The thrill is gone.
La Prima used to be one of our favorite haunts. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. I love to sit there for hours with my husband and sip wine, unwinding from a long work week. We hadn't been in a couple years and missed it. So when my sisters were into this stormy weekend, I wanted to treat them to a special dinner close to home. I knew something was wrong when we walked into the door and were immediately seated during prime hour on a Saturday night. The inside rather was now stark and cold. A bright big screen TV was now in the bar, with the sound blaring and clashing with the music in the dining area. The beautiful art work on the divider, the hanging pans /basket around the kitchen, which made it homey were gone. The owner who seated us was very welcoming and cheery. I asked him if the place had recently changed hands and he said yes, two years ago. He said the food is much better, he guaranteed. Gone was the wonderful baskets of fresh baked focccia bread served with delicious extra virgin oil oil and balsamic vinegar, that they used to greet you with when you first sat down. Also gone was the wonderful wine list. The owner told us they missed they wine delivery, but they had a Chianti, a Cab Blend, and a Chardonnay by the bottle or glass if we liked. I was disappointed as in the past La Prima always had nice selection of wines to chose in glass or bottle.
The one saving grace of our dining experience was the meal itself, It was all very good, albeit much more expensive than I remember (pasta dishes ranged from $15-20). They were all cooked ot perfection & served piping hot. For starters were all tried a different salad. My sister loved the stack mozzarella salad with tomato, eggplant, cucumber, etc. It was odd to see that rather than using the kalamata olives - it was sprinkled with plain ol' canned black olives. These same olives were also used in the Puttanesca sauce. My pasta bolgnese was delcious, rich and with lots of flavor. My sister rave'd abut the Penne ai Gamberi. I would have ordered another bottle of wine, but there was nothing ot keep us there. I won't be going back. It's sad.. because it's nothing that someone with a decorator's touch couldn't fix; to make the surroundings fit for the food, would bring the people back and then maybe the kitchen wouldn't need to skimp on the ingredients.
I'm giving this place a poor review primarily because the pricing on their website is completely misleading. Example: Fettucini w/Chicken -- website menu says...$13.00 - actual price...$19.00 (45% difference in case you were wondering) Oh, and the Sausage Pizza -- website menu says...$13.00 - actual price...$18.00 (38% difference). I chose not to say anything to the staff about this because our hosts picked up the tab and I felt that to bring up the pricing issue in front of them would have just been bad form.
We were also completely shocked when they began turning off lights in the restaurant at 9:20. We were still ordering drinks and we felt like we were being chased out of the joint....on a Friday night!! I've been to bingo games that don't close that early.
Service was not great, about the level you would expect at Denny's. Our server was sweet, but incompetent.
On a good note, the pizza was fantastic (but my wife is not a big pizza fan so we probably won't be going back)
Really delicious food, but don't sit in the bar.
I've thoroughly enjoyed the food when I've come to La Prima. The atmosphere is lovely, the food is wonderful, and I've had delicious meals there.
However, I've sat in the bar twice in a row, and the service has been terrible. I've walked in, been briefly acknowledged, and then the servers have disappeared. I had to stand up, look around for people, and then ASK for a menu. I then had to find someone to take my order. Then, I had to get up yet again to find someone to give my money to.
The few times I've sat in the restaurant portion of the establishment, the service has been fine.
Don't forget about your bar patrons, folks!
Awesome homemade bread.
Friends of ours recommended a restaurant call La Prima, in Beaverton, and we decided to give it a try.
Upon entering we were warmly greeted by several of the staff. Although located in a strip center behind the Fred Meyer. Once inside the atmosphere is warm and inviting. A large bar on one side and a dinning area on the other with booths and tables to choose from.
We opted to go into the dinning room after a cocktail in the bar. . We were then informed by the bartender that it was recently sold and under new ownership. The menu is accommodating with pizzas from a wood burning oven and pasta dishes. The open kitchen lends a feel of a true Italian Trattaria .
We decide on a Cesar salad and a Bistro salad which consisted of warm Northern white beans, shrimp and fresh arugula. It was delightful. The next course for me was penne with bolognaise sauce. An ample portion with a sauce that you could tell took hours to prepare. My friend opted for veal picatta , the veal melted in your mouth and the lemon caper wine sauce was excellent over the angel hair pasta served with this dish.
The wine list mostly Italian, with a few new world selections from Oregon and California. We had a bottle of Sangiovace, which was great with our meal. And get this, they bake their own bread. Olive bread with fennel, I would return just for the bread.
No room for dessert, they had a nice menu and on our next visit we will definitely say room for the tiramisu. The couple behind us had one, and said it is something not to miss. We were fortunate to meet the owner/chef as we were about to leave, and asked how we enjoyed out meal. He told us his ideas for his restaurant, and the fact that he wanted to reconnect to the neighborhood. Although we live in NW Portland we plan on returning to this delightful new find often, we highly recommend it. Don’t fill up on the bread.
Very good food in the suburbs!.
This place is excellent. Food compares to fancy down town/NE italian places. Never had a bad meal here.
The prices are a bit high, but the quality is outstanding. The portions, like other's have complained are small for the price. You would expect to pay $12-15 for pasta (ala carte) this good and the small portion, but it's about $19+.
I will still go back, but only when I have the budget and looking for a light meal.
Amazing flavors can't be beat!
Hi, I'm the wonderful chef and the owner of La Prima. Thank you for your thoughtful critique. However, our menu ranges from $9 to $17. Hope to see you gain soon!
Amazing pasta!. La Prima is wonderful. We couldn't decide where to go (last minute on a Saturday night) and phoned La Prima and surprisingly, they were not too busy to accommodate us. Atmosphere is reminiscent of a non-suburban hip bistro. The wine list is small, but focused (mostly Italian, Spanish with smattering of other regions) and moderately priced. Now on to the food. I ordered the Fettuccine, with chicken and porcini mushrooms, it was to die for! I adore mushrooms, and this dish was earthy, creamy and cooked to perfection. It was in pure harmony with the bottle of barbera wine we ordered. In all honesty, it was one of the best pasta dishes I've had in YEARS (probably since our last trip to Italy). !!! Prices are a bit on the moderate to high side ($14-19 for pasta), but worth the extra because the taste is divine. My husband ordered the sausage risotto. He acclaimed it was amazing, and he is a very hard to please person when it comes to ordering pasta dishes, risotto, etc. The flavors were described as unique and wonderful, all prepared perfectly. I think his only complaint was, "there wasn't enough". From both dishes, we wanted more!! Service was good, friendly and pleasantly relaxed. For some constructive criticism: we would love to see some meat dishes on the menue. When we dined at the Trattoria a long while ago, there were meat dishes and they were great, but since removed. Menu is small, just as the wine list, but there are no 2 dishes alike. Would love to see some Italian meat dishes, but perhaps the owners want to focus on a few one-of-a kind dishes and perfect them. ?? We look forward to coming back. La Prima is a wondeful place and would give any downtown, East or West side Italian restaurant a marathon run for it's money. It's THAT good!
Formerly - Some of Portland's best Italian food (no more).
Sept 2010 update -
We recently ate at La Prima for the first time in a year or so and what a disappointment. It isn't even a shadow of its former self, and appears to be simply getting by purely by being one of the only non-pizza/burger/asian food options in this area.
Of the items that have remained on the menu, better ingredients have been dropped and the quality has plummeted. We got off to a bad start with the greens salad; the candied walnuts were gone, and the blue cheese was awful stuff that probably came pre-crumbled and cheap. The meat options on the menu are clearly down to just those that can be defrosted. I'm not sure whether that is due to low turnover or laziness. We ordered a pizza and pasta, both of which were mediocre at best. Gone were the delicate touch and fresh ingredients. Instead it was heavy and bland at the same time.
The wine list has also gone to pot. The only wines by the glass were terrible "house" dreck, and the carefully selected small Italian producers were completely gone from the list.
As you can see from my old review below, we used to love this place, and I'm very sad to see it having fallen so far. SW Portland and Beaverton really need some decent fine-dining restaurants, but this one doesn't qualify any more.
I've eaten at La Prima many times over the last few years, and it has remained consistent as one of the best restaurants of any type in town. It is disappointing that they have simplified the menu recently and dropped some of the meat dishes (the pork chops were always wonderful), but the food is still just as good.
On my most recent visit, both the braised pork and crab ravioli were excellent, with subtle layering of flavors and respect for the basic ingredients.
The Fred Meyer parking lot strip mall location is a bit odd, but they have done an excellent job of creating a warm and separate ambiance inside. You really forget what is outside the doors and focus on the food and wine. It is worth the trip to Raleigh Hills if you are a Portlander who loves good Italian food, and the prices make it easy to go often.
A true Gem!. I recently found out about this place and I couldn't be happier! It is located in a strip mall next to Fred Meyers and from the outside I was a little weary but I was wrong. The service was prompt and very friendly and the food is delicious. A couple of my favorites.....the lamb chops for a starter they are finger lickin' good as well as the risotto fritters...yum. The pizzas are thin crusted just the way I like! The Pork chop is one of their best items on the menu and they always have a wonderful fish special. I hope you don't waste any more time and get down to La Prima for a wonderful dining experience!
Excellent food, great wine and really nice people that run the place. I can't say enough about this place. I hope they're there for years to come. Because they're in a shopping center, you don't expect them to be a nice romantic place to dine, but it is! My husband have lived nearby for 3 years now and just finally went in a few months ago, but we go back time and time again now. They also have a great happy hour menu and so I meet my girlfriends for drinks and happy hour often too now. It's just not expected, a great little restaurant, the type you find all over Portland, located in Beaverton!! When we've actually gone out in Beaverton before we usually stick with Hall Street or McCormicks, nothing else is good enough. It's great to see this happen. Here's to many good nights at La Prima, either with the one you love or all your friends!
Amazing food, great place..
Love it!!!! The food is great, loved the chicken caesar salad. The servers were friendly and prompt. I'd definitely recommend La Prima to everyone I know.
For everyone who has bad things to say about service.... in certain cases, you may very well be right, however, if you're as rude as you're coming across in your reviews, it's no wonder you get crappy service. (Bet it happens in more places than one, right?)
As a long time server, if you treat your servers badly, don't expect to be treated well in return. Look around you, and take into account how busy your server is before you condemn them for being slow. There's a very good chance you aren't the only table they have. Servers are human, to the person who was overcharged... why didn't you look at your bill when you paid it?
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