Portland >Food & Dining > Castagna Restaurant
1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR | Directions 9721445.512049 -122.647516
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Hosford - Abernethy
Portland's consummate special occasion dining room, regal Castagna serves food that can often double as art, which is nice if you're an Instagram fanatic and want to have some real filters fun. The $55 prix fixe tasting menu is an exceptional meal, but if you really want to go all out, opt for the $95 chef's tasting menu with wine pairings.
Eating dinner here is an experience to be had. Really inventive and unique presentation. Probably the best steak I've ever had. Plus how can you not like a place that has a pre AND post dessert. Serivce was even better than the food. Can't wait to go back.
Wow – I thought I was going for a casual evening dinner with a good friend; little did I know that we were both in for the best meal of our lives. We tried the 4 course dinner for about $65. Most would think of this as an expensive dinner, but when you see and especially, experience what that gets you, you
Outstanding meal! – The Castagna meal was probably the best meal I have ever eaten! Every dish was unusual and creative. This is not your routine recipe driven restaurant. Matt Lightner is doing new things that you simply will not see anywhere else. Four of us shared our entries and had 21 different courses of food! Each was excellent and surprising and delightful. There a lots of routine restaurants that do well and if that is what you want, then go to the Cheesecake Factory, etc. For me, I am going back to Castagna!
Fabulous Creativity! – I couldn't believe the variety coupled with the level of excellence of every dish we tried at this restaurant. The chef is doing things that no one else is trying and hitting a home run. We like maximizing our tastes so we were able, with four people, to try 21 different things in our evening adventure and each one was different and wonderful.
If you're into small plates and local/fresh/innovative this is what you're going to get at Castagna. Can't recommend it more highly!
Exciting, Inventive and DELICIOUS!!! – Last night had a phenomenal experience here--fantastic, creative, delicious food that actually was ART. This young chef is a genious and I feel so lucky to be able to have access to such quality here in Portland. My favorites were the 1st course scallop dish with herb and apple sauce with a granita--WOW! Now this is not something I have had anywhere and it was mind-blowing. Also the sweet potatoe with sorbet was suprising. Lamb was done to perfection and for dessert the goat cheese with beets and hay crackers again absolutely wanted to lick the plate! Service was stellar and they even allowed us to order a dish off the tasting menu. Will be back again and again!!!
Best Portland Restaurant – Oh so saddened by the bad reviews. Don't believe them! It is for adventurous and curious diners and for those who are really interested in some of the creative, inventive and yummy things that can be done with food. If you have other "tasters" in your group (like 3 others) everyone ordering something different and sharing is a great option and you'll taste and experience things you never thought possible with food. This was one of the best meals we've had in a long time from Chicago to San Fran to other Portland restaurants. This is hands down one of the best around. Come on fellow Portlanders be a little adventerous! By the way, we had great service.
Mysterious ingredients – First, I would suggest that you are an adventurous eater to dine here. The menu changes - it's short and I always like that. However, they insist on listing nearly every ingredient in the dish. Including the mysterious parsnip milk. It seemed a place that was more interested in how many odd things they could put into their dishes than the actual dish itself. Still, I am glad we went. It was very interesting to say the least. The general quality of the food was good, the service was a bit slow and inattentive. I ordered a pork dish for my main course and the meat was... well... way too pink. Really pink, verging on red. I probably won't return, but it was nice to try it.
Don't go – This is a first time bad review of a restaurant for me.
My husband and I had dinner at Castagna on October 29. We had been there previously and it was a favorite. But that was before the new chef, Matthew Lightner. The room is still elegant and subdued. The service was very good. Most of the food was so bad as to be an insult to the diners.
We each ordered an appetizer (from part 1 and part 2) of the menu and an entree.
Before the appetizers arrived we were served their homemade rolls with butter and pork fat. The rolls were very tasty, but very oily. The pork fat - described in a Willamette Week review as one of the best things on the menu (!) was just that - pork fat. ugh
My appetizer was described as Black Truffle with assorted other components. Could I have been wrong to assume that it would include some of the famed black truffle mushrooms? Apparently I was. I was served 3 black balls of an unknown vegetable that had been coated in ash. Ash. The taste was unpleasant and the mouth feel (cinders, anyone?) was worse. Not to mention the very unpleasant black mess it all left on my plate. My husband ordered an appetizer that included salmon, ash coated beets and grapefruit. He received a few slivers of salmon, several beets coated in black ash and another few slivers of grapefruit. Again, the ash was not a pleasant addition to the dish.
The entrees we ordered - duck and venison - were slightly better. The meat in both was tender and flavorful, but servings were quite small and the plates contained very little other than the meat except for a few bits of odd vegetables and again - some odd bits of ash.
I have to give kudos to the pear marinated in mead along with "twigs" and frozen meringue. Excellent. Not so the the roasted carrots, allegedly simmered in spices and served with whey sorbet. The carrots were without flavor and covered in some blackened substance - more ash? - the whey sorbet was equally without noticeable flavor.
I actually felt insulted that Mr. Lightner expected patrons of his restaurant to eat cinders.
My husband and I are fortunate to have visited most of Portland's and the Portland areas best restaurants. We are also fortunate to have had the opportunity to dine at some of the best restaurants in the US and have eaten at two Michelin starred restaurants in Lyon, France in the past six months. We know and enjoy excellent food. We did not find it at Castagna and we will not eat there again.
Never again... – ...not in this lifetime or the next. Oh, where to start?
The “good”: beautiful presentation of food, very artistic.
The “okay”: Service -- adequate but nothing to stand out. Pleasant ambience.
The “everything else”: My husband took me here for my birthday, so we were hoping for a special dinner, based on some very good reviews. My first inkling of impending doom was when I looked at the prices --- $14 to $18 for appetizer-type offerings, and around $30 for entrees. Pricey, but I supposed it was do-able if my socks were going to be knocked off. From the appetizer-y portion of the menu we ordered dishes with crab, with scallops; with matsutake mushrooms, and with spaghetti squash. My husband ordered a beef entrée. We were also served some bread-like objects (rock-hard and grease-soaked “rolls” – the first of many “WTF?” moments of the meal)
Now I need to make clear: I am not a big eater. I often get a salad and an appetizer, or a salad and just have a few bites of my entrée (and take the rest home for lunch the next day). When our food arrived, my eyes grew wide and my jaw dropped. Not in a good way. There was approximately 1 tablespoon of crab salad on my husband’s plate and a few tiny leaves of herbs. My “scallop” dish consisted of 2 paper-thin ribbons of carrot and yellow squash, 2 paper-thin slices of daikon and beet, and a few little nubbles of not-very-fresh-tasting scallops. Bleccch. The mushroom dish was about one-third of a seared mushroom stem, with a few raw mushroom slices on top, surrounded by a “beef gel” that tasted like the Campbell’s Beef Consomme from my childhood. Bleccch again. The spaghetti squash dish had perhaps two tablespoons of squash topped with uni (which was actually very fresh) and some oversalted broth. The flavors did nothing at all for each other – the whole was definitely NOT greater than the sum of its parts. *sigh* The beef entrée was small but had good flavor. Not nearly enough aioli to enjoy with the meat.
I do not recall ever walking out of a restaurant still hungry, but this was a first. I actually stopped to get a bite to eat on the way home. The cost for this alleged “dinner” for two with drinks and tip was $150. I have never paid that much for dinner in my life.
To reiterate: Never again.
Not worth the money – Actually the service was initially good from everybody in the restaurant.
They helped us to chose a (very) good wine, which we enjoyed while waiting, and with our rather tiny-portions, but interesting dishes.
Everything was fine until a lady that looked like a manager, yelled at one of our two children who crossed her way. She was actually rude, and that annoyed me quit a bit. When i asked her for an explanation, it turned out she was the manager, with an unapologetic request to "control" our daughter.
I want to explain our children were reasonably well behaved, we saw nobody annoyed by them walking (not running) around the table after dinner. But i guess this was enough for the manager to decide and ruin our night.
We used to go just for the awesome french fries they used to have. Not any more. And really, the dishes are expensive and small.
I am not spending $220 again for hearing a manager to yell at my children.
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