About Cafe Nell
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.
American, French, Bistro
Hours of Operation:
11 am - 10 pm Monday - Friday
9 am - 10 pm Saturday
9 am - 8 pm Sunday
NW 20th Ave
$30 and under
AMEX, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa
Complimentary parking available in private parking lot. Street parking also available.
Two block walk from StreetCar at 18th & Lovejoy.
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
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Cafe Nell Ratings and Reviews
Cafe Nell is located in a bustling, arts ...
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.
We love Café Nell. I've never had a bit ...
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.
I hosted my birthday brunch here. It was ...
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. :)
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!
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.
Pleasant room; uneven food
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.
Took my mom here for Mother's Day brunch ...
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.
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.
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!
Great service and food
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.
Charming Neighborhood Restaurant; Noisy Bar Scene
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.
Would NOT recoomend at all
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.
Not on par with the Portland scene
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.
Good food and Service - but loud
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.
Poor service ruined meal
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.
I was born in 1987 and share a last name ...
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.
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.
We had reservations here for Valentines ...
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.
Always a delightful meal!
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.
We took our out of town guests there. Th ...
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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