Cafe Nell

4.3
2000 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 2000 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
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.5
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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P
vipPrtt
Portland
26 reviews
Dined 19 hours ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

What more can I say. We have been happy customers at Cafe Nell for years, Our long term like of Cafe Nell was embellished during the height of the pandemic as Team Nell developed a remarkable outdoor dinning setting, we eat at Cafe Nell 4 to 7 times a month or more and have brought friends who also became frequent Cafe Nell clients.
Venessa has put together a wonderful dinning spot. Try it you will love it !!

P
Phamcake
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great Service but mediocre and tiny food portions
I found the drinks to be small and very overpriced .

KJ
KellyJ
Portland
4 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Cute spot but the food and service were just ok.

TJ
TJM525
Portland
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Look, just don't come here if you're in a rush to get somewhere. Service is relaxed and unhurried, bordering on slow, yet I've never left annoyed or disappointed. (At the price point, that's saying something.) The food is outstanding, the ambience comfortable and inviting enough to make you forget you've been there longer than you intended.

SJ
SusanJ
Portland
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nick was our waiter and not only was he fabulous, he was so fun and funny! Just a great personality! My friend and I both had the pork chop, which he recommended. It was the most delicious pork I have ever had. I’m serious. It almost melted in your mouth! The parsnip purée that came with it was also delish as was the beet salad that we shared. The outdoor patios that the owner has put together are really cool, with huge fans for the summer and large free standing heaters in the winter. This is my go to restaurant these days. 🥰

OT
OpenTable Diner
Portland
12 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall2food3service2ambience1

Made reservations a week ahead. When we arrived we were told to wait so they could check whether our table was “ready”. We were then seated at a table that was like the waiting area and the other 3 tables around it were also empty. Probably the worst table they had.
Waiter was more interested in chatting with friends than putting in our drink order.
Food was overpriced. The pork chop was good but not amazing and the risotto was bland.
I felt that they wanted us out of the way of their regular clientele who they maybe assumed had more status or money than we do.
Bummer because I’d been wanting to check this place out for awhile. Very disappointed and won’t return.

C
Catystevens
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall1food1service1ambience3

We were ignored for 20 minutes, we were brought warm water and cold food, cocktails took nearly another 20 min. The risotto was bland, the chicken was dry, the only decent dish was the cheese. I’m not sure why anyone would go here, maybe the brunch is ok?

OT
OpenTable Diner
Portland
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Host was off-put when I requested a table in the shade.

Table at which I was sat was dirty

Meal (Cobb salad) tasted good but was obviously prepared with ingredients that were past their prime as I got sick directly after finishing

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Convivial fellow diners, friendly and efficient wait staff. Our out of town guests were charmed by the outdoor seating set up. Food—steak frites, pasta, salmon, Caesar salad—were all delicious. Two of the part were gluten free and found delicious options for themselves. My recommendation is to not skip the dessert.

SB
SarahB
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was my 3rd visit to Cafe Nell, and once again, they didn’t disappoint! Super cute and comfy outdoor dining, incredible service, delicious food. The cheese platter was very good, and the watermelon arugula salad was to die for. Highly recommend a visit!

JM
JanM
Portland
18 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Great atmosphere in covered outdoor dining area. Excellent pasta, risotto, and caesar salad.

G
Gayle
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Our server was helpful and knowledgeable with wine and food suggestions. We were not rushed. It was a very pleasant experience. We dined on the spacious patio. Two things, however, need to be mentioned. We were a party of four with a reservation. When we first arrived, they would not seat two of us while our husbands parked the car. We had to wait until they arrived, just a couple of minutes later. It seemed odd. Also, our entrees came while the empty salad plates were still on the table. The person who brought the entrees would not take the empty plates, but said he would have our server come over. The table was small, making the extra plates a nuisance. We finally moved them to the floor at the end of the table. The server came by later and cheerfully removed them—like this was not the first time she’s had to pick up dishes. Small things, but did make an impression. They wouldn’t keep us from returning.

SZ
StephanieZ
London
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A great neighborhood place. Food and drinks are always enjoyable. Staff is friendly.

CP
vipCutiePie
Portland
14 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience4

So much has been done to accommodate a wonderful dining experience at Nell through these challenging times. Such a great use of space and the atmosphere is fantastic. The food continues to impress.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent! Love the outdoor dining adaptations. Thank you, Vanessa and all your wonderful, dedicated staff!

S
vipSated
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent as usual, and the service was stellar!!!

b
bakercooks5
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2021
Overall4food2service4ambience4

MY HUSBANDS eggs Benedicts were mediocre
I had a Cobb salad--which was not the cobb salad I am used to....not well put together at all--would never get it again.
However, we love the cafe and of course will be back.

KT
KTManning
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service and gorgeous patio while enjoying a delicious brunch!

P
vipPrtt
Portland
27 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

We are frequent dinners at Cafe Nell and our visits intensified during the covid pandemic . It is a well designed outdoor dinning area . Team Nell led by Vanessa developed a very nice setting for safe dinning I highly recommend everyone try it i am positive you will become a regular like us !!

AP
AlissaP
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cafe Nell has crafted the Paris cafe experience in a tented parking lot - not sure how they pulled it off but they did! This is a success story in a time of challenge. Plenty of room to sit and it feels private. The food has always been delicious and continues to hold to a high standard. We had the cobb salad, chicken paillard, crab mac, fries and some craft cocktails (can't decide? get it all). All great. The service was friendly and helpful and also efficient. Another neighborhood gem that is on my go-to for weekday lunch as well as potential weekend brunch if we make it before 10am... since we don't do lines. So while I am not sure if this is the case, there definitely should be one here.

RS
RandyS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Cafe Nell is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant. . . relaxing, comfortable, inviting and welcoming.
They offer an ample selection of starters, entrees, deserts, cocktails and wine (glass /bottle). Wait staff are warm and professional even though the restaurant could use additional service employees.
Randy

MC
MaiaC
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Clabe was a great server, fun and managed well with an obviously very short staffed environment. Food was excellent as usual and the wine list can’t be beat. The outdoor seating in the “oasis“ is so lovely and I hope it is a permanent fixture.

S
Sarah
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2021
Overall3food2service2ambience5

We waited 1 hour past our reservation only to learn that all of the specials we would have enjoyed had we been seated on time were sold out. The new outdoor patio is beautiful, and really really cool.

W
Wineswine
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Sent my 85 yo mom and her best friend there. One that had diet restrictions the other a fussy foodie. They loved it! Service was en pointe, staff and kitchen accommodating and ambiance was perfect for a couple of “Grande Dames”! Thank you so much!

MM
MarieM
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience3

The food here is delicious, the drinks were fantastic and I appreciate the creativity of using the parking lot for outside seating. Unfortunately, staffing may be an issue and service was not good. It was nearly 20 minutes between any encounter such as ordering a drink and getting that item. As a result, drinks and meal items were not paired and the entire dinner lasted well over 2 hours (!) I will add that the restaurant was not full outside, though I cannot attest to what was going on inside. It will probably be awhile before I try it again.

JH
vipJerryH
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Took too long to be seated even when arriving on time for a reservation.

N
Niko
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall2food4service1ambience4

Food is amazing service and wait time WITH a reservation is not worth it.

IT
IreneT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience4

As with last time, the hostess seemed completely overwhelmed— though it was a different person. We had reservations at noon and had to wait almost 30 minutes without anyone telling us why we weren’t being seated even though there were at least 4 large tables for 4 outside as well as several on the inside courtyard. It’s only after I asked twice that a younger lady helped us out. Once we were seated, our waitress was awesome. However, I don’t think I will come again nor recommend to anyone with the reception at the start being so terrible. If you can’t seat people at the reserved time, I recommend you remove the reservations option.

JH
JenniferH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Great brunch spot - enjoyed the Crab Avocado Salad and French 75 cocktail. Also liked that they expanded their space for more seating.

A
Alia
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience2

really poor overall experience! will not plan on going back at this time.

CV
ConradV
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The staff was quick, food was served fast and the service was top-flight! Will happily come back!

MR
MichaelR
Portland
28 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

No matter if it’s lunch, brunch, happy hour or dinner, Cafe Nell is just the best.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall1food2service2ambience4

out of everything- super slow service. I felt sorry for the waiter who was trying to make it work, without any support or resources.
sad.

L
vipLuv2design
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall2food1service2ambience3

We sat outside which very pleasant. Our server seemed overwhelmed. I asked him if the restaurant was busy inside and he told me that they had overbooked and it was very busy. However when I went inside to use the restroom there was only one table occupied. I ordered salmon which was tiny and overcooked. I also ordered the chocolate Cooke cake that tasted burnt. I typically would have brought my dissatisfaction up with my server but frankly he seemed swamped and we just paid our bill and left.

BH
BillH
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Second time to cafe Nell and second time I’ve had an amazing experience… the food ( roasted chicken both times ) is killer!
Love the service and you don’t feel rushed…the only thing I would say is beware: there is parking… use the legacy lot. There was a timber’s game going on last night (7-17 ) and I drove around for 20 minutes trying to find a spot…. Only to find out about the lot.
Other than that, a wonderful dining experience.

B
Bogiesmom
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall4food4service2ambience4

We had a birthday dinner for a friend. The food was good as always except my husband didn’t care for his mussels. But the service was exceptionally slow. We love Cafe Nell; we hope they can weather this situation and keep their place where it is.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall1food1service3ambience4

Overpriced and not impressive food. Ambiance and service was good, as well as the drinks.

M
Mariah
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall2food1service1ambience3

We'd like to be able to give a good star rating, but unfortunately due to the extreme wait times (even with a reservation), we're just not able to. We waited 30+ minutes after our reservation time, all the while staring at two 4 tops and one 2 top that hadn't been busted. 30 minutes of sitting at empty tables and the tables hadn't been cleared. Other people in line, also waiting for their reservations, noticed that same thing and were upset. After we were finally seated we were taken to a different area and seated. 15+ minutes later and no one came back to even ask us if we wanted water. After hearing the table next to complain about being seated for over 20 minutes and no order being taken, we had to get up and leave. 45 minutes and not even an order of water... completely disappointing.

SD
SeanD
New England
2 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall3food4service5ambience5

The food was delicious and the service was super friendly and enjoyable, but the food and drinks are way overpriced, at least for dinner. I was still hungry after both an appetizer and a main course.

F
vipFish224
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great outdoor space. Good food. Good neighborhood location.

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 2000 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.