Cafe Nell

4.3
1875 Reviews
$30 and under
American

Cafe Nell is currently open for outside dining, in either our custom-designed, safely distanced patio or sidewalk seating. Limited indoor seating is also now available.

Now rain- proofed and heated! Located in the heart of Northwest Portland, Café Nell serves French inspired American classics simply prepared from Northwest ingredients. Celebrating 13 years, Café Nell has become known for lively brunches featuring signature cocktails which never fail to impress. A full bar, friendly atmosphere, rotating taps, and a glowing fireplace create a welcoming environment. During summer, sidewalk patio seating is a neighborhood favorite for happy hour, or a candle-lit dinner on a warm Portland evening.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 1875 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.5
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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k
kcnnn
San Francisco
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great evening dinner in the Oasis. Everyone selected a different entrée and all were excellent. I go here all the time with friends. Many have never been here so I'm introducing them to a place that has outdoor seating that are not picnic tables on a street.

G
Godzillabird
Portland
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Pretty meh food for the price. The ambiance of the outdoor patio space is nice. Service was friendly, but it too way too long on two consecutive occasions for food to arrive, and hot food was cold. Allowances should be made due to the pandemic, but the restaurant should be more atop its game by now.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Portland
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall3food4service1ambience4

It took over an hour for our food to come after we ordered! Very slow!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great outdoor seating. Very accommodating of my dietary restrictions. Delicious !

p
vippdxfoodie
Portland
46 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cafe Nell has constructed a great outdoor eating area for dining in all kinds of weather. Our cocktails were delicious; the bartender knows what he is doing!
Our food was delivered in a reasonable time, and our server was attentive without hovering. I would definitely order the salmon dinner again; I asked for medium rare and it was done perfectly. We plan on returning this summer.

M
Maria
Portland
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love the ambiance of Cafe Nell. One feels like they are in NYC or perhaps Paris. Charming decor. The food was delicious though a bit pricey. and the service was very friendly and attentive. I have eaten lunch at Cafe Nell many times and am never disappointed.

ME
MisterEats
Portland
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service2ambience4

Felt like Cafe Nell has the Covid hangover. Looking forward to trying it again in a few months

RM
vipRickyM
Portland
9 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Oasis has been a godsend during Covid ~ we hope it's here to stay! Such a nice vibe for a delicious brunch + cocktails! Service is always courteous and professional and the food never fails to impress. Our cocktails + wine always stayed refreshed as well. We love coming here and sharing this place with our friends.

VB
VictoriaB
Portland
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

usually no problem with noise but the table next to us was super LOUD. i didnt mind but my parents, who are hard of hearing, had a difficult time with the noise.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Portland
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food2service2ambience2

A disappointing evening, perhaps not a typical day but somewhat inconsistent.

SJ
StuartJ
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service2ambience4

The covered outdoor space is lovely with white tents and cafe lights. The tables are spaced apart with plastic separating each dining table so it feels like a safe outdoor dining experience. The service was painfully slow - it took nearly 30 minutes for a server to come take our drink orders after being seated (we had a reservation) and that was after we flagged someone down. The slow service continued throughout the night. The food portions are very small for the price,$35 for a tiny piece of salmon, less than 1/4 cup of potatoes and 3 asparagus spears feels overpriced for the setting. The creme brulee was not prepared properly and was not creamy at all but rather set almost like scrambled eggs. Our server was very nice but overall I would not go back.

S
vipSugarlifenv
Portland
10 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had another lovely night at Cafe Nell-- clam and spicy chorizo pasta for me and ossobuco for my friend. The outdoor dining opportunities, either on the patio or along the street, are terrific. We sat along the street under their awning and, even with the heavy rain, it was dry and perfect. Such a great neighborhood spot, with great food and atmosphere!

l
lylaf
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food5service3ambience4

It was my first time at this popular Northwest Portland restaurant. Terrific setting outdoors, although they wanted to seat us in full sun seemed puzzled as to why that would be a problem. Even though we had waited at least 15 minutes with a reservation, it took probably 20 more minutes for a waiter to take our order, then another 10 or 15 for the drinks to arrive. And we were starving. The food is excellent: we split a crab salad and a vegetarian eggs Benedict. The portions were not as big as I expected for the price $20 / $22. Everyone was extremely nice and cheery, but the bill tallies up fast so I probably won't dine here too often.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Portland
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall2food5service1ambience3

Remember when customer service mattered? I miss that. I miss having silverware already when your food arrives and not having to stare at your hot food as it gets cold outside. It would’ve been nice if we could’ve had one of their heaters. But I guess we had it better than the people indoors. They had to endure paint fumes as a server was painting chairs just feet from their table. I think this would be a nice place for a casual lunch, but we chose it as a special occasion lunch for my daughter’s graduation. The server was way too busy to give us any kind of attention. We had to wait 10 minutes for a straw. It was kind of a bummer.

F
vipFeedmegreatfood
Portland
11 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Much smaller menu than before but still delicious! Our server Nick was outstanding! He made great recommendations and he was very attentive!

BA
BlackAdder
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We went to Cafe Nell to celebrate my daughter's 23rd birthday. It was superb. We sat outside in the beautifully converted parking lot. It now has a very solid and elegant remake into a large tent with heaters and planters.
The food was excellent. We had the Osso Buco and creme brulee. Both are among the best in Portland.
It seems that the covid challenge has brought out the best in Cafe Nell. A re-birth!

ME
MEAB
Seattle
1 review
Dined on June 10, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We had a great experience at Cafe Nell. We sat outside in their newly constructed Oasis, and it was really pleasant. Food and drinks were amazing, and the staff were all friendly and helpful. Overall great experience!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Miami
6 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2021
Overall2food1service4ambience4

Single word: underwhelmed. This was our 2nd visit in as many months (and last). Both times the food was just blah. Risotto was thick and cold as day old oatmeal and the steak (done correctly) w frites (cold thick cut fries) fell flat. Maybe we missed the height of this restaurant’s glory (which still has a huge following) but Portland has way too many great restaurants to waste any more money here.

AJ
AllisonJ
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The outside deck and the care that has been put into safety during the pandemic is outstanding. Best I've seen! Thank you!!

And out waiter was fantastic!

W
Wrangler2020
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Server couldnhave done better jib, particularly with pre-bussing plates.

RE
RichardE
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

used to be a regular at Cafe Nell but this was first visit in 10 years....it felt like last week! professional yet laid back service, food as creative and well cooked as ever was, the outside dining works fine ( wonder if they will keep it? ). Just a tad on the expensive side but overall is worth the visit. We'll be back more often.

LW
vipLauraW
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Great use of the the outdoor space! But note that if you are making a reservation, "Standard" and "Outdoor" seating are the same thing. There are good heaters at the table, provided there is one available. The only indoor seating is in the bar at high bar stools.
The service was friendly, the servers were working hard to cover a large area, but it took over an hour to get our food. Just entrees, nothing elaborate...
I will return, because its always been a local favorite, but wanted others to be warned about spending a long chilly night at Cafe Nell.

l
viplisao
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As usual, Cafe Nell did NOT disappoint! Beautiful patio, delicious food and excellent service.
I actually try to eat there about every two weeks when I'm in town. I appreciate the always friendly and upbeat staff!

HL
HeatherL
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Busy Sunday, had to wait 15 min for our reservation but service was prompt once seated.

MM
MarkM
1 review
Dined on June 5, 2021
Overall3food2service3ambience2

We were disappointed by the cocktails and the food, especially for the price. Appetizers were not good, mealy crab cakes, flavorless fried scallop wonton like thingy. Salads good but not special, Caesar and beet. Pork shank was generous, but dry. Steak Frites underseasoned, and you get six relatively small slices for a very high price. Won’t return

k
kiheibutterfly
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience4

The food and service was not worth the price.

LN
LocalNWDiner
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

It's just fine. Forgo their desserts though. Outside dining for Covid-19 protocols are suitable

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience4

Overpriced. Small portions. Order of crab cake had zero crab meat. $38 salmon entree was very small and overcooked
Will not return

S
Spikyman
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

From 6 to 7 on a Friday, we were outdoors, on the street, but the traffic was so light that we hardly noticed it.
We asked for an obscure mixed drink, and they looked it up, made it, and didn't charge us a premium.
The mushroom scallop pillows were good, but the mussels were amazing, and who'd have guessed fries would be so good with a brothy mussel sauce?
Our server was great, and very helpful with out questions.

K
Kcuisine
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

One of my first dining outings as we come out of Covid. Our waiter was great, let us stay for quite a while after we ate. We had beef dips and the bread was amazing. A little spendy, but worth having a nice meal and catching up with a friend. It would be nice if the side salad had more than greens.

JB
vipJohnB
Portland
50 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cafe Nell I one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. And it most certainly is during the pandemic!! The owner and staff have done a great job of reconfiguring the restaurant. It’s as goo as it was before!! And the food continues to be excellent! I’ll keep going back!!

NW
NancyW
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Come here often. Menu needs to be re-worked with more variety and regular rotation of dishes. Salads are very boring. All items are over priced.

JS
JonaeS
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Service was great. We had a reservation but they were behind so we were seated 30 minutes after.

LL
LaurieL
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We haven't been out to a nice dinner since March 2020 and our meal at Cafe Nell was absolutely perfect in every way. They have done an imaginative and fun outside tent which is beautiful. The mussels, fries, oysters, and steak frites were delicious as were the cocktails. We will be back very soon. Maybe even tonight!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Seattle
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience4

Service was SLOW and inefficient. Waiter seemed afraid to be near diners without masks. Weren’t seated until :30 after our reservation time. “Oasis” was a stuffy, humid mess that didn’t protect from the sun so we requested street-side covered seating which was lovely.

j
vipjaneh
New Mexico
8 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome as usual. Great brunch spot and love the Bloody Marys.

T
vipTourist
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience5

Service was just okay. Coffee was great. Food for the value is overpriced.

VB
VictoriaB
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we loved our server. we were impressed with the tents.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We had brunch at a nice table in the back patio. There was some noise from the back of the restaurant but it wasn’t too distracting. They were really busy and it took a while to get served but our server was pleasant and the time was not excessive. The food was very good! The portions were not huge and we were able to still share, which I appreciated. We will go back for sure.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Seattle
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Food was hit or miss. Hash was good. French toast was too thick to cook so the middle was soggy. Mimosas were not good. Atmosphere and service was good.

FAQs

Cafe Nell offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (503) 295-6487.

Cafe Nell is rated 4.3 stars by 1875 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.