Portland >Nel Centro
I walk by this place pretty much every night, and it always seems busy, so I thought I would give it a try. Big mistake. The service is friendly and efficient; hence, the one star, for service. The food is terrible as is the selection of beer on draft, which in Portland is ridiculous. The pasta dishes are pure butter and cream, so if you want something pretty much tasteless with about 80 grams of saturated fat, by all means, knock yourself and your arteries out. The Tuscan bean soup had good flavor but was so rough in texture that dental floss and a water pik are an immediate necessity. The beet salad was strange and had no cohesion whatsoever; just a bunch of random things thrown together on the plate. I can't comment on dessert because, after the aforementioned 80 grams of saturated fat, that would have been insult to extreme injury. I think that the locals hang at the bar and pretty much only tourists eat in the dining room. I'm not a tourist but sure felt like one when we were through. But, what the heck-it was only about $75 bucks and money grows on trees everywhere in this world.
My husband and I won a Nel Centro gift certificate at a local benefit event. We had never been to the restaurant before. What a wonderful dining experience!
We were very excited by the menu we saw online and were prepared to try a number of different items. We were very pleasantly surprised. The meal provided complex flavor profiles and really creative dishes. Many items are made in house and it was absolutely fabulous. We had starters, salads, entree and dessert.
Our waitress was very helpful in recommending particular choices and offered much background on the house made items. She also recommended a wonderful dessert wine that we had never tasted, and it was spectacular. We are now on the hunt for the same bottle.
I will definitely recommend this restaurant to friends. The outdoor dining area, inside dining and the atmosphere were really lovely. It's a perfect spot for those dining before or after a show at the Keller. Yum!
Beautiful - love the huge outdoor fire pits.
I eat here often when I stay at the Hotel Modero (attached to restaurant). Bartenders and wait-staff are always friendly - and the atmosphere is perfect to unwind (I'm usually alone and wiped out from work) or to have night-out with friends -- especially gathered around the firepits.
Menu is "creative". Get the roasted beet salad (my favorite) or the warm goat cheese (YUM!). Pasta and meat dishes too of course.
One night I sat outside with my sister-in-law for two hours and no waitress came to ask us about fresh drinks (although plenty waitresses were circulating) We didn't like that - but that is the only negative I can think of.
We hosted a wedding rehearsal dinner for 28 last week at Nel Centro. They were outstanding in service, quality of food, and bang-for-the buck.
In fact, we were so impressed we decided to try them again tonight for a birthday dinner for a party of 7. No disappointment! The server was very friendly and knew the menu well. The food was, again, really good.
Two visits, two excellent experiences. Can't ask for more than that. We will definitely be back.
Good Food, Business Atmosphere.
Nel Centro is in the business district of Portland, so it's definitely built to cater to that type of crowd. The atmosphere was upscale and a little sterile, however they have a great outdoor seating area. Our server was friendly, but I found the service to be slow overall. It felt like we were waiting longer than usual for our drinks & food.
The food was great. A small menu with interesting, seasonal choices & manageable portions, and the dessert was excellent. They seemed to emphasize wine, as the beer selection was quite small for a Portland restaurant.
If you're staying at the adjoining hotel, or want to take someone out for a business meal, this is a fine choice. However, I wouldn't recommend it for those who want a more lively & unique Portland experience.
Nel Centro is an affront to good dining. As someone who works downtown, I have had several acceptable lunches here. So, with the mother-in-law in town last weekend, we decided to give it a try for dinner. That was a big mistake.
I love the space at Nel Centro/Hotel Modera - it's a shame that service is abysmal and the food is even worse. I ordered the "spit roasted pork loin." The pork came medium rare and almost cold in temperature (a new way of serving pork?). It had no taste and was accompanied by greasy asparagus, nasty polenta, and canned tomato chutney. My wife's pasta looked equally nasty. How do you mess up pasta?
For 15 to 20 minutes at a time, we had also no service what so ever. The appetizer course (soup and salads) was slammed down on table by the expediter with no offer of pepper. Since there was no pepper on the table, I had to walk over and request some. Water glasses remained empty until after we received the check.
I may come back for a happy hour drink to enjoy the Hotel Modera's beautiful courtyard, but I will never eat at Nel Centro again.
Great find. Really glad my husband and I decided to give Nel Centro a try - the staff were very welcoming, decor and atmorsphere great, fabulous menu, and... the food was amazing. Nice wine list too. Our waiter was somewhat new so the experience was not quite 5-star level, but he tried really hard.
Swiss Chard Gratin!. Have been here twice in the past few weeks and I am now addicted to on of their sides. The Swiss chard gratin is the best thing ever! Also the butter lettuce salad with grapes is fantastic and refreshing. The bartender was Nat was super nice and helpful and I really like the lighting in the restaurant. We had a lovely time and I would suggest this place to all my friends! Oh, and the duck confit is amazing too!
Forget this place!!.
I have stayed at Hotel Modera twice and loved everything about it, and now that I have relocated to the City, I was anxious to try Nel Centro, since it appeared to be an extension of one of the best Hotels I've ever stayed in; but disappointment is the operative word here. I just recently went for the fourth time, determined to find something good about it because it is nearby my Condo, but it still failed to live up to it's alleged reputation. The first three times, it was either very poor service or poorly prepared food, and once it was a combination of both. but iIprevailed and decided to try the Bar menu for a change. What a sad misuse of my time. I wont waste the time going into details about my experience, but suffice it to say that service and the food were deplorable. AND it turned out that the manager on duty was a big part of the problem when I voiced my displeasure over what I experienced.
I will never return, and will certainly not recommend this restaurant to anyone I know.
Short story: this is a horribly managed restaurant, which ruined a meal for us this past weekend.
My wife and I went to join some friends for a 5:45 reservation, before a 7:30 showtime at the Keller. As we were waiting for our friends to arrive (we arrived about 5 minutes early), I noticed that the staff in the kitchen were about the most leisurely I'd ever seen at a restaurant. Sauntering, basically, with no sense of urgency. We should have taken that as a hint...
Our order was taken at around 6:20, after we'd all been sitting for about 30 minutes (everyone ordered a salad and entree). We told them then that we had a show to catch, and needed to leave by 7:20. Our salad course hit the table at around 6:55, and even though we reminded them again of our need for leaving by 7:20, our entrees didn't hit the table until around 7:15. We saw another table, who had actually had their orders taken before ours, simply cancel their entrees and leave--they had a bit less patience than we did.
I have no idea how good the food was, since we wolfed down what we could in the 5 minutes we had to finish it. What I tasted was fairly pedestrian, though. Nothing I'd go back for, and tons better elsewhere in town.
Of course, despite recognizing our hurried state at the end, the management failed to apologize for the evening.
We, quite simply, won't be back, and will strongly advise our friends not to go until new management is in place. This restaurant, simply put, is poorly run. Our server stopped by only 4 times the entire meal: once, to take our original drink orders, once to take our food order, once to deliver our entrees, and once to deliver the check. During the meal, some at our table did want to order a few more glasses of wine, but we simply couldn't get anyone to take the order. Our glasses sat empty for about an hour with no attention.
If you have several hours, this might be a good place, but when we told them we needed to get in and out within an hour and a half, they simply failed.
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