Nel Centro

4.6
1655 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Hip Italian eatery in the Theatre & Arts District of downtown Portland, Nel Centro is a vibrant, fun and delicious expression of Riviera cuisine.
Perfect for dinner before a show at the Keller Auditorium or Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Nel Centro will make your special night out even more memorable. Join the power lunch crowd at Nel Centro for an array of scrumptious salads, innovative pizzas & fresh market fish.
Nel Centro features a full scratch bar, swanky patio, private dining rooms and one of the city's premiere wine lists. Come visit and experience the luxury of the Riviera in downtown Portland.
What 1655 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SH
Portland
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place to have dinner before the symphony. The pasta's were amazing, martini's shaken "just so" and the ambiance was very fun. Looking forward to going again soon

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MA
Portland
32 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always love Nel Centro!

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JS
Portland
14 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Pre-concert dinner with a friend, good company and - as always - tasty food and drink at one of our Portland favorites. Nel Centro's location two blocks from concert hall an advantage.

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A
Atlanta
56 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely dining w/great service and food. Very fresh and beautiful presentation.

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CA
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I love the beautiful setting, the good food and the quiet atmosphere. One of the few places I love to go for breakfast on a regular basis. Partly due to the easy location and the fact that they take reservations and I never have to wait to get my breakfast.

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MG
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Although my friends and I have eaten at Nel Centro often and have high expectations, during our brunch all of us stopped eating at some point to exclaim, "This is really good!" We had very different menu items, but we were all very happy.

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JG
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a double date at Nel Centro before a show at the Keller Auditorium. The food was amazing and in such a beautiful setting. We will definitely return! Great service too!

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OT
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We went for Portland Dining Month, a terrific dinner, service, and value. No complaints at all.

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R
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful creative food, comfortable upbeat atmosphere, good service. We're so glad we discovered Nel Centro!

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EL
Tahoe
2 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent pork osso buco & risotto. Always a great experience Nel Centro.

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BB
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to Nel Centro prior to a concert at the Keller Auditorium. The food and atmosphere were excellent; save room for dessert. Other reviews also praised the service and they sure were right on. Our waiter Nate was excellent as were all the other staff members. These people were exceedingly polite, knowledgeable, friendly and boy did they all hustle. Our first time there but definitely not our last.

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J
Seattle
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter was fantastic and the food was even better! Loved their desserts as well.

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MB
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Cautiously recommend. The food was great, although the wait staff was less than warm and friendly- a bit pretentious of an overall atmosphere. I'd go again for the food and test the wait staff to see if the overall vibe feels as pretentious as it did this first time.

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r
Portland
19 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Interesting and tasty food for the Dining Month menu. We were pleased that we could get wine in a 500ml carafe, which is just right for us. Noise level was quite loud until a bunch of people all left to go an event nearby.

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CN
Portland
1 review
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter, I believe his name was Matt, was fantastic! Not only was he knowledgeable about all the food that was offered, but he was eloquent, funny and gave us just the right amount of attention. He is a real asset and you should give him a big raise!

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OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

The Portland dining menu was only ok, not great.

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OT
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

Food and service are great and they have a good happy hour. Much better in warm weather because the deck is amazing. When it’s cold if you’re seated by the door you have to leave your cost on or freeze which is annoying

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The Staff were accommodating and friendly. The food was delicious. We will definitely go back there someday. We’ve been coming to Nel Centro for happy hour and breakfast.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Customer service was outstanding and so was the food!!! Definitely have to go back the next time we are in Portland!

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our team of 7 met for dinner and we all enjoyed Nel Centro. The service was in first rate and every single person thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Highly recommended.

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T
Portland
30 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

We came for breakfast and to hear the jazz music. In order to really hear the music, we were seated in the bar, which had less comfortable seating and a lot of noise from the bar. So that was not ideal. My husband ordered his eggs over-easy. When he got them, they were overcooked...no runniness at all. We contacted the neighboring waiter and he took care of us. Our waitress was busy. Our toast came late and I had to signal our waitress to get a coffee refill.
This is not up to the usual standard at Nel Centro. However, we will be back!

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LM
Seattle
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Great tasting food. The pasta we got was expensive for the portion size

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MM
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

WonderfuL. Server was happy to let us share the walnut Gorgonzola salad, mussels, and wild mushroom pizza. Neapolitan cocktail was delightful. Cardoman ice cream and capacuino was the perfect end to a special lunch before a show at the Keller.

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WW
Portland
14 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We visited during Portland Dining Month and ordered from the preset menu as well as the regular menu. Loved the mushroom soup. The pasta dish was a bit on the small side. The roasted chicken was very good. Steak and dessert were so-so. Service was very good and ambiance very nice.

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OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our second time experiencing this restaurant. We enjoyed our first visit and wanted to return to try another selection. Both experiences were great! The food was flavorful, not over-seasoned or under-seasoned, perfect temperature and cooked to our desired doneness. We will return!

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JR
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

amazing food with excellent service. best place to go before a show at Keller.

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MB
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service. The dining area is bright and energetic. The one downside is that the menu prices for lunch seem a bit high.

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CP
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous food. Really top notch. Impeccable service: friendly, knowledgeable, professional, attentive server. Russ was one of the best servers ever. A truly lovely night. We will be back for sure!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great service..

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BG
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Nel Centro has been on our restaurant list for a while so we tried it for a recent Saturday night out. My wife and I both love Italian, so we started by splitting the roasted beet salad (lightly dressed and delicious) and then went pasta. She had the bucatini alla bolognese and I had the pappardelle with braised lamb. Not haute cuisine but both were delicious and a good value. The restaurant was fairly slow for a Saturday night (as compared to Raven & Rose which is close by so we stopped there for a pre-dinner drink). The environment is nice but maybe a little “cold” compared to the coziness of R&R, (especially upstairs). Overall we enjoyed it (our server was exceptional). We’ve checked that box but not likely to rush back with so many other options in Portland.

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T
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We have always had pretty good luck at Nel Centro but I was a bit disappointed in the lunch we had. I had a child with me, and they were able to accommodate, but the Saturday menu is very limited which I didn’t realize until we arrive. Service was OK by our waiter, but we did receive additional service from other staff who were very friendly. I will go back again though. Love the setting and generally pleased with the food and service.

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JP
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful dining experience here. The staff was friendly and courteous, very attentive. The food was delicious (I had the French toast; it melted in my mouth and my date had the breakfast scramble special). And the ambience was perfection.

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AS
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great! Fantastic value and a wonderful space. Superb wine by the glass options. Great for adults looking to have a nice bite, reasonable price, and a conversation.

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KP
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

So convenient to the theater, but not sure we would go for just a dinner out. Our waiter was great, food portions so small for the price and just ok. We were disappointed this time.

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NM
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always good! Have been here many times, and it's great food, consistent every time I go. Excellent service. Does get quite noisy when it's busy, maybe not the best for people hard of hearing who need some place quiet (or just come during slower hours). Always a solid choice for a meal downtown.

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h
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Went for lunch on a Tuesday Noon. Food was fabulous as usual. Service was very pleasant and attentive.

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H
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food and service are consistently excellent each time I'm there, whether it's for happy hour, lunch or dinner. and beautifully presented.

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DR
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great location for a good dinner before a show at the Schnitz!

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S
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 1

Food and service are good but don't sit within 50 feet of the front door. The blast of cold air from outside will chill your food and your spirits.

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A
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding quality. The foods were well prepared, original, tasty, nourishing, and satisfying. The Northern Italian style was unique and well worth the visit!

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