About Cafe Nell

1987 NW Kearney St
Portland, OR 97209
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Located in the heart of Northwest Portland, Café Nell serves French inspired American classics simply prepared from Northwest ingredients. Entering its fifth year, Café Nell has become known for lively brunches featuring signature cocktails which never fail to impress. A full bar, friendly atmosphere, rotating taps, and a glowing fireplace create a welcoming environment. During summer, our patio seating is perfect for happy hour, or a candle-lit dinner on a warm Portland evening.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
American, French, Bistro

Hours of Operation:
11 am - 10 pm Monday - Friday
9 am - 10 pm Saturday
9 am - 8 pm Sunday

Cross Street:
NW 20th Ave

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa

Phone Number:
(503) 295-6487

Website:
http://cafenell.com/

Parking Details:
Complimentary parking available in private parking lot. Street parking also available.

Public Transit:
Two block walk from StreetCar at 18th & Lovejoy.

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Weekend Brunch, Wine

Promotions

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Details
Sun 9:00AM - 9:30AM 2:00PM - 2:00PM 2:15PM - 3:00PM 5:00PM - 6:00PM 7:00PM - 8:00PM

Mon - Thu 11:00AM - 11:45AM 5:00PM - 6:00PM 8:30PM - 10:00PM

Fri 5:00PM - 6:00PM 8:30PM - 10:00PM

Sat 9:00AM - 9:45AM 2:00PM - 2:00PM 2:15PM - 3:00PM 5:00PM - 6:00PM 8:30PM - 10:00PM

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Cafe Nell Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.2

service

4.2

ambience

4.2

value

4.0

noise

Moderate

88% would recommend it to a friend

neighborhood gem (28)
great for brunch (19)
fit for foodies (17)
See All
great for lunch (15)
romantic (12)
special occasion (12)
great for outdoor dining (9)
good for groups (7)
hot spot (4)
notable wine list (3)
vibrant bar scene (3)
kid-friendly (3)
scenic view (2)
late-night find (1)
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199 reviews
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Excellent Food but few people to serve, ...

vip
 (Miami)
·Dined 2 days ago

Excellent Food but few people to serve, which was a little bit disappointing in that sense. Service was not as good as the food!

Tags: great for brunch
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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Service was slower than average. We orde ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined 4 days ago

Service was slower than average. We ordered medium rare steak but got something that was almost well done. Avocado and shrimp of the bruschetta was good, but bruschetta was very chewy. Clam linguini was good.

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food3
ambience3
service2

Cafe Nell is located in a bustling, arts ...

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on July 17, 2016

Cafe Nell is located in a bustling, artsy area of Portland. The building itself, looks as though it could have been an old bakery in the past with a deep red brick exterior, and then classic French Bistro inside. The open windows and the street seating make it very inviting and homey. We were greeted immediately upon entering by the bartender, who had to go all the way around, into the restaurant to get to the host stand. There did not seem to be a host/hostess. We were seated immediately and our drink orders were taken. Enjoyed a great Manhattan made with a locally made whiskey, ( they feature a lot of locally distilled liquors, beers and wine. Of the items we ordered, the grilled wedge salad was amazing, with a half head of romaine, ever so lightly charred and topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes, house smoked bacon and a homemade blue cheese dressing. The Burger was also a big hit at the table, and the star of the evening was the Halibut Sausage, made from halibut collar meat and herbs, charred on the grill and served atop a summer corn pudding with blistered green beans and baby sweet pea greens. The service was adequate, but for as slow as it was, it could have been a bit more attentive. I would definitely recommend this quaint little cafe.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

We love Café Nell. I've never had a bit ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

We love Café Nell. I've never had a bite there that wasn't delicious or a second of service that wasn't excellent. It was perfect weather for eating outdoors this time, and we got in some great dog and people watching. However, we love it inside, too--lovely atmosphere. We'll be back soon and often.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I hosted my birthday brunch here. It was ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on July 10, 2016

I hosted my birthday brunch here. It was the first time that most of us have eaten there. Overall it was good. I think that the prices were a tad high for what we got. Our waitress did a good job keeping up with the group demands and no mistakes were made. :)

Tags: great for brunch, good for groups
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

I have enjoyed Cafe Nell very much durin ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on July 5, 2016

I have enjoyed Cafe Nell very much during the past several months when I've had appointments in that neighborhood.

Tags: great for lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I have eaten at Café Nell several times ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on June 28, 2016

I have eaten at Café Nell several times in the past month – always for lunch – and I keep wanting to return. I recommend the café for its food, its atmosphere, and its friendly and helpful staff.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Always a great meal--this restaurant is ...

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on June 26, 2016

Always a great meal--this restaurant is truly a great destination for great service, fine food, and attractive ambiance.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The food was fine. However they did not ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on June 18, 2016

The food was fine. However they did not have our reservation when we arrived. Fortunately, they were still able to seat us.

Tags: romantic
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

The food here is off the charts. The atm ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on June 16, 2016

The food here is off the charts. The atmosphere is beyond charming and the staff members are quickly becoming my friends. One of my faves.

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food5
ambience5
service5

This was my fourth visit and my fourth t ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on June 9, 2016

This was my fourth visit and my fourth time to experience the pleasures offered at this neighborhood eatery that serves fine food in an unpretentious atmosphere. I'll be back.

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food5
ambience4
service5

Consistently delicious!

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on June 5, 2016

We had a friend's gathering for a party of 8 last Sunday (6/5/16) at Café Nell and everything was great! I love this local spot as they always have friendly service and the food is delicious! They are also very accommodating with allowing separate checks for larger parties which is almost unheard of in this industry. I have been to Café Nell many times and it is consistently awesome! The other great thing about Café Nell is that you don't have to wait two hours for brunch. It is truly a gem!

Tags: great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Nice, but...

 
 (Chicago)
·Dined on June 2, 2016

The server was very nice and accommodating, especially when we found out we needed to be outside for the HH. Some of the HH plates were disappointing, specifically the tomato and onion flatbread, but the cheese plate was laughable. One chunk of cheese no bigger than an inch by inch. Otherwise, I would try again and sit at the bar.

Tags: neighborhood gem
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

Pretty good, a bit spendy

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 30, 2016

Pretty good, a bit spendy

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food4
ambience4
service3

Pleasant room; uneven food

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 30, 2016

I should say first that the evening we were there Cafe Nell was having personnel problems due to a no show. The stress showed though the host, waitress, bartender person was a gamer and did her very best. Appetizer salads were imaginative and delicious. However, both entrees missed and not by a little bit. Confusing combinations prevailed and just didn't work. Try lamb ragout over a heavily creamed pasta; it just didn't work. We'd be inclined to try again as there is imagination here but it's hard to recommend to a friend without more consistency.

Tags: neighborhood gem
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

Poor menu

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on May 13, 2016

No good selection from the menu early in the evening and they were not even aware that the featured items on the menu were nit available. The owner was not a bit disturbed by this info.

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food1
ambience2
service1
value2

Took my mom here for Mother's Day brunch ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 8, 2016

Took my mom here for Mother's Day brunch. My mom raved about her dish and I thought my dish (classic eggs Benedict) was excellent, too. It's a little pricey but was worth it for a special occasion. I plan to come back and try the lunch menu.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Cafe Nells

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 8, 2016

Brunch took forever to get. Server says it was because of a large party. Never saw one. Recommend apple tart , not the biscuits and gravy. Very disappointed with the service. I will try again but not excited as I was before. Will not take friends until I feel comfortable that it will be a great experience.

Tags: great for outdoor dining
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food3
ambience3
service1
value3

Bloody Nell's are delicious!

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 8, 2016

Bloody Nell's are delicious!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This is a neighborhood gem.

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on May 1, 2016

Great food and presentation. Cozy ambiance. Good service. The turkey burger is to die for! Great find!

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

Fantastic Find

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on April 24, 2016

We relied on Open Table to make a recommendation for a same-day Sunday brunch with family from out of town. Based on the reviews we selected Café Nell and could not have been happier. Everything was fantastic; setting, service, food. We will be back for sure!

Tags: great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Great service and food

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on April 23, 2016

A friend and I went to brunch at Cafe Nell. Eggs Benedict is a specialty, with lots of different variations. The sweet rolls the party at the next table had looked wonderful as well. The wait staff recommended a nice rose and were very gracious about turning my friend's Bloody Mary into a vegetarian drink, rather than one spiked with chorizo and bacon.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

Charming Neighborhood Restaurant; Noisy Bar Scene

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on April 17, 2016

Cafe Nell would be a favorite spot, as the service is very good and so is the food. BUT an early Saturday evening supper (5:00)was marred by shouting patrons in the bar -- we could hear everything these folks 'said' but couldn't hear each other, even though we were in the back corner of the dining area.

I would recommend going to Cafe Nell about 1/2 hour after Happy Hour is over. The noise level gets much more acceptable, and everyone seems less stressed.

Tags: neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

Would NOT recoomend at all

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on April 16, 2016

I will save you the long story and just say this:

1. This place had fine food, good, but nothing worth dreaming of or putting up with poor service.

2. Worst service we have had in past 5 years anywhere. It took 10 min to get a menu and 27 minutes (yes we timed it all) for a drink.

3. A special occasion that was left very unspecial except the company we kept.

4. The food that we did order took forever.

5. A drink spilled and it took 25 minutes to replace it that we got up and went and got it from the bar.

6. We were a casual group of women who were out for a Birthday and we are not demanding or divas. We like to laugh and have great food and wine. We got one of those three that night.

7. We felt invisible.

8. The restaurant acoustics are VERY loud too (but some peolple like that, so just FYI if you don't).

I have lived here my whole life, there are a ton of great restaurants and even ok restaurants with amazing service...this place has neither.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food4
ambience3
service2
value3

The food was delicious!

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on April 10, 2016

The food was delicious!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Not on par with the Portland scene

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on April 3, 2016

The food was totally adequate. Nothing wrong with it except that it did not wow us on any bite. In Portland if I pay $25 per person (without cocktails) for brunch, I am used to being wowed. Loved the dining area and decor, nice large windows that opened onto a sunny day; that was sweet. . The server was very attentive--no complaint there. I'm a spoiled foodie though, and this food was flawlessly ordinary.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value1

TERRIFIC

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on March 27, 2016

As always, Vanessa & her staff were terrific...love spending holidays here with friends & family.

Tags: great for brunch, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Enjoyed Portland March Dining menu

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on March 24, 2016

A fun menu with friendly service. Will return soon to try happy hour in the bar.

Tags: neighborhood gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Good food and Service - but loud

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on March 19, 2016

This is one of our back up brunch spots. The only reason it's not a go-to brunch spot is that between the music being turned up too loud and the result of a lot of people *really* enjoying their bloody mary's, it gets pretty loud. But service is always lovely and food reliably good.

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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

Poor service ruined meal

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on March 12, 2016

We went to Cafe Nell on Friday for my daughter's 18th birthday. I made an 8:30 reservation and told the person I spoke to that it was a special occasion. When we got there the place was dead - 4 people in the dining room, 3 in the bar. Our waiter was so focused on getting out the door that he never checked on us (despite a 30 minute wait from ordering to food delivery) never checked if we wanted another glass of wine, I had to fill up our water pitcher myself because he disappeared for 15 minutes. We asked about Portland Dining Month menu, which he told us about, then came back to say they were sold out and did not offer another option. When the food was served, mine was lukewarm-it had probably been sitting for 10 minutes waiting for him to pick up. This place is way too expensive to have that poor of service. Super disappointing.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighbourhood gem
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food3
ambience4
service1
value2

I was born in 1987 and share a last name ...

 
 (Miami)
·Dined on March 6, 2016

I was born in 1987 and share a last name with this cafe's street. Also, I visited on my birthday, so when I arrived at 1987 Kearney St., I was already set to like the place. The first menu which caught my eye consisted of cocktails. Hemingway's Margarita is a staple at my house, and it is the first item listed (and it's delicious). The 24-hour braised lamb Benedict was phenomenal, although I would be hard-pressed to name a favorite dish. Everything was exceptional. I visited with two vegans and a fellow (selective) meat eater, and we all felt comfortable with the amount if choices. I highly recommend Nell's Cafe.

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food5
ambience4
service5

Sunday Brunch Champ

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on March 6, 2016

A great little neighborhood find with excellent food and attentive service that we have never been disappointed with.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

Love this place so much. Everything from ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on March 5, 2016

Love this place so much. Everything from the food to drinks is always wonderful.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Fabulous Food

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on February 26, 2016

The food was fantastic! We enjoyed the beef tartar, the steak, the salmon and pork shank. When I'm in Portland, I will be back!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Lovely Lunch Spot

vip
 (Palm Springs)
·Dined on February 23, 2016

Cafe Nell was a perfect spot to take my friend for a special birthday lunch. And the half price bottle of wine on Tuesday was an added bonus!

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Dissapointed

 
 (Phoenix)
·Dined on February 21, 2016

Third time there. First time I was intrigued and overall experience was really good. Second time service was lacking but food still good. Third time service lacking again. Unattentive and not very friendly. Beef belly app was tasty, Spicy Linguine with clams was just not that great. I brought a group of 4 and with so many choices I think I'll hit a few other places before I try Nell again. Too bad as it's pretty close to home and was hoping this would be a "go to" place. Maybe we're just not cozy enough with the staff or management as it seems there were some regulars around the bar who were having a good time.

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food3
ambience4
service2
value3

Valentine's Day

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on February 15, 2016

My partner and I had Valentine's Day dinner at Cafe Nell, and it was fantastic! Thanks for the delicious food and romantic evening.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

We had reservations here for Valentines ...

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on February 15, 2016

We had reservations here for Valentines Day. After arriving we were seated at a tall table in the bar, next to the door & squished behind the server's register. There was a table in the dining room, but when I asked if we could be seated there, the hostess conferred with the group that had just walked in, asking them which table they wanted. They, of course, opted for the table in the dining room. Not sure why it was their decision? At this point we should have left, but being Valentine's Day we figured everywhere would be booked, so we stayed. They were out of wine glasses so our wine was served in water glasses, which is not a big deal, but in addition, the table was cramped & uncomfortable, the service was minimal at best and the food was not worth the price. Overall it was a very disappointing experience. We were looking forward to staying a while and having a nice dinner, wine, appetizers, entrees, dessert, but due to the uncomfortable and inhospitable situation we left as soon as we could get the check from our waiter who was basically ignoring us the whole time... we were sadly let down. There are plenty of great restaurants in Portland with much better food, service & atmosphere. Don't waste your time or money here.

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food1
ambience1
service1

Always a delightful meal!

 
 (Portland)
·Dined on February 15, 2016

We love French cuisine, and Cafe Nell looks, feels and tastes like some our favorite spots in France. The food is always delicious. Indoor and outdoor seating is authentic and pleasant. One BIG distinction - there is parking! The fire in the dining room is cozy during chilly evenings. A seat at the bar is fun if we pop in and the dining room is full. The service is superb every time.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We took our out of town guests there. Th ...

vip
 (Portland)
·Dined on February 14, 2016

We took our out of town guests there. The noise level was so high that we'd to shout to be heard . All our food were disappointing. They were totally bland.it's as if the kitchen just assemble the ingredients without any seasoning, not even a sprinkle of salt or pepper!

Will definitely not be back.

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food1
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