Portland >Food & Dining > Sal's Famous Italian Kitchen
33 NW 23rd Pl, Portland, OR | Directions 9721045.523975 -122.699816
Sat-Sun: 11:30am-9pm, Mon-Fri: 11am-9pm
Neighborhoods: Hillside - Northwest District, Neighbors West - Northwest
Nice Italian venue, disappointing dinner – Living in Portland's West Hill, my wife and I were pleased to find Sal's close to home where the venerable Uptown Broiler was when our boys were growing up. We first went there mid-afternoon and had dessert and coffee, which was good. Tonight we decided to try Sal's for dinner. I had a "sugo" dish, pulled lamb on egg noodles, which was very disappointing. The sauce was a small amount of weak broth. My wife had lasagna. She liked it but it was a small piece with more pasta than filling, covered by a large amount of sauce. As my dish was so bland there was enough sauce to put on my noodles. I added some olive oil and pepper and the sugo became somewhat edible. When the I was asked if I liked my meal I asked that my displeasure be communicated to the chef.
We were hopeful that Sal's could become a regular stop, but I doubt we will be going back. There's too much good Italian in Portland to accept mediocrity.
Bring back the OLD meatball recipe please!! – I would have given this place 4.5 stars if they hadn't changed their meatball recipe. Some of my friends and I are regulars, and over time (several visits each) we all have noticed that the meatballs have changed and not for the better . . . which is very disappointing since that is what kept bringing us back!! Please bring back the old recipe. Thank you. Oh, also a better house salad would be appreciated.
Otherwise, this is a GREAT neighborhood place, that is well priced and has good classic Italian food -- food that I could get everywhere in NY, but have a hard time finding here in Portland. A real gem.
Excellent Pizza and italian food, good service, parking lot behind the restaurant. – Terrific pizza.(kalamata olive, green olive, and onions). Exellent cannelloni and sauce. My wife and I liked the bread (served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and the salad. Calamari was very tasty and cooked just right. I have had their various pastas many times and it's always al dente and not mushy. Service is very good. This is nice family or take a date out restaurant. Prices are medium. Oh, my wife really enjoyed her eggplant scaloppini and I also liked their vegetable lasagna. Not fancy smacy but good italian food at a decent price.
Great for lunch – I was looking for a nice place for lunch on a beautiful day in Northwest. I found this place by accident and was very pleased. I just had appetizers and salad because they all sounded so good; so cannot comment on the entrees. The place was quiet, clean and very friendly. The food was well-prepared and with fresh ingredients. My server was lovely. They have a nice wine list with affordable selections. All in all, very good value and a very pleasant experience. I look forward to coming again. The host was especially welcoming.
Pass the Cannelloni – I ate here with my husband a week ago, and was delighted with the food. I had the Cannelloni special, and my husband had a Cannelloni baked in fresh tomato sauce. We each had a Caesar salad, and split some wine. I was very satisfied with the food, and the price of our meal. Also, our server was very gracious and accomodating.
Disappointed – Finally made it to Sal's, my food tasted great, but my friend got a wilty salad and got fud pioisoning* (after getting a new one). We wrote a letter, they didn't respond. Too bad I can't rate ZERO STARS.
*(this stupid site won't let me spell the words properly since "inappropriate")
Disappointing lunch – My husband and I were looking forward to lunch at Sal's on Friday. We were excited about trying a new restaurant near both of our places of work.
Our experience at Sal's for lunch started out pleasantly, we were greeted in a prompt and friendly manner, but took a bad turn when the older couple who came in after us was served first. (My husband and I are in our late 20s, they were over 50.) That could've been over looked since you seat yourself at Sal's, but the service continued to be bad. We had to ask for everything from water to the check.
The food was okay, but not spectacular. I had the baked cannelloni. I found a couple of pieces of gristle, but no chicken (I think the gristle was actually from the prosciutto that was supposed to also be inside). The sauce, pasta and cheese were good. My husband said his meatball hero was good. I believe both were overpriced - $11.75 for the small order of cannelloni (also available in large) and $8.50 for the meatball hero that came with a side salad (I think you can choose soup if you'd prefer).
I would not recommend Sal's to anyone. If you are looking for a better experience in Italian food, try Mama Mia Trattoria (439 SW Second Ave.) at happy hour. You'll get great food, good service and really great prices! Or, if you're out in Tigard, there's New York, New York!
Feels like a cafeteria – Something about the interior of this place makes it feel more like a cafeteria than a homey restaurant. Although the walls are painted in warm tones, the ambience doesn't match. Sal's sister restaurant in NoPo is alot warmer and friendlier.
Service was lackluster, but the meatballs are good. I hear that Sal's doesn't even make the meatballs themselves. Rather, they are ordered from an outside vendor. If you can figure out who, I would skip Sal's entirely and order them separately! Serrato's is a better bet if you're in this neighborhood.
Sal, what happened? – Mention Sal's a few years ago and most people would laud their signature Ragu dish. I ordered it today and the customary wide noodles were replaced with Penne. The server indicated that people in Portland weren't ready for the wide noodle. If that's true, there's a place for such people, it's called Olive Garden. Please don't deviate from what works.
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