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. Reserve a table for Sunday brunch - truly a treat in a city known for long brunch lines.
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.
We really enjoyed our meal. It's a lively place so at times it was hard to have a quiet conversation but the energy is good. Also, great service provided by Matt. Strikes an excellent balance on many dimensions!
Both of our meals were delicious. I asked for a wine recommendation to pair with my dish and it was spot on!
Location is very convenient for Shnitz or Newmark and the food is very good. While not inexpensive, the service was excellent and the menu options tasty. I would recommend this place for a pre or post performance bite.
Some of the most excellent food I have had. Served beautifully and portioned just right. Servers are attentive and friendly. We had a show to go to after dinner at the Keller, and they always ask so they can get us out on time. We have never had an issue with time. I make reservations on-line, so it's very easy and convenient. I highly recommend this restaurant if you have not tried it!
Excellent, as always. Always wishing for more pasta options with meat as opposed to veg or seafood though.
Brunch with jazz was awesome!!
Great service. Need more fish on the menu. What happened to halibut? It hasn't been offered our last three visits.
Dinner before a play at the Keller
Busy place especially at happy hour which is available at the bar or the cool outdoor space (which could use some more heaters in winter.) The Beef short ribs weren't as flavorful as I would have expected and the polenta was bland and gummy. The rib-eye steak was presented alone on the plate- or so you thought, the kale (very tasty) was hidden underneath. Underwhelming presentation. Nice wait staff, attentive and helpful to get you on your way to a show.
While our server was excellent it took 3 times for the kitchen to get one of the dishes we ordered correct. One of the people in our party ordered flat iron steak, medium well. All of our meals were delivered, but the server said it would be a couple more minutes for the steak. When it finally came, it was more on the rare side, very red in the middle, rather than medium well. It was sent back and the server said that it might be best if she ordered something else from the menu as the steak may take a while. So she ordered gnocchi. It came quickly, however it was cold. Not even a bit warm! So that was sent back and by the time a plate of warm gnocchi came, the rest of us were done with our meal. The only consolation was that she was not charged for the meal. The server was very gracious and apologetic, but I don't know what was going on in the kitchen that night!
Saturday lunch (12:30PM).... apparently understaffed (as it was mentioned). Several server mistakes and very long wait times for the simplest things like a beer took FOREVER. Extremely disappointed. Food was OK... pizza was weak. Charcutterie plate was great. For the price you would expect good service and when the server WAS there you would at least expect him to get it right.
While they only serve their bar menu on Saturday, it was filled with great options. We had the rotessire chicken sandwich. The chicken was moist, the aioli terrific, the bacon crisp, and the foccocia was buttery and crisp. I would definitely go back. We’ll try the brunch next!
Nel Centro did a great job with our large group - holding our tables, giving us attentive but not too attentive service, and the food was delicious to boot (mmm oxtail pappardelle!). Definitely recommend if you’re looking for a downtown dining experience.
Russ, our waiter, was awesome from when we sat down & all through our dining experience. We split the rib-eye steak which was a special, delish!
Maybe it was an off night, but my friend and I had dinner before the Broadway show, and it was AWFUL. My $22 Rosotto was not only cold and flavorless, it tasted old. My friends gnocchi was similarly underwhelming. It took over an hour for us to get out entrees. We made it in plenty of time for our 5:30 show, and the staff was very friendly.
Great spot is going to a show at the Keller or the Schnitz. The food and drinks are good. The staff was great. Although dinner was slow we were out in time for our event.
Would like to see more vegetarian options on the menu.
Everything we tried was delicious: beet salad, rosemary focaccia bread, squash cappellacci, and cardamon bread pudding. It was quite loud on a Thursday evening with a busy bar scene and
Great food, good choice in drinks, overall really great experience!
My family of 6 attended dinner on Valentine's day. Service was perfect. Our server was attentive, answered all of our questions, attended all of our needs promptly, and was very sweet. We ordered a round of guava margaritas, which were very well balanced, and then started with the calamari and a pizza. The calamari was crisp with a lovely aioli, and the pizza had a softer thin crust, but was incredibly flavorful.
For dinner we had the papardelle with oxtail ragu, the calamari bolognaise, the short ribs, and the pork tenderloin. All of the dishes were very good, well seasoned, and well garnished. The oxtail ragu had some orange flavor to it that my husband wasn't expecting, but I thought it was lovely.
We usually never get dessert, but on Valentine's day, we splurged and shared a tiramisu bombe and an earl grey opera cake with bergamot compote. I loved the tea notes in the opera cake, though my husband thought it was too subtle to taste, and the tiramisu was executed with a fun presentation and tasted absolutely delicious.
The large windows and modern style made the restaurant feel sleek but warm. Overall, we had a wonderful night!
Never disappoints. We eat here before going to shows in the area and they always get us out on time and the food is really good every time.
Amazing restaurant and food, very good ambiance. Was a little loud due to the fact it was packed for Valentine’s Day but non the less staff was super attentive and friendly. Pricing is decent, you’ll get enough food for your buck.
Great location, always a good vibe, and consistently good food.
Great customer service from hostess to waiter.
I regularly eat at Nel Centro for business lunches and find the environment to be pleasant, if not a little loud, with a solid menu and options for those with all types of food preferences. I'd love to see more gluten-free options, but I'll continue to eat there without them.
Finally tried Nel Centro and enjoyed it. The specialty cocktails were inspired (the Lush Life was delicious!) and the food was super tasty. I found the ambiance lacking; the open floor plan and brighter-than-expected lighting made it feel more like a diner, but this is not diner food nor pricing. Would have liked it a bit more cozy. Overall though it was a terrific dining experience and we are still talking about how good the food was. The pork tenderloin was perfectly cooked and the flavors were spot on. We will definitely go again.
Amazing food and great waiter.
Our experience was superb. The waitstaff/mgmt. completely accommodated an error I had made when trying to figure out how to retrieve Open Table points reward. Open Table system is ridiculously and unnecessarily unclear on just how to accomplish that. Gone are the good old days when you simply accumulated points and requested a reward certificate which could be used at an Open Table restaurant. But this isn't about Open Table. It's about Nel Centro. We have been a fan of this restaurant since the beginning and they have never disappointed food-wise or service-wise. And they certainly didn't disappoint this evening. We will always come back!
I enjoyed a birthday dinner with several friends and it was a beautiful evening. The service was excellent, the cocktails interesting and tasty. Our meals were wonderful. The short ribs with creamy polenta served as a lovely meal!
Duck comfit is excellent that is one of the main reason brings us there