Nel Centro

4.6
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1966 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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What 1966 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
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CM
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We had brunch here with my grandkids and it was just great. Food was very good, service very attentive and it was a lovely, quiet restaurant.

OT
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was our 34th Anniversary, and we wanted a special restaurant before the Ballet. The waiter was a real all-star, and timed the meal to precisely correlate with curtain time at the Keller Auditorium. The food was superb (crab pasta and short ribs), the salad inspired and the dessert amazing (tiramisu and a chocolate moussey thing). The remarkable thing was that someone (we suspect a couple of young ladies at the next table) bought our dinner anonymously as a gesture of kindness! If you’re reading this, we wanted to thank you for the lovely, and generous gesture. All in all, probably the nicest dinner we’ve had since we moved up here 3 years ago. Top notch all around.

J
Portland
20 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The menu has a diverse selection with some really good appetizers, and fresh made pasta selections are all excellent. The service here is always first-class, and one of the reasons we keep returning.

CM
Portland
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Nel Centro can be somewhat loud, and unless you are in a booth you may find it hard to have a private foundation. Wait staff is awesome.

p
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Business lunch was great - food and service efficient and unobtrusive. I can bring clients to NC and have a great meal AND discussion. Thanks much!!

MS
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nel Centro is one of my favorite places. The food is excellent, service is outstanding.

R
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Would love to have a child’s menu.

SJ
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Great food and service. I wish they had a little bit more on the menu for selection.

EB
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We all 4 ordered different entrees and each one was delicious.

S
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dinner at Nel Centro before a show at the Keller. The service was outstanding. Food and wine pairings were spot on. Would definitely return!

BM
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is beyond delicious, the service is outstanding and the ambiance is warm & elegant. Considering how amazing everything is, the prices are SO reasonable!

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely fantastic, food was delicious and the ambiance is stunning.

MW
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This has been our favorite restaurant in Portland for years, especially if we have an event at Keller Auditorium. The food is always excellent, the service impeccable and the price very reasonable. Outstanding place.

WC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We got married on 2/14/20 at the Mult Cty Courthouse and came to Nel Centro for lunch with our wedding party. This will go down as one of the best dining experiences we've ever had.

Nel Centro coordinated with my wife on dropping off our cake prior to the ceremony and they even showed us the table. When we did finally arrive, they moved us to a different table as a large truck parked itself outside the window and really ruined the view, ambiance & lighting for photos...this move was prompted by staff and not us. It was so very thoughtful.

They took our order and let us dine in the restaurant during their off-peak hours. They served our cake and even boxed up all leftovers for us.

We are eternally grateful to our hostess and wait staff. They made a very magical day even better.

-will & ruth
Ptld, OR

N
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, enticing specials, courteous and knowledgeable staff.

DM
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was excellent with appropriate portion size. The server was very helpful and engaging with great recommendations.

T
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Friendly waitstaff
Really good food
We had a great time

IC
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I usually go to Nel Centro for happy hour when the weather is nice and we can sit on the patio. Their happy hour menu is good, I'm particularly a fan of the mushroom gorgonzola pizza. I went this past weekend for brunch, and it was really great. My friends said their bloody mary was one of the best they've ever had. I haven't had a bad meal at Nel Centro. The service can be a bit slow for the happy hour, but other than that, it's usually my go-to.

SR
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Pasta dish was oversalted. Osso bucca was tough and flavorless. Drinks were good. Duck appetizer was good.

E
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service was outstanding! It really elevated a delicious dinner into a perfect night out.

J
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Business lunch, nice booth, very busy room, Matt was charming and perfectly described everything we asked about! Everyone delighted with thier choices and I LOVE NEL CENTRO

WH
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding as always. They are so accommodating of folks getting out to see the theater show at the right time.

AR
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Rory was a highly competent and pleasant server, and service was seamless during our stay, despite our unusual situation of having a guest join us a while after we sat down. I ordered the tagliatelle for my meal, and though the portion could have been a little bigger for the price, the quality was outstanding. Overall, a superb experience. I will be back.

b
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was excellent. Enjoyed the Rockfish special. Perfectly prepared & wonderful presentation. Service was excellent as well.

OT
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Superior service. Reliably good.

JT
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nel Centro is one of my favorite brunch spots on the West side and my go-to dinner before shows at the Keller Auditorium. My girlfriends and I shared several dishes and loved our very helpful and friendly server. We'll be back!

RD
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dining experience! Service was excellent. Food was delicious.

2
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Consistent winner and go-to favorite. Easy to get a reservation. Excellent food and service. Date night hit.

KG
Portland
141 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a great place for dinner before going to the theater. Food and service were both outstanding.

OT
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall3food2service5ambience5

very disappointed with brunch menue. would prefer more lunch offerings. too egg focused

RM
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Short version: The restaurant had a table for 10 set up & waiting for us at our reservation time. Seating was prompt and courteous. The food items matched the menu and were delicious. The service time was reasonable for the food - I believe it was based more on allowing time for appetizers to be consumed and conversation to flow than any particular bottleneck in the kitchen. I'll be back!

JJ
Portland
17 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The best place to reserve before a show at the Keller. Wouldn’t necessarily go otherwise. But reliable for a decent Italian meal.

CB
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Another wonderful dinner at Nel Centro pre-show. They do a great job of making sure you get excellent service while keeping to a schedule to enjoy dinner before the show.

LI
Portland
31 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always enjoy going to Nel Centro. We were never disappointed and that is true this time.

C
Palm Springs
32 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Excellent service and very good food! Only issue was it was very warm in the restaurant which distracted from our meal.

SS
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and great service. Very quiet on a Wednesday night but that made our dinner all the more enjoyable. Service and food were both very prompt. They made an effort to make the occasion we were celebrating even more special. which we really appreciate. Would definitely recommend and return.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pre-theater dinner!

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Love your restaurant. We’ve been coming there for two years now prior to shows at the Keller. Great experience and convenient location. Also appreciate that you validate parking. My one piece of feedback is that in order to get the discounted parking we must go to the hotel front desk to pay for it. Our last few times it has not been a pleasant experience to do this. The front desk does not seem to be equipped to handle this part of the process. We often can’t pay cash because they don’t have money available to make change. And last time the credit card machine didn’t work the first time and we had to re-do the transaction. All of this while trying to get out of the way of people trying to check in, and trying to get to the theater on time. I don’t mind having to go to a separate place to pay for parking, but it seems like there should be a simpler, faster way to do this. Having easy, discounted parking is one of the reasons we choose your facility for our pre-theater dining. Thank you!

A
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

As someone who has significant food allergies, they did an excellent job ensuring I would stay safe. And, it was FABULOUS!

OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Excellent brunch: eggs Benedict over salmon cakes with greens

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