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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Valentine's Day Special Menus & More
Treat your Valentine to dinner and a show! Serving our full menu along with sumptuous specials. (Credit card required for all reservations. $50 cancellation fee of less than 24 hours or for a no-show.)
Friday, February 14, 2020
Perfectly cooked halibut, good salad, excellent ginger panna cotta.
Nel Centro is one of the best happy hours in the city: excellent range of dishes, ample portions, and lovely ambience especially outside by the firepits. Also the lunch menu features many of these dishes as well with the best salad nicoise, duck confit and mussels.. better than top European restaurants.
Food was wonderful and service was great. They got us out to our show on time without being rushed.
We used to go to Nel Centro for breakfast and hadn't tried their lunch or dinner. Over the last few weeks, we have experienced BOTH lunch and dinner. Lovely environment. Great service folks. Food was excellent and a great value for the price. Most importantly, you can have a meaningful conversation in this environment. You don't have to lean forward to hear the other person talking! It's a great place to connect with people and have good conversation, good food and good service.
We love Nel Centro. Our only disappointment is the change to all Brunch on Saturdays. We miss coming in regularly to split a pizza and salad for lunch.
Our server Matt did an outstanding job of reading and serving our table. Guiding us through the menu, explaining the specials and checking back in every course without being intrusive.
Cuisine was well done, portions sized right.
Nel Centro is on my go to list in Portland - I can always count on a great meal, professional service in a well light and decorated space.
Great dinner. Server was friendly and informative about the menu.
Rare is the lunch outing that hits all the right notes for success and delivers "more than expected" with ambience, food and flavor. Add stellar wait service to the mix, and Nel Centro is easily a five star experience. Every visit.
We were short on time since we were going to the Keller. Your service and waiter and valet were great for making our evening easy. Thank you.
Went for a pre-theater dinner. Waiter was very accommodating to our schedule. Food was very good. I had a hot goat cheese appetizer that was delicious and a Dungeness crab - pasta entree, which was to die for. My companion had fresh halibut, also excellent. Desserts of the chocolate variety did not disappoint. Very convenient to the Keller Auditorium (3 blocks) for a pre-event meal. A bit lively for an intimate conversation, and definitely get a reservation if you don't want to wait. We'll be back.
Nel Centro is our favorite restaurant for brunch before attending a Sunday performance at the Keller. Always special, always fabulous, always glad we chose Nel Centro!
We had a great dinner with a friend at Nel Centro last week. Initially, it was bit crowded and on the noisier side due to a pre-theater crowd but became much more quiet after the theater goers moved on. We had excellent service and the food was great. I particularly enjoyed the dungeness crab pasta and our friend liked the osso bucco. The tiramisu bomb for dessert was fantastic.
We had brunch prior to the show at the Keller and had a delightful time. Everyone loved their food and thought everything was so delicious, flavors simple and perfect. Nothing over the top to ruin perfect ingredients
We always love Nel Centro! It's our favorite spot pre-theatre. Great food, wonderful service, and we are warmly greeted every time we arrive!
The group behind me was extremely loud and boisterous, I was hoping for a more peaceful meal and faster service.
We felt very welcome here the minute we entered. My husband and I were a bit early for our reservation, so we checked in and sat at the bar. I ordered a Negroni Bianco and my hubby ordered a Manhattan, both were delightful; the bartender, (sorry, didn’t get his name, was friendly and knowledgeable. Once seated for dinner, our server Justin, was attentive and courteous. Ours meals were delicious, I had the short ribs and hubby had the ragu. Will definitely return.
The restaurant venue and wait staff was ok but I was disappointed we couldn’t order lunch at 12:30. The brunch menu was underwhelming compared to brunch menus in the greater Portland area—especially for the holiday season. I would never recommend this. I have eaten dinner here before which was really good but now I fear the food quality may be sliding. Maybe just a summer patio visit.
The starters, salads, and mains were excellent, as was the service. My husband said it was the best Cioppino he’s ever yet tasted, and my Sugo was likewise excellent.
The downsides were the desserts, which tasted commercially purchased not house-made, and the somewhat bland and a bit noisy hotel restaurant feel.
I've had dinner and happy hour and thought ir wad delicious. Brunch was not. The food wasn't well prepared. Potatoes were warm but not brown. Polenta wasn't grilled just heated. Not flavorful or worth the cost. I was quite surprised and maybe skeleton crew on new years day, but sorely disappointed.
Great food, efficient server.
We were dining at Nel Centro prior to the late show for the Pink Martini show at the Schnitzer. We were in no hurry and the wait person was wonderful in his understanding. Our drinks and meal were leisurely and both were great!
The service was not good. Our waitress was great and the fault was not hers. The restaurant was not staffed and she had too many tables to support. This is a management error that led to a so-so evening.
Our apologies for the service issues. We accommodated your request to be seated at a different table which did indeed overload the server. We will be more aware of this in the future. Happy New Year.
New Year’s Eve
I enjoy coming to Nel Centro frequently, usually for lunch, and the food is reliably good. On New Year's Eve, when I thought the restaurant might be overly busy, the service was nevertheless outstanding!
Every about our evening was superb. Delicious food and wine. We love this place for our special nights out.
Except for noisiness, which is a problem in most restaurants popular enough to be continually in demand, Nel Centro is a reliable and comfortable place for a guaranteed good meal.
Went here for the first time before seeing a show at the Keller. We will definitely go back. Fun vibe and great food and service.
Food was ok. Had spaghetti with dungeness crab. Didn’t have much flavor. Wife had Osso bucolic. It was good but had others with more flavor. The tiramisu bomb was good.
They did a very fine job with helping us enjoy their menu, once they were alerted to the garlic allergy problem. It can be unnerving to serve diners who must carry an epi-pen for safety's sake. Be aware that much of the menu has pre-prepared components (sauces, braises, ragouts, dressings) that limit their flexibility in regards to food sensitivities. I was afraid at first that we would be asked to leave! At other restaurants, the chef has offered to cook something special; that was not required at Nel Centro. We had a lovely holiday meal.
That was the best meal I have had in a Portland Restaurant in at least 5 years. Every single thing we ordered was perfect, the depths of flavors had us making lots of loud joyous noises without meaning to. The Uni panna cotta salad with crab Should be a permanent menu item because I want it again. Thank you for a special holiday experience. The service was perfect too. Present and friendly.
Our waiter, Russ was terrific! He skillfully guided us through the menu and wine pairing. Our party included two vegetarians who felt well cared for. Definitely a do again soon.
It was well executed.
Great server!!! We are all huge foodies - both Food and cocktails left was not excited :(
I took my son who is a Sue chef at Portland City grill for a special Christmas dinner at Nel Centro. His friend is a chef their. Said the food is good. We made reservations for 5 pm. The restaurant was empty. No need for a reservation. We were seated and the staff helped us immediately, but I must say that the food was an absolute let down. My wife and I ordered the mushroom raviolis. Which was priced at
The food arrived in 8-10 minutes and there were 5 raviolis on my plate appx 1.5 inches square same with my wife. We both looked at each other and said amazing this place gets away with this.My son was shocked and wanted to say something to management, we had to ask him not too. The pasta was al dente and tasted like something you get out of a can or trader Joe frozen foods. I ordered a sprite and the soda machine must have been out of syrup because it was straight soda water. I asked for a new one and she brought me back the same thing. We had to go out to another restaurant on the way back to the west side after leaving my son down town.
It was a total of 5 bites for $ 22.00 certainly more like an appetizer that should be more like
$ 6.00 My son ordered the pork shoulder and again tiny portion his was about three bites and it was done $ 26.00 Under cooked pasta small portions and way over priced. This is what you will be in for when dinning at this restaurant. I should have just asked for my money back when the food arrived and went elsewhere. But My son chose this place because of his friend who works their and wanted to try it out.
I would not recommend this place if you are hungry or like pasta that is not under cooked and tough to chew.. I am a business owner for over 25 years now with five star reviews on all web sites for years and do not know how this place stays in business with these portions, prices, and management.
Expensive, slow, and poor service. We finally got our food after almost an hour, then we never saw our waitress again. My husband’s calamari was clearly not fresh - yuck, and my salad looked like it had been sitting awhile before it arrived. My husband took one bite and would have sent it back except we couldn’t get any table service. There are many great restaurants in this area. Skip this one. However, if you’re just doing drinks, the bar was upscale and stylish - it also appeared to be very efficient and our drinks were great.
We took our daughters oyster for dinner prior to seeing the nutcracker. Dinner was fabulous, and the service was great. Nel Centro is always our go-to place for Italian with a northwest flair!
Our group of six were delighted with the food and we enjoyed sharing. The portions were perfect! The cocktails were creative too. We will go back to have dinner again! We have enjoyed their happy hours in the past too, but this was our first dinner with them.
Our waitress has hopefully had better days. She couldn’t remember our drink orders and then brought my salad with an aoli dressing after I’d said I can’t have eggs. She didn’t know aoli contains eggs? Apparently not. The food was good and the atmosphere is always lovely. Just hope next time we don’t get the wait staff B team.
Perfect as usual. Good variety and everyone was happy with their meal.
It’s been hit & miss at this establishment. Had dinner 3 times since summer 2019: first 2 were excellent, last was a bust. Kitchen didn’t have it together, nor did our waiter. Osso Bucco arrived barely warm, so had to send it back. Took so long to get it warmed the rest of my party were completely done eating. Hubby’s salmon was a child’s portion size for $33. Not a good value.