Spare in menu (food), interaction (service) and atmosphere (interior design), Café Castagna is an ideal place for dining out, one-on-one, with a loved one.
This may sound like a case of damning by faint praise, but it’s not. There’s a quiet confidence in this establishment’s minimalist sensibility. If this restaurant were a personality, it would most certainly be European. Clean and simple, with honest and simple food.
We love the food here and would go even more often than we do if it was not for the acoustics. During warm weather they have a great seating area outside so you can avoid the noise. The Ceasar salad is great, but nothing can beat the butter lettuce salad. Good french fries.
We went to Cafe Castagna last night and were completely delighted. First off, the service was impeccable: prompt, informed, pleasant, and unobtrusive. The meal was superb! A standout was the braised beef angliotti recommended by our server. They were really sensational, and came in a beef broth reduction with chives and I'm guessing sherry. The fried risotto croquettes with fontina were delightful. We ordered cheeseburgers and fries based on their reputation for burgers and they did not disappoint. I think the fries were some of the best tasting fries I have had anywhere. The potato flavor was clear and earthy, the fries were properly cooked - light and crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle. The burgers were superb, and the addition of delicious house-made sweet pickles didn't hurt either. I can't wait to go back and try more items, the people here clearly have skill and obviously cook with love and pride.
Good food, mediocre service.
The food here is always excellent. I've been on a couple occasions... the burger is fantastic. The penne and cheese is a little overwhelming but good if you're looking for something rich, and the margarita pizza was delicious. However, the wait staff seems a little confused for the most part. My recent visit was not an overly busy night, yet service was slow (got drinks after appetizers) and a little schizo. We requested an outside patio table, but then they gave it to a different group that came in after us. Okay. Our server wasn't bad but the water-pourer/busser didn't seem to know what was happening. My friend and I asked for our meals boxed (half a pizza and half a penne meal) and she acknowledged and took them away, only never to return. Kind of inconsiderate considered I paid $14 for barely half a meal... I saw her later bussing tables but in the rush of things forgot to confront them about it. I don't feel like I should have to! Did she just take our whole meals and throw them away? I guess we weren't old and rich looking enough to be taken into consideration. I'd give it another try for the food...but maybe just one more.
Excellent Lunch Spot..
Often heralded as a fine spot for dinner, the Cafe should not be overlooked for an exquisite lunch. I am a lunch time regular and find that the dynamic menu offers many options from delicious burgers, succulent pastrami sandwiches, house made sausages to local seafood.
The outside patio allows for some truly fantastic dining (assuming Portland's weather cooperates!) and the classically attractive wait staff are patient, courteous and attentive. I have had numerous business lunches here and the staff always reads our needs. Food was timed well, space was made for our documents and we felt comfortable sitting and discussing long after our plates were cleared.
I am hard pressed to think of a better lunch spot.
Best Burgers in Portland.
Cafe Castagna consistently serves up one of the best burgers in Portland, and at a very reasonable price. The service is always very accommodating and it has a nice, minimalist atmosphere. Not too pretentious. The simplicity is what makes this place so great.
love the mac and cheese.
the penne and artisan cheeses is awesome! the burger seems awesome too (im a vegetarian). the room can be chilly; also we went with our baby and we were served really fast and they seemed like they were rushing us out of there. but other times (sans baby) we were allowed to linger and savor.
Another one of my favorite spots when I want quality food and a relaxed atmosphere. Service is good, very unobtrusive and seamless. The menu is fairly simple but I am always more than happy and satisfied. The atmosphere is fine, very contemporary and simple. Sometimes there can be a wait, but once a table finally opens up and you get some food the wait was definitely worth it.
The food was average, a little over-priced at best. The only thing ruining the experience are the acoustics. It was like sitting inside of a kettle with a few djembe players from the sidewalks of Hawthorne. Maybe the concrete walls should be covered with tapestry?