What does a restaurant with a CSA do
with leftover fruit and vegetables? Pickle them of course, and then use them for everything from garnish on cocktails to preserved spread for crab cakes. Navarre's rotating menu of Italian,
French and Spanish dishes and small craft kitchen vibe, make this a sweet spot in the Portland dining scene.
A Real Disappointment. My wife wanted to go out "someplace nice" The Oregonian may have called this the best restaurant for 2009, but we thought it was way overrated. Our stuffed pork was as tender as my shoe sole. No one asked how our food was or if we were happy with the dishes. If they had I would have been honest.
One of the worst meals I've ever had in Portland!.
My husband and I love great food and feel so lucky to live in Portland because of that reason. We tend to plan our travels around food, also. Last night was our wedding anniversary and decided to try Navarre instead of going to one of our favorites because I remembered reading about it in something recently. We were so disappointed with our meal. To start with, the bread they gave us had burnt crust all around. Great start, isn't it? The clams arrived luke warm, gritty, and flavorless--briny but nothing else. The crab cakes were burnt, cold, rubbery, and had no flavor and came with this sweet sauce on the side--why would you serve them with something sweet when crabs are sweet to begin with? Braised greens--again, no flavor and cold. The only thing that we liked was the pork pate but the bread ruined it. They never came to ask us how our meal was, either. Seemed short staffed. We laughed about it on the way home and couldn't believe why it was so busy.
With so many great places to eat in Portland, why go here?
Rustic, gritty, real, organic in every sense..
We went on a sunday evening, and managed to squeeze onto stools at the bar. The staff worked feverishly to accomadate the totally packed room and sidewalk. If you needed something, you had to flag down a server; it helped to call out to them by name.
The wines that were recommended from the long list of mostly imports were good, not outstanding. The same with the food. Good, but not outstanding.
Our friend from out of town really enjoyed the uniqueness of experience. Unlike so many restaurants these days, Navarre isn't polished, pristine, or proper. Just real food in a nononsense style. The place was steeped in rustic kitchen quality: pie plates my great grandmother might have used, giant hunks of bread stashed where ever they could find a home... some dishes were outstanding, some were so-so.
On the whole, it was a good experience, but we'd strongly recommend going on a slow tuesday afternoon to avoid the expectant throngs, and to take the time to remember the joy of creating good food.
Disappointed, for the most part. We took our daughter to dinner there on a Monday night. We were told that it would be a 30 minutes wait. This turned into an hour. Only two waiters were on the floor. They did their best, but should have had a busser at their disposal, at the very least. The order process is odd. We ordered a variety of things. Nothing seemed to flow together. Crab cakes were hard, cold, unseasoned. Nothing really stood out. I am a professional cook so perhaps my expectations are too high. We had the chocolate mousse, as recommended by our waitress. It was grainy and very runny. The bill was a surprise at $131. Wouldn't go back.
Ah, Navarre, how I really wanted to love you. The idea of CSA, the atmosphere, the wines. I really did want to fall in love. Our party of four allowed the kitchen to choose our meal for $28 each. What we received was such a sad disappointment. The dishes did not mesh well, there was no balance in the meal, and salt and vinegar were abused to the max as the primary seasoning. We kept glancing around to see if anyone else was having such a painful dining experience. Bok choy, salad with lamb, buffalo steak, beans: salty! Farro, bird, lentils, potatoes: bland. Crab cakes and halibut: good, but not exceedingly great. Kens' artisan bread was the best thing on our table, perhaps we should have just bought a loaf down the street?
We walked away with salt burn in our mouths, laughing at how you can't just believe the hype surrounding some restaurants. Perhaps it was an off day, but for the price and wait we expected to at least have something palatable.
Great ambiance, terrible service. Darn -- what a dissapointment! Given Navarre's recent nomination of the "Restaurant of the Year" we were super excited to give it a try. From the moment we sat down, the service was a disaster. We had to harass our waitress to order beverages and get some help with understanding the menu. We sat down at 7:30 and our food was not served until 9pm. No one came and checked in with us during the extended delay to ask if we needed anything (more wine, perhaps?) or how we were doing. We ate quickly (we were starved!) and were eager to try the red velvet cake. After waiting 30 minutes fo the dessert menu, we finally had to flag down our "no sense-of-urgency" waitress to ask for a dessert menu. The chef was extremely complimentary and offered us some amazing cheese and sweet vermouth, but once he left, we were in a desert of non-existant service once again. We finally got our dessert, ate it promptly and were ready for home (it's now 10pm). When it came time to pay, our waitress left and we sat waiting, once again, for almost 30 minutes. We finally had to trouble the waitress at the bar who was sending text messages as we were the only table in the entire restaurant waiting to pay. Although the ambiance was fun, and the food was decent, because we were left to fend for ourselves the majority of the evening, we will not return to Navarre. It's simply too much work.
Great Potential. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. Nothing fancy but welcoming. Ordering is unusual so ask for help from your waitress.The wait staff was pleasant and informative.You can order small portions or full portions which you share with your fellow diners.The menu was eclectic and interesting. The Bread is a must order and the French butter is the best I've ever had;salty and very rich. Delicious.The wait staff slipped in not serving the bread with the butter. I asked for the butter and was told our portion was being prepared. Hmmm? Wait to serve the bread when the butter is uh...ready.We ordered small portions of crab cake,pork pate',black rice with mushrooms, lemon chicken,potato pancakes,razor clams and green salad. We also ordered a fantastic French country beer. The pork pate' was excellent but a bit dry; it could have used a little butter to soften it.The lemon chicken was pretty bland and dry. It needed to be marinated and it needed some herbs and spices to give it flavor;or perhaps a sauce. I found the razor clams inedible, like eating shoe leather.One of my fellow diners enjoyed them however.The crab cake was good but nothing special.The potato pancakes were bland.The black rice with mushrooms was delicious and I could have used a larger portion;highly recommended. The green salad was nice and fresh with a good variety of greens. One of the restaurants best desserts, a bitter chocolate mousse, was already sold out at seven PM; unforgivable. A popular dessert should not be sold out so early in the evening. Poor planning by the staff. The desserts we did order were fabulous. I had a devil's food cake that would have made Satan proud;decadent! The Basque cake and the apple dessert were also thoroughly enjoyed. I would highly recommend this restaurant. Some of the dishes need some work but were good none the less. The atmosphere,the interesting menu, the ordering options and pleasant staff make for a very enjoyable experience. You won't be disappointed.
One of my favorite places in town. I love the small plates, many flavors, old standards, variety. I allow plenty of time and plan for long conversations with my companions.
Great ethics, bad night for pie..
We stopped in for dessert on a Saturday night. Around 8:30 pm. We were seated immediately. We ordered the Basques cake and Blueberry Huckleberry pie. Both had noticeably burned crusts which left a bitter taste that overwhelmed the nice berry flavors. Well, we have been there before and things were great but we were disappointed. So we were ready to call it a night thinking that we probably would not rush back when the manager or owner asked us how things were. So I said that we were a little disappointed.
He noticed that our deserts were sad looking and offered us alternate items. We accepted his offer which was a glass of sparkling wine. He said that everything was on the house. Beside me, on a shelf, was a marvelous bowl of fresh large peaches. I commented on them and he took one , sliced it up and served it to us as well.
They were perfect. Although, in reality, the burned deserts should never had made it to some ones plate, the owner/manager was more than willing to make it right. He was pleasant and really took the time to make us feel appreciated even though we only had a couple of pieces of pie.
I will go back. The place had good atmosphere and the staff was friendly. (not withstanding the one that served the burned pie)
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