders were accurate and delivered timely- but it was more of an order taker than a dining experience. It could have been because we had a 4 month old with us, and the server thought we wanted a quick meal. But we were celebrating our 5 year anniversary but I’m not quite ready to leave our baby with a sitter, so she enjoyed the meal with us. She loved the delicata squash side we ordered her. Setting was more casual and not so intimate, which worked well for us since we were dining with a young one. Over all, it was a good meal and we enjoyed celebrating our anniversary with our new daughter.

JT
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We loved the burrata salad! And the roasted butternut squash pizza....yum!

D
Portland
150 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always service was great, food was awesome. I had a special beet risotto with pickled shallots, toasted hazelnuts, a nice smear of some lovely creamy cheese, and arugula. So good!!!!

EW
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Consistently, one of the best places to eat in Portland. We have been here many times, over the years, and it has never failed to delight and surpass our expectations.

LD
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great waiter! Wonderful food!

D
Portland
58 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Nel Cento is one of our favorite restaurants and we return often for the excellent dishes on the seasonally changing menu. Service is always good, and on this last visit was outstanding. Our only gripe is that the coffee is only average.

BB
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

I have been there several times and it been a 5 star meal. I ordered the Pork Loin. It was not the best. I am not one to send food back but should have.

5
Seattle
21 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Incredible food! Highly recommend this place!

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