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.
- Surfaces sanitized between seatings
- Common areas deep cleaned daily
- Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
- Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
- Limited number of seated diners
- Distancing maintained in common areas
- Extra space between tables
- Waitstaff wear masks
- Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
sautéed onions, blue cheese
grilled cascade natural teres major shoulder tenderloin bearnaise sauce, hand-cut fries
Mussels & Fries
fresh penn cove mussels, white wine, crushed red peppers, heaped with hand cut fries, garlic aioli
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.
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.
It took over an hour for our food to come after we ordered! Very slow!
Great outdoor seating. Very accommodating of my dietary restrictions. Delicious !
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.
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.
Felt like Cafe Nell has the Covid hangover. Looking forward to trying it again in a few months
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.
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.
A disappointing evening, perhaps not a typical day but somewhat inconsistent.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Much smaller menu than before but still delicious! Our server Nick was outstanding! He made great recommendations and he was very attentive!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Server couldnhave done better jib, particularly with pre-bussing plates.
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.
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.
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!
Busy Sunday, had to wait 15 min for our reservation but service was prompt once seated.
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
The food and service was not worth the price.
It's just fine. Forgo their desserts though. Outside dining for Covid-19 protocols are suitable
Overpriced. Small portions. Order of crab cake had zero crab meat. $38 salmon entree was very small and overcooked
Will not return
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.
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.
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!!
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.
Service was great. We had a reservation but they were behind so we were seated 30 minutes after.
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!!
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.
Awesome as usual. Great brunch spot and love the Bloody Marys.
Service was just okay. Coffee was great. Food for the value is overpriced.
we loved our server. we were impressed with the tents.
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.
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.
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.