Portland >Food & Dining > Rimsky-Korsakoffee House
707 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9721445.517773 -122.653954
Possibly the most romantic coffee and dessert place in Portland (although the service is more akin to NYC than PDX). Dark and moody, with quirky art and décor, incl. several slowly rotating tables.
Coffee, teas and deserts take the stage here. A victorian house decorated with a node to classical music and a touch of zany! First see if you can decode the theme that is raining down from the ceiling, next be sure to stop in the loo upstairs for a truly unique place to pee.
Great food, awesome atmosphere. This easily one of my favorite spots in Portland. The ambiance is homey, and quirky, with great classical music on most nights-- in fact, each table is named for a renowned composer. The desserts are excellent, and not very expensive. And the servers are great, at least the ones I have encountered. They were prompt and very friendly, even when the place was swamped. Rimsky's is a quintessential Portland experience, an absolute must for visitors to town. Much preferable to all the lame coffee chains which have sprouted up all over the place.
Portland's original MAVERICK coffee house.
Rimsky's has been a favorite spot of mine for more than 15 years. Usually I try to make it down there on Tuesday evenings, when world-class classical guitarist Jeff Ashton is playing (if you close your eyes, it's easy to imagine Segovia himself playing there-- Jeff is that good).
The service has always been friendly (and sometimes with a dash of wit), in my experience. We who are regulars to Rimsky's know that, when you first come in, it's crucial that you TAKE A MENU and sit down at a clean table when one becomes available. A long time ago I made the mistake of sitting down (without a menu, since I knew what I wanted) to a table which hadn't yet been cleared from the previous diners, and I was ignored until I got the waiter's attention. He then told me that he thought I had already finished eating! Lesson learned.
The sundaes are elaborate... sometimes they go a little overboard on how much they give you, but that's nothing to complain about! I really love it when they have cobblers-- apple or peach or berry... the dessert chef does an excellent job on those. When there is no cobbler, my favorite standby is the chocolate "poe de creme" (the first word actually ends with a "t", but citysearch tells me that word is "inappropriate"). Deee-licious! The espresso reminds me of Europe-- it's done just right, unlike that over-roasted swill you'd find at a national chain coffee shop.
The atmosphere at Rimsky is quirky and friendly. One thing I might suggest is possibly hiring a seating host/hostess... because sometimes -- especially on busy nights -- the front lobby can be a little chaotic. But all in all, I would highly recommend this Portland original.
worst coffeehouse ever. zero service.. don't waste your time hoping this place will be any good. the atmosphere was quite charming; nothing else was. we sat at a table near the piano for 30 minutes and no wait staff came over and talked to us at all. i did see two waitresses and as one took an order she looked over at us and smiled. the other one just ignored us completely. it is a rather small space and i just don't understand how this place keeps business when it ignores customers. finally, nobody was coming out from the kitchen for a good 15 minutes and we just decided to leave. as we did, another patron got up and went and knocked on the kitchen door for service. ridiculous.
Poor service and bad food. I think this is one of the most run down coffee shops in Portland, at one time this was a great place but you can tell no money has been invested back into the place. It is dirty, the service is slow and the food is over priced and lacks the quility for this type of market. The food is nothing more special then buying some ice cream at Fred Meyers and some frozen berries and putting it on top. The menu is limited and the coffee is nothing special. The service is the worse thing about Rimsky's . ... If you have a few hours to waste, don't mind paying high prices , and love to be treated like dirty by the employee's go to Rimksy's.
Bad Service, dirty coffee shop. I went once Rimsky's and that was enough for me. The service was really bad. I waited for 30 minutes only to finally sat down to find overpriced, average food and boring drinks. The coffee was old, and the "mocha fudge cake" was bland, a small serving, and over rated by the arrogant waitress. Even though the food was average, and the coffee needed to be replaced by a fresh cup, the waitress was the one single thing I would rate as horrible. She was rude, didn't give me honest answers to my questions, and seemed to be put on by someone asking about the items on the menu. I could tell she could care less about me. After she dropped off my desert ( only took her 10 minutes to get it and the coffee to me), I never saw her again till she brought out my ticket. She never checked to see if I was satisfied with the service, nor did she offer to refill / replace my coffee. She took the most time drawing a cat on my ticket. that was the best part of my whole Rimksy's experience. If she spent as much time tending to her customers and less time drawing cats on ticket stubs, maybe she would get a better tip and more returning customers.
Excellent food, fun staff, and lovely entertainment.
I went to Rimsky -Korsakoffee House with a few friends for the first time just this past night. And it was a wonderful experience. The coffee was good, I had a delicious soy milk mocha, with hazelnut flavoring added in. And to go with it I had a sundae with chocolate syrup, and the best brownie I've ever had. I tried a bite or two of pretty much everything else my firends got, and it was all just as good. The honey lavender lemonade stood out especially so.
The staff was friendly, attentive (and it was busy, too. I'm not sure what some of those other reviewers are on about... I didn't feel neglected at all...), and even fun. The whole place is full of personality and interest. It's decorated in the most delightful ways, and there's just so much to take in. (Be ready for a surprise the moment you walk into the bathroom!) Furthermore, the pianist who was performing that night made the overall atmosphere just wonderful. I had a great time, and plan on going back soon. If you're looking for a late night coffee and/or dessert place, you can't do much better than this. I don't have any complaints.
Tasty food, fun atmosphere. But the used syringe in the bathroom was kind of a turn off..
We went to Rimsky's pretty late in the evening, and it was still quite packed. We ended up sitting at the large table in the back next to the kitchen. Prior to taking our seats, a number of us had to use the toilet -- the restroom decoration is quite amusing! However, upon exiting the restroom, my husband noticed a used syringe with a needle carelessly tossed in the display -- it was quite evident that the syringe was used for recreational, rather than medicinal, purposes. He didn't want someone to be hurt by it, so he picked it up with paper towel and hunted down an employee who could dispose of it. They didn't seem to give a toss about it. I would expect that an employee would at least try to smooth over such an incident, but they simply took the syringe without a word and walked away.
Aside from that, the desserts and drinks were delicious (and decently priced), and the atmosphere was fun (live music, not too noisy), the wait staff was friendly enough (though service was a bit slow), and the house itself is quirky (there's little surprises all over the place). Had I not been rather turned off by the syringe in the restroom and the employee's response, or lack thereof, I would have rated my experience at Rimsky's above average. (I also wouldn't give high marks in overall cleanliness...there's a sort of "dirty" feel to the place.)
I'm going there again over Labor Day weekend with a friend visiting from out of town, so we'll see how things go in Round Two.
Customers waiting. We arrived at 7:20 on a Friday in mid-August and were the first customers of the evening. We seated ourselves by an open window and enjoyed the breeze, and enjoyed the breeze, and enjoyed the breeze. After almost 10 minutes, a pleasant server broke away from the group of employees cloistered in the kitchen. Without a minute by minute description, let's just say service was so slow that a group of three women came in, seated themselves, waited a few minutes and left without any staff approaching them. A foursome nearly did the same. But, we knocked on the kitchen door to hand them our payment -- and let them know they had other customers. Maybe early evening service is slow because the staff is pacing themselves for the later night crowds.
rude manager left us with a bad first impression.
My wife and I had literally just moved to Portland, and this place was on my short list of places to go that were close to our new home. We needed a late-night coffee stop, so we could get on the internet with our laptops, and organize the next day in our new city. In retrospect, we could have chosen better, I'm afraid. The atmosphere was already quite lively when we arrived, and we were lucky to find a table in a back corner of the room next to the kitchen. We had a charming waitress who was friendly and courteous, and considering how busy the place was, we can't really complain about the occasional waits between visits to our table.
I worked in plenty of food industry jobs during my college years, so I understand how that economy works, and I ordered additional drinks and desert items every time our waitress returned, so she wouldn't feel like we were wasting her time. During our stay, a couple of tables next to us turned over once, so I assume that's why the waitress suddenly showed up with our check already added up - a bit ill-timed, as I had been waiting for her to return so I could order more drinks. A minute later, a harried woman - who I assume was a manager - came over and asked us to pay our check and vacate our table, stating that we had been there all night since they opened the doors, and were just "taking up space", and that other paying customers might need the table. Not only was she mistaken about some of her assertions, but as far as customer service goes, it was just plain rude.
To the person who posted a review suggesting that people ignore all the negative reviews - this was something that actually happened, and whether it is typical of the service or not, it is nonetheless inexcusable and disrespectful. This review is not a knee-jerk response - far from it, I waited weeks before posting it, when we had some time to review businesses we've been in. No issues with food or ambiance, but we were offended, and will not likely return.
Great For Anyone. I discovered Rimsky's just in the fall this past year, and I have been back over there quite a bit. I live in the burbs, and whenever I'm up in Portland, I check this place out. The atmosphere is fun, crazy, and energetic. There isn't any time you'll be displeased with the great amount of desserts they have to offer. The Fool is by far the best item on the menu, but get there quick because they run out of them quick!
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