Nel Centro

4.6
1578 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. Reserve a table for Sunday brunch - truly a treat in a city known for long brunch lines.
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.

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Join us for a romantic dinner in downtown Portland. We will be serving our full regular menu in addition to some extra special creations. Dinner at Nel Centro is the perfect highlight to your special night.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What 1578 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
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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BF
Portland
16 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nel Centro is a great date spot in the dining area vs the bar but if your timings right just about anywhere in their restaurant is great but at peak times like anywhere it’ll be noisy. Just plan accordingly depending upon your occasion.

It’s a tad more spendy but worth it. Great food helpful staff and the ambiance well that’s more about your occasion need.

Bon appetite.....

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BF
Portland
15 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As with anyplace dinning at peak times it’ll be noisy of course. But the wait staff is great friendly and helpful.

The food is great I’d lean to the bar menu vs the dining room menu but I’ve tried both. Great food period. Yes it’s a swanky place but it’s delicious!!

I like getting their at off times less crowded and well quieter. But there staff are great and helpful. So I randomly keep going back. But it’s really not the daily meal place more the special occasion place.

Bon appetite...

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Z
Portland
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very attentive waitstaff! Delicious entrees and excellent cocktails!

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A
Portland
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this restaurant . Always great service, good food and a friendly staff !

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

wonderful service and friendly staff. always amazing food accompanied by fabulous wine.

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LI
Portland
19 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another excellent meal before we went to the show. We enjoy going to Nel Centro before we go to the Keller. The drinks, food and service are great!

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MM
Portland
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I always enjoy it, but the lunch seating in the back is very cold, especially in winter and spring. Other than that, the service is very good, and is consistently very good also.

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C
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

We went for lunch. The wait staff was excellent and we had a very light, bright table overlooking the city bustle. Decor is very clean sophisticated. Lots of business suit lunches. Imagine it rocks a bit more in the evening or the summer on the patio. Two of us had pizza which was very good, but it's pizza. The third dish, a cod with greens on creamed chickpeas & tapanade was well prepared and delicious. Appreciated being able to hold and hear a conversation, while feeling that it was private to your table - good acoustics? Overall, very good lunch experience.

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J
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our server, Randi, offered perfect wine and food suggestions. The meal was delicious and we got in and out in time for our show.

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ER
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Love this restaurant at Happy hour, so tried the lunch. The service was excellent and the inside restaurant pleasant (like outside area in warmer months). The portions were small at lunch for the cost, most of my group walked away hungry after paying $20/entree. Would consider again but likely just for HH.

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C
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always love this place. Always. Randi was patient and thorough and so pleasant. Another solid evening at one of our favorite places.

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GF
Portland
37 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There for early New Years Eve dinner. A good way to end/start the year.

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f
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my first visit to Nel Centro and they definitely impressed me! The food was very good. Ordered the delicata squash and burrata salad, the rosemary focaccia bread and the butternut squash with hazelnuts and fried sage risotto. Everything tasted delicious! Risotto was creamy and hot. Husband ordered the rib eye and it too was delicious- cooked medium rare to perfection.

The service was impeccable! Just the right amount of attention and care for. Water refilled at the right time, second round of drinks right on cue and the food came out at appropriate, well balanced timings. I never write reviews, but the serving staff put it over the top and I just had to share my praise. Well done!

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took my visiting parents here for a nice sit down dinner after a chaotic Christmas week! We all loved it...amazing service, food, atmosphere, drinks and dessert. Thanks for a great experience!! My parents already request a repeat double date next time they are in town!!

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LM
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was the second time that our waiter, Matt, had waited on me. He is so cheerful and helpful with my food sensitivities. We had a lovely meal and a great time!

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JS
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Nel Centro is a regular pre-concert diner spot for us. Tasty food and drink, excellent service and close to the theater.

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K
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Christmas Eve dinner, 6 friends, excellent service and very one was very happy with their meal! We will be back .

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CS
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Service was sublime. Meal was fine to bland. Definitely overpriced.

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AH
1 review
Dined on December 18, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

This Italian/Mediterranean spot is nice, the food is not what I would consider authentic. Far too much attention is placed on the tomato sauce. We ordered four different entrees and somehow they all ended up just being chicken, or fish, or (strangely enough) empty clam and mussel shells covered in bright red tomato sauce. It was all fine, nothing special. About the same as getting a really good, hot Dominoes pizza delivered: It's good, it's filling, but you wouldn't save the leftovers. And it's more pricey than is necessary. Two of us, I had two drinks, the bill was $100. That's just high.

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JJ
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Disappointing after recommendation by friends. Ordered pomme frites with harissa, but it was ketchup, not harissa. I have spend a lot of time in North Africa and KNOW harissa. The waitress informed me that it was harissa, not ketchup because it had a smoky flavor. Goofy. Smokiness is not what harissa is known for. Wish I'd never ordered it.

Also ordered butternut squash risotto. It was unattractive and unappetizing, a big glob, more like a heavy soup and fairly tasteless.

We also had several different servers, not one, all obsequious.

The Los Vascos red was wondeful.

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JR
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Everything was great except our waitress was not friendly and not overly accommodating. She seemed like we were bothering her rather than trying to be helpful

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e
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been to Nel Centro numerous times and always enjoy it. The food is fresh and visually appealing and the service is always great. We would highly recommend it!

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KC
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was beautifully prepared and delicious. Wait staff was Friendly and asked if we had a show to attend after dinner as soon as we were seated, which we did. We had appetizers, dinner, and dessert, with plenty of time to make it to our show. They were spot on! Very enjoyable evening!

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B
1 review
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Sunday brunch: good food, though limited offerings from the menu. Poor service, even though they weren't too busy. It took a long time, over ten minutes, to bring soft drinks ordered. Bar was nearby.

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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for our annual Christmas brunch with the gals. Friendly staff and food was fabulous!

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great place to go before a show at the Keller!

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k
Portland
30 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The papardelle with pork was a phenomenal hit. The osso bucco was absolutely wonderful. The cioppino was thick and wonderful. The salmon was good, but not as appreciated. The salads were excellent.

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c
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely atmosphere. Delicious food. Knowledgeable waitstaff. Comfortable, relaxed and above all PRISTINE bathrooms! It means a lot to go to a restaurant and feel like it is impeccably maintained in all ways.

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PS
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really enjoyed the food and service here. Our waitress was aware that we were heading to a show at the Keller that night and the food came out very promptly. Only a few blocks from Keller so an easy walk.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great meal and service

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PB
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was terrific and the food was great! A nice setting and wonderful ambiance.

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RH
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent timing on serving and getting us to a show at Keller

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JS
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Nel Centro was the 6th restaurant near Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall that we have tried prior to a show in the last 2 years. The menu is small, which isn't a bad thing, but it seems like all the restaurants we've tried have had the same things on the menu. Nel Centro had some of the same items, some kind of Rotisserie chicken, a pork item, a steak and short ribs but they did deviate with some pasta dishes and some very good pizzas. The food was good but not memorable and, as it seems is par for the course in downtown Portland, it was over priced. This was especially true of the starters and dessert. Don't get me wrong again the food was good, I can't complain about anything I ate. But for the price we paid I want something that is memorable and this was not.

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FH
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite for dinner before a performance at the Schnitzer or Lincoln Hall. Also a great place for a business lunch and out-of-town guests. The menu is changing and always exceptional. Staff is professional and responsive. Bar is excellent.

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W
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The meal was amazing, but there was quite a bit of wait time between appetizers and the meal, and I did not notice our server check on us after the meal was set down. Food was amazing, and ambiance was lovely and perfect for what we were looking for.

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SY
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

It’s a great dinner before symphony or Schnitzer events!

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JW
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

One of the few restaurants I have been to that improves each time I visit. Outstanding staff that is very knowledgeable and helpful. Great food well prepared and well served.

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CJ
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been here many times with friends and always enjoy the food and ambience.

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CW
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

It was a great place!
The service was the best I have experi need in Portland!

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MM
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

I was disappointed that we were seated in the bar. I wish the reservation site stated your dining room hours clearly. The main server was very pleasant and efficient. She did most of the serving during our visit. We got a bit lost in the shuffle near the end, but nothing major.

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