Nel Centro

4.6
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1828 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 1828 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
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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D
San Diego
10 reviews
Dined 15 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

EW
Portland
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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
8 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great waiter! Wonderful food!

D
Portland
56 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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 6 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible food! Highly recommend this place!

MD
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nel Centro has heavenly specials. Trust the chef and order whatever he put on the menu that day. The subtle blend of flavors he whips together are memorable, and his roasted vegetables make me feel as if I’m tasting vegetables for the first time. Truly remarkable. The standard menu items are tasty too, but nothing compares to the specials.

H
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I don’t recommend any thing but we enjoyed our meal.

h
Portland
25 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

We came at the end of lunch time and were forgotten for a while. Food was good, as always, but had to go look for help twice... they can do better.

M
Grand Rapids
16 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Visited Nel Centro on a recent trip. The ambiance of this restaurant was not quite what we envisioned with the wide open feel and booths; however, the stellar service and food quality helped us to overlook the lack of coziness. Would recommend if you don't mind a big open space. You certainly won't be disappointed in the service nor the food.

OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first time dining at Nel Centro and it was all positive. We enjoyed the place, the food and the service. Will definitely come back.

V
Houston
39 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I ordered the ciappino and rose wine. The ciappino was very tasty with shrimp, mussels & fish.

T
Portland
30 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Nel Centro is our go-to restaurant nowadays. Great food, and great service. In our group of four, two had the pork loin, one had the special Halibut and another had the ribeye steak. All were spectacular.
I wish they served better bread, though. Not a fan of focaccia. Some good, crusty, Italian bread, would make everything perfect.

L
Portland
17 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had great service and an amazing meal. Actually , much better experience than our previous time in. We had the halibut special with the strawberry salad and it was just delicious.

b
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food at Nel Centro is always quite good. The key that makes this restaurant truly "worth it" is the service. From the host who greets you, to the team that helps -it's amazing! Our server, Kiersten, is wonderful. We have had her before and she makes the evening amazing. Smart, attentive, and very warm.

EL
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Waiter was attentive, knew the menu, upbeat with a sense of humor.
The food was delicious. Two of us ordered the soul satisfying short ribs and polenta. Mine had no fat and was boneless. The bread with oil and vinegar was very tasty. My friends enjoyed their martinis. I like beer and the restaurant has a good variety.

DS
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I really like this restaurant and I would have preferred dinner but did not have the time. I plan to come back in another week or so and make a reservation for dinner. Not that I didn't like the lunch menu, but I prefer the dinner menu. The food looks great and tastes great. Service was very good as ususal.

LS
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and drinks were amazing! Great service. It’s our favorite pre show restaurant

W
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Dined with friends from Seattle on Saturday night. Service was excellent but maybe a bit slow, waiter very knowledgeable, funny and friendly. Food was priced fairly but smaller portions. All our dishes needed more seasoning, Osso Bucco I had was cooked perfectly but was bland. Wine list needs expansion. Overall we liked Nel Centro and would return with salt and pepper.

OT
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good pre theater dining

R
Portland
104 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was superb. My wife had the salmon special and I, the cioppino, both of which were fresh, delightful, well seasoned and perfectly cooked. We also split a burrata salad with maryhill peaches and prosciutto, also outstanding and unusual. We both enjoyed drinks before and during along with coffee after. Service was also as good as it gets.
This was our first time there because we were going to an opening at Lincoln Hall (Darcelle, The Music - That Ain't No Lady.). We will return.

HL
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love coming to Nel Centro. The atmosphere is great. The food is delicious. And the drinks are tasty.
We had a great server (Rory) who treated us so well. Can't wait to come back!

w
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our very first visit to Nel Centro. It was recommended to us by a very good friend. We went here for brunch prior to a matinee at the Oregon Symphony. We are so glad we came. The waiter was very gracious and human - he sold me on the brunch special which was the most fabulous quiche I have had in years, and my husband on the french toast - he kept saying how yummy it was during the brunch. The prices are reasonable and oh yes, the Bloody Mary was unbelievable and very, very fresh. Their ingredients are out of this world. The hostess also was fun. We had a great time before the show, and plan to go back.

j
Portland
18 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nel Centro is one of our favorite places to dine before a show or concert. The food is always excellent and the service is attentive and friendly. We’ve never been disappointed. We keep hearing about their great happy hour but haven’t tried it yet. Hope to get there some time soon.

MM
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was enjoyed by our entire party of 6. Service was outstanding and everone's food was really good.

CW
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's my default place for business lunch. From the Maitre 'd to the server, they always make me feel welcome there. It's a first rate establishment and so conveniently located. I had literally the best tuna melt, accompanied by a simple and freshest green side salad. Good job!

OT
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrating my boyfriends birthday. Great food, quick service. Parking lot right across the street. All staff was friendly as well. We will be back.

W
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Outstanding dinner. My husband ,who orders cioppino whenever it is on a menu, said it was the best he’s ever had. My halibut was a generous portion, juicy and flaky, beautifully presented. Perfect service. The setting is casual, no table cloths, and the large table next to us was quite noisy.

L
Sacramento
29 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent Northern Italian food and the staff is gracious and friendly.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Good food and service. Pasta with sausage is a little bit too salty but the liver mousse is amazing

DR
Vancouver
8 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was delicious but did not enjoy the service. Felt very business-like

CM
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food, great service with a smile and sense of humor.

TA
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

BEST. CALAMARI. EVER. Fast service, friendly, and decent prices.

KM
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Three out of four dinners were very good. Too many people were waiting on us. Apparently the main waiter never checked in after dinner was served to hear that the Osso Bucco was vey dry. He said he'd tell the chef and brought us the check. We've eaten there a number if times and were disappointed in that particular meal and the service.

R
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

There are better Italian spots in town but Nel Centro is a good option for a solid mid-priced meal. Menu has enough variety to please most people.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food and service. Patio seating is very nice.

j
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I saw this restaurant on a list of "Top 10 Italian" in Portland. Certainly not. However, the food was good, and the service was very good. Less than 1/2 full on a Saturday night in downtown Portland tells you something.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2019
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 on August 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice relaxing afternoon sitting outside enjoying lunch.

AB
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
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.

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