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
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 !!
Great Service but mediocre and tiny food portions
I found the drinks to be small and very overpriced .
Cute spot but the food and service were just ok.
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.
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. 🥰
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.
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?
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
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.
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!
Great atmosphere in covered outdoor dining area. Excellent pasta, risotto, and caesar salad.
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.
A great neighborhood place. Food and drinks are always enjoyable. Staff is friendly.
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.
Excellent! Love the outdoor dining adaptations. Thank you, Vanessa and all your wonderful, dedicated staff!
Excellent as usual, and the service was stellar!!!
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.
Excellent service and gorgeous patio while enjoying a delicious brunch!
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 !!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Took too long to be seated even when arriving on time for a reservation.
Food is amazing service and wait time WITH a reservation is not worth it.
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.
Great brunch spot - enjoyed the Crab Avocado Salad and French 75 cocktail. Also liked that they expanded their space for more seating.
really poor overall experience! will not plan on going back at this time.
The staff was quick, food was served fast and the service was top-flight! Will happily come back!
No matter if it’s lunch, brunch, happy hour or dinner, Cafe Nell is just the best.
out of everything- super slow service. I felt sorry for the waiter who was trying to make it work, without any support or resources.
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.
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.
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.
Overpriced and not impressive food. Ambiance and service was good, as well as the drinks.
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.
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.
Great outdoor space. Good food. Good neighborhood location.
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.