Portland >Denicolas Restaurant
Expect to pay extra for salad, antipasto. That left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Too bad cuz the pasta, sauce and meatballs were delicious.
It used to be my criteria for choosing
a restaurant was to look for five words on the door: "Most Major Credit Cards Accepted." These days, I am more apt to seek out restaurants that have been around for multiple decades, and DeNicola's has been serving Portlandians for over 30 years. They must be doing something right.
We were out in the throes of a shopping excursion, and I suggested we pick up take-out sushi for Mrs. BDB, she never declines. So she suggests (since I will pass on the sushi) that I order a pizza, and after an extremely weak protest from me against that concept, I succumb and fall into investigating on Delivered Dish, a service I use frequently and highly recommend.
My usual choice for 'upmarket' pizza delivery would be Cara Amico, purported to be Portland's oldest Italian restaurant, and my favorite local pie for a variety of reasons.
But I was feeling 'adventurous' and chose De Nicola's, as I have meant to try it for a long time.
They say they serve "New York style" pizza, and that all their crusts are "naturally thick", but "thin" is available upon request. So I went with a thin crust Meat Lovers (Italian sausage, pepperoni, and salami) and doubled up on the cheese. They call their 14" pie a "small", but that's the standard size most pizzerias call "large".
A choice of sauces is available, as well as a gluten free option, but I went traditional.
The pie was delivered promptly at the scheduled time, still hot in the box. The dough was on the thinnish size, kind of bread-like in taste, with a crispy rim. Quantity and quality of toppings was above adequate, and they use 'real' cheese as opposed to food service type "pizza topping." There is a moderate amount of "hang", and toppings nor cheese are firmly implanted on the crust not to end up in the box, always a plus for me!
Reading different reviews on line, you will find references to "old school' type food, or "dirty Italian" (a phrase I haven't heard before, not a slam, apparently).
Verdict? I liked the pie, and I will get it again, and look forward to a sit-down meal there in the future. Their extensive menu offers a wide variety of traditional pasta dishes and entrees.
Only get pizza, otherwise you will be disappointed.
Short and not so sweet . . .
Short and not so sweet . . .
1) The food was mediocre at best.
2) The service was mediocre at best.
3) The owner doesn't know how not to embarrass her customers
by mentioning to a couple about a lady the man previously brought
into the restaurant - right in front of his current girl friend. Not cool !
4) Other than that - everything was just great. Not.
Low brow comfort food. If your memories of Italian dining include all of the familiar American/Italian favorites, prepare for a warm rush of nostalgia. If you desire gourmet ethnic nouveau cuisine at $25 or more a plate, look elsewhere in town. Large portions of Lasagne, Tortellini, Ravioli and the like are served up loaded with sauce and cheese in a very home style fashion. My personal taste (as the weather turns cool) allows room for this heavier interpretation of Italian fare. Side dish "add-ons" ( salad, soup, antipasto) are also pretty basic while affordable enough to keep the food bill at around $15 per person with a pasta based entree (about the same cost as the specials at my preferred pasta stop, La Buca ) Denicolas is a good choice for big appetites of rich food on a modest to medium budget .
One of the worst dining experiences ever !!!.
I will start out by saying that I am only giving it one star because there isn't anything lower to give it.
We arrived at about 7:10 and was told there would be a ten minute wait. Fairly reasonable, so we waited. We got seated at about 7:20, so far so good,
The waitress then took over ten minutes to just take our order (it's now 7:30) and another 15 minutes to bring a pitcher of water. At 8:00 she finally bought over some bread. She brought garlic bread (which we didn't order) stating that they had run out of regular bread.
At 8:15 (now waiting 45 min), I asked how much longer our order would take, our waitress said she would check. She never got back to us, She never once checked on us during our entire wait. not even eye contact. At 8:30 the owner/manager signals that it will be 5 more minutes, at 8:45 she finally brings our food.
The only explanation she offers is that in 33 years Memorial Day weekend is traditionally dead and that they got slammed and that the kitchen was severely under staffed. SORRY, not my problem. She should have been back there making sure everything was going smoothly. Making arrangements before the kitchen got out of control.
By the way, I will mention here that the prices have been significantly higher since the last time we were there.
OK, now on to the food. So after an hour and fifteen minutes with nothing but bread at water, our food comes with a lame explanation. My wife ordered the chicken parmigiano, which she enjoyed thoroughly. I on the other hand ordered the eggplant parmigiano, absolutely the worst. The eggplant was so overcooked that there was no essence of the eggplant left. It was like mush covered in cheese. I had the same dish in Baker City a week before and it was twice the dish at half the price. Baker City, at the ass end of Oregon, for crying out loud, is not known for it's culinary excellence.
(No offense meant to the citizens of Baker City)
Needless to say (but I will say it anyway), it will be a long, long, long time, if ever, that I go back there
What a lovely surprise!. De Nicola's is a warm and welcoming space, redolent with the aroma of so many dishes being enjoyed by diners. I started with the vegetable soup, chunks of vegetables in a savory broth. The cheese bread was fresh, tender, and had far more cheese than I ever expected. Then the chicken parmigiana arrived under a tangy thick simmered sauce. The servings are enormous, easily enough for 3 people. Our server was attentive and I met the owner who stopped to chat with us. I will be returning!
Love Authentic Italian!. Wow! My husband & I had the most amazing meal last weekend. I had the mezza mezza & I my husband had the veal parm, which was cooked to perfection.The portions were generous. The service was awesome. It was an authentic italian meal. It was heavenly! Can't wait to go back!
best Italian food EVER.
Going to DeNicola's is a family tradition, and it's wonderful to go to a place that embodies the Italian traits of warmth, openness, friendliness, and delicious food! The garlic cheese bread is the best I've ever had, and the marinara meat sauce is just what meat sauce is supposed to be - thick, rich, slightly tangy, fresh. (No "reddish water" is left on the plate with this sauce!! It clings to the noodles perfectly!!) A favorite of mine is the Mama Rose's special salad, dressed with a simple vinaigrette and tossed with pizza toppers like mushroom slices, black olives, and juicy cherry tomatoes. And the thick-crust pizza is simply top notch.
Donna is a wonderful hostess and she has continued her family's tradition of welcome and quality service. I would hate to see such an amazing restaurant leave Portland - DeNicola's is simply the best!
Best Italian Food in Portland.
I have been going to DeNicola's since they opened 32 years ago..It has the best pizza I have ever eaten. My new favorite is baked penne pasta with mezza mezza sauce. It is to die for. The owner and wait staff are top notch. It is so great to see the family continue to work and serve the people of Portland.
I am saddened to read others comments--maybe they just don't know what good food is suppose to taste like!
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