Our restaurant features Paolo Laboa, international chef from Genova, Italy. His menu consists of simple, flavorful and authentic Northern Italian cuisine. This includes handmade pasta and an all-Italian wine list. Ingredients are sourced locally, from various Maine farms and from the Gulf of Maine, whenever possible.
We also offer an Italian happy hour (or aperitivo hour), featuring $1 meatballs, $8 Spumante, $7 Aperitivo Cocktail and $6 Maine Draft Beer Monday through Friday from 4-6pm in the bar area.
We had an 8:15pm reservation. We didn’t get seated until 8:40pm with no reason and apologies, the 8 top wedding party with an 8:30pm reservation got seated before us which meant all of our food was behind them plus the other two big bridal parties. We waited 45 mins for the pasta course. Food was good quality but if you aren’t a big party you’ll be forgotten about. Seating three large parties within 10 mins of each other doesn’t do any favors for your other guests and puts your back of the house team way behind. I’m sure it was just the day and time but to see people seated right away after our reservation time and we were still waiting is just unacceptable. Definitely not a way to spend an anniversary.
With regard to my rating of "Energetic" under Noise comment, we went early so it was quiet. As the place filled (and every table was taken, and rightly so,) the noise level got louder and made it a little difficult to talk. Not a complaint, though! Love Solo!
Solo Italiano is an excellent restaurant in the heart of the waterfront district in Portland. We enjoy sitting at the high tops in the bar and looking out at Commercial Street while dining. I didn’t recognize any of the wine choices so I asked my server for the driest white wine. His pick was great. My husband and I decided to share the mussel appetizer which was a good decision. A note to staff, though, the shell bowl is not big enough for all the shells. We both ordered one of the specialties of the house - the handkerchief pasta with pesto. Both are homemade and both delicious. I have had this meal three times and don’t really want to try anything else because it is SO GOOD. The bread and olive oil is tasty and you definitely need some to sop up the extra pesto. Our service was properly attentive. Meals are delivered promptly from the kitchen by whoever is available to do it. I look forward to a return visit.
We love Solo! The food is incredible, the atmosphere is cozy and the employees very welcoming. Great wine list!
Ran out of all the good stuff before we could order. Food and service were great. Just wish we would have know the urgency in ordering our food. Will be back!
Every single thing we ordered was FANTASTIC. And our server, Georgia, was amazing. Great food, fun vibe, awesome staff. TEN stars!
Great high quality pasta. Good quality ingredients and service was good. Really enjoyed it!
Excellent pasta and reasonable wine list. Beet salad wasn’t anything special but then tuna carpaccio was fabulous!
Every single thing we ordered, which was a lot, was amazing. The presentations and flavors were perfect. Our waitress was great at offering suggestions and very personable. We will go back when we visit Portland again.
Outstanding dining experience; delicious food; waiter and kitchen accommodated one member who was quite late. Highly recommended.
The food at the cucina di Paolo & Mercedes is very very good based on the octopus entrée I had. Octopus is a rarity it seems in the US and a real treat for me. Paolo's octopus was as memorable as eating pulpo a la gallega fresco a lado del mar. I was also delighted to see on the menu that Solo Italiano makes their own pasta from scratch knowing that making pasta is a laborious process and can be taxing on a kitchen's time. I could taste the love in the food at this restaurant. Applausi.
This review is a bit misrepresentative of the experience. The guest claimed he was allergic to potatoes to substitute and, while making certain that angel hair pasta could be accommodated for his dining guest, the kitchen told me to offer polenta. This is also a normal side for the dish and didn't affect your allergy. Given that we make all our dishes by hand daily, we train our staff to present the guest with options available. This has never been an issue in the past with any other guests.
Eating at this restaurant is an experience! We went to dinner and felt like we'd been on a vacation to Italy. The food is amazing, the staff attentive, and the atmosphere relaxed. I have a gluten intolerance and they are very responsive to that, with many delicious options. So good!
This was our first time here and we were treating my son and his wife to dinner. They are locals (we are not) and had not been here before. Everything, from start to finish was terrific. Our waitress was attentive and wonderful at providing more information and answering our many questions. Food was delicious and presented beautifully.
Simply amazing! Everything Wass cooked to perfection. Our server was fantastic. The owner/ chef so gracious. Our favorite place to eat in Portland.
The mussel appetizer and focaccia were standouts. Our server, Jonathan was terrific. Can’t wait to return!
Excellent as usual, but the food was not as outstanding as it has been. Still, excellent and we will be back.
The place is incredible. The food was fabulous, the service perfect. It's not nearly as expensive as many inferior places. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Great food and service, not rushed, the starters were huge, amazing pesto!
This is the only restaurant that we dined at twice in a week while in Portland. Truly appreciate the attention to detail and hand selected ingredients from the freshest sea food to locally grown vegetables! Simply delicious and highly recommended!
We shared three different dishes. The tuna, the octopus and the sea scallops. All absolutely delicious! Rose wine was exquisite. Service always impeccable!
Highly recommend a meal here.
Excellent anniversary dinner!
Best Italian meal we've had anywhere. Fresh local and delicious. Highly recommended for those that truly appreciate fine food. View from our table was awesome!
We were a big group of seven. I think I can speak for all of us that the meals we had were some of the best we’ve had anywhere, world wide! Truly memorable and delicious!
Part of a visit to Portland
The food was good, the service was slow in that there was at least a half hour lag between the salad and main course
The food was excellent and the service great. I think the value could have been a bit better but overall I loved it. Would absolutely recommend.
We got there at 9pm for our reso, the restaurant closed at 10pm. Our server seemed inconvenienced by us from the moment she walked over. She never came back to check on our food or drinks at any point in the meal. From my seat I could see her sitting and chatting at another table of employees that looked like they were doing final tasks to close out their shifts. The food was ok but I would never go back here or recommend to anyone. If a server is put out by a table coming in an hour before they closed then they should close earlier.
The food description from the menu set my expectations high. Unfortunately, the food was bland and tasteless, and particularly missing the taste from the ingredients listed in the menu. Furthermore, the portions were very small even by European standards.
The service was essentially average, however I like to be warned when I am served in a hot plate on which I burned myself (which should not happen in the first place in a supposedly fine dining restaurant). Additionally, when collecting the empty plates, I should not hear any deafening noise, not more than the glasses set on the table should hit it loudly beforehand.
It is not that you would request more of any of the dishes served, however the quantity, and the parsimony with which more expensive ingredients were used, do not warrant the prices paid in this restaurant.
The room was way too noisy for a fine dining restaurant, but maybe such an expectation is misled by the prices.
A real find!!! Outstanding food, service and facility
Michael our waiter was friendly, knowledgeable & attentive. The menu & specials made it hard to choose. We were all well pleased with the outstanding meal that arrived. Our table was outdoors on a warm night & couldn’t have been more pleasant.
Probably our favorite restaurant in Portland during our long weekend stay. Perfect place for families. The service was excellent and very attentive. Our daughter wanted extra tomato salads and they were very nice to accommodate her. The wine was delicious and everything we ate was very good and fresh. Highly recommended to anyone staying in Portland. We loved it.
A bit pricey for what you get however the place is quite cute and taste are good.
Awesome food and outstanding service.
Hostess was incredibly rude to us and our children. This is not a family friendly restaurant. We came there for a special occasion to celebrate their grandmothers birthday and we were treated like we were an irritation. Food was very small portions and overpriced.
So many better restaurants in Portland with better quality and much more welcoming atmosphere
Wonderful service and fabulous dining experience.
My go to in Portland for Italian.
Incredible food(farm to table, pasta made in house)with a menu that changes daily.
The food, ambience and staff make this place a standout.
You must try the pesto, steak and desserts.
Did I mention the staff is incredible!
Best restaurant ever. We came back a second time on our 2 day trip it was so good. Pesto pasta is amazing.
Loved it - brilliant Italian food by a wonderful chef!
We had a delicious and beautifully prepared dinner. This is not a red sauce and spaghetti restaurant. The choices offered are authentically Italian but less common. We loved the focaccia di Recco. This has a soft cheese between two very thin layers of dough baked in a wood oven till brown and bubbly. The delicate cheese is melted and wonderful. Our server listened, explained and made excellent suggestions. Save room for dessert.
We can not say enough great things about Solo Italiano. Everything about this restaurant is top notch.
The food is second to none and the wait staff is very attentive to our needs and requests. Our waiter readily made recommendations when asked about a few items on the menu and the wine list. He was extremely helpful and friendly.
Excellent food, excellent atmosphere and excellent service. A must when visiting Portland.