Nel Centro

4.6
1738 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 1738 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
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LG
Portland
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible Sunday brunch! Delicious all around. Excellent service. We went at 10:00 am and missed the rush.

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L
Vancouver
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Service was pretty good, but for the price I'd expect a little better quality of food. The egg of the omelette was fine, if not a little overdone, but the fillings were not well cooked, leaving some bites of mushrooms incredibly chewy and some bites of asparagus quite hard.

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R
Portland
43 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

There were 6 of us for early dinner before a concert. Concerns were soup served lukewarm, one entree served about 10 minutes after everyone else had their dinner, prices seemed steep for value and were charged a 20% service charge that was not previously disclosed.

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JL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The food is excellent. We visited on a very busy evening and the noise level was pretty high. The service was stretched because of the crowd.

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RR
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had a wonderful meal to celebrate a graduation. Thank you.

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g
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There are no bad days at Nel Centro! Our first choice for pre-concert/ballet/theater dinners. While the patio was hopping with sun worshipers, we opted for a quieter table inside with floor-to-ceiling windows and impeccable service. Our drinks were divine. My daughter’s risotto (which changes at least seasonally) was cooked and seasoned perfectly. I wanted to eat lightly before the performance. The Buratta/Asparagus/Prosciutto salad felt like a mini 3-course meal. I added a side of polenta, and am eager to try to replicate theirs at home; it was so good. Nel Centro is one of those restaurants where I always wish I had room for more. Maybe I’ll just pop in for dessert sometime—they all sounded heavenly.

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PD
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Once again, Nel Centro, does not disappoint. Great lunch of ling cod and mussels. Their house wine was amazing and a great price. It is my "go to" restaurant since it is near where I work. Keep up the good work!

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JK
1 review
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Great food, portions could be a bit bigger tho. Excellent service and close to the opera.

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C
Washington DC
118 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A TRUE GEM!! This is deceptively simple and delicious Italian cuisine, which is made with the finest ingredients Oregon and Italy have to offer with skill and love. The house made pastas and cheeses (burrata and ricotta) were melt in your mouth delicious. Every dish had balanced flavors, textures, colors and tastes. Portland has many fine restaurants but you should not miss this one!

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GS
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nel Centro is one of my go to restaurants for a pre opera lunch. Never been disappointed

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CL
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

5 of us ate at Nel Centro in December of 2018 and had poor food that took FOREVER to come. Yesterday 2 of us gave it another try for brunch. Same exact experience. Cold, marginal food that took FOREVER to come. The restaurant was not crowded, so we could not blame that for the slow food arrival. Our waitress was attentive, so perhaps this is a kitchen issue. Such a lovely restaurant, so close to the Keller. We will not be back.

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NP
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We come to Nel Centro often, usually in relation to a performance of the Opera or Symphony or Broadway across Am. It always is a good experience. THat's why we keep coming back.

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B
Portland
15 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service is always excellent, portions seem to be larger then expected

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K
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I ordered a pasta dish with English peas and was disappointed that nary a pea was in sight — just pea shoots.

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MW
Seattle
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always, a great meal for a reasonable price. We have been going here for years before performances at Keller or the Newmark. We love it.

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N
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Very good food. Steak was cooked just right, appetizers were excellent. Pace of service could have been better; we had to wait nearly 45 minutes between salad and entree. That makes us feel like we had to hurry and eat our steaks in order to Make a 7:30pm show time at Keller.

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OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Food was good; hard to catch waiter to get the check

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S
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food, excellent service, we were a table of eleven and they did not rush us. From the cocktails and starters to entrees and desserts, my guests were all very happy. Great outdoor garden / patio with fireplaces to enjoy before being seated for dinner. Will go again.

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OT
Tahoe
163 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Ice downtown restaurant with good food and friendly service

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KM
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter, Russ was a gem, knowledgeable, efficient and personable. Each course was a delicious adventure.

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1
Portland
184 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good for a large group. Have dined here many times, never disappointed.

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JC
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

NelCentro is one of my go-to places for business lunches. The food and service are consistently excellent!

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TK
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service, loud during the lunch hour

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MT
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friends and I had a wonderful dining experience at Nel Centro on Memorial Day night. It was a pre-show gathering before we went to the Keller. Great service and AMAZING food! Best piece of salmon I have ever had!! Delightful!

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ER
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed a terrific dining experience at Nel Centro. I had made reservations on open table with the notation that we had theater tickets at the Keller for the 7:30 show. On Sat. I received a call from Gavin to let me know that the show actually began at 6:30 and that he would bump our resv up to 4:30 and to let him know if that did not work. If it hadn’t been for Gavin’s eagle eye and courteous response we would have been very surprised and unable to even have dinner! Gavin definitely went above and beyond and we are very appreciative. The rest of the experience from hostess, to waiter, to the food (except one of the chunks of spare rib was fairly dry) was all excellent. Thank you.

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VG
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First visit on Saturday. Excellent, friendly service and high-quality food. This is a lovely, ambient restaurant.

My only recommendation to the chef is to serve the soup a bit warmer. However, it was delicious.

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P
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was great!
I loved the booth.

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B
Portland
15 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nel Centro is one of our favorite places to dine. The service is excellent from the moment you walk in the door. The menu presents a variety of choices that accommodate the meat eater or vegetarian. They have the best calamari appetizer in the city! We ordered from the appetizer, salad and side menu on our visit and we were delighted with our choices. This was a great way to get a variety of tastes! Wine and cocktails are also excellent!

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AT
1 review
Dined on May 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had an awesome lunch here with some Rose and yummy bread snacky things :) a fun afternoon.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We usually come for lunch but we’re here for brunch. It wasn’t a very crowded time on Sunday but there were still some larger tables of 8. Nevertheless the service was fantastic and the food prepared very well. My husbands burger looked fantastic and he was very happy with it. I had some special requests, and our server went out of her way to make sure all of our questions were answered, suggesting alternatives, and assuring that the food was correctly prepared. This kind of attention to details and quality of the food is the reason we continue to return.

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C
Portland
50 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good choice for pre-symphony or pre-Keller Auditorium; our server was knowledgeable and pleasant; nicely focused menu; my halibut was excellent; tasty, imaginative cocktails; lively bar scene

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of the best places for clever Italian food in Portland. These folks get ut

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o
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always tasty and northwest oriented. Something a little different such as the cauliflower soup

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D
Portland
51 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

As on previous visits, food was very good with novel twists on familiar dishes. Service was very slick.

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PM
Yucatán
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Love the atmosphere. Food was average. Went for Mother's Day: menu selection limited.

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ES
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Very limited menu selections, okay for most but no vegan options! Portland should be used to making all dietary choices available

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 5

Food was incredibly bland. This is the second time I’ve been disappointed with the flavor at Nel Centro. Had the baby kale, chicken & grape salad. There was only one grape in the entire salad. My friend who joined me only had one grape as well so we had to ask for a bowl of them. Server was very friendly but didn’t know the menu. Work right across the street but likely won’t return. Very disappointing for such a lovely establishment.

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PF
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was exceptional. The food was delicious. And it’s all fairly affordable. I love Nel Centro!

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AR
Jackson Hole
3 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food & service were great. The room itself was ok but the other 2 areas far outweighed the other. Enjoyed the meal!

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PD
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was fantastic, but they tried to sit us in a corner by the front door at first next to the bright shades. We asked for a different table and were moved.

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