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, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Specials

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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

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.2

ambience

4.3

value

3.9

noise

Moderate

90% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (20)
Fit for Foodies (16)
Cozy (16)
See All
Fireplace (16)
Creative Cuisine (15)
Special Occasion (14)
Bar Seating (13)
Good for Anniversaries (13)
Romantic (13)
Great for Brunch (13)
Happy Hour (11)
Good for a Date (11)
Comfort Food (11)
Sunday Lunch (11)
Casual (11)
Local Ingredients (9)
Great for Lunch (8)
Good for Birthdays (7)
Modern Decor (7)
Quiet Conversation (7)
Gluten Free Options (6)
Healthy (6)
Authentic (6)
Pre/post Theatre (6)
Handcrafted Cocktails (5)
Seasonal (5)
Business Meals (5)
People Watching (4)
Fun (4)
Notable Wine List (4)
Good for Groups (3)
Family Style (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Disabled Access (3)
Organic (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Worth the Drive (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Great for Outdoor Dining (2)
Historic (2)
Tasting Menu (1)
Tapas (1)
Vegan (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Scenic View (1)
Private Room (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Open Kitchen (1)
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293 reviews
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Excellent food, service, atmosphere and ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined 3 days ago

Excellent food, service, atmosphere and gluten free options.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

We ordered a tart as a starter, which wa ...

 
 (Memphis)·Dined 4 days ago

We ordered a tart as a starter, which was amazing. Instead of entrees, I had the best salad and my date had the macaroni and cheese small plate. Both dishes were also very well done and impressive. I would definitely return.

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food5
ambience5
service4

Our experience on Valentine's Day was no ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 15, 2017

Our experience on Valentine's Day was not so good.

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food2
ambience4
service2
value2

High price for the quality So-so ambianc ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 15, 2017

High price for the quality

So-so ambiance

Mixed orders with neighboring table

Small entrée

Forgot salads

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food3
ambience2
service3
value1

excellent for valentines day. Great mea ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 15, 2017

excellent for valentines day. Great meal and an outstanding staff.

We had fun!!

Tags: Special Occasion, Open Kitchen, People Watching
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Had a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 15, 2017

Had a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. The food was delicious.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

A big disappoint for a Valentine's meal ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on February 15, 2017

A big disappoint for a Valentine's meal and first time visit. Dining room is very, very small. Tables are maybe 6-inches apart. Wait staff had hard time maneuvering food and drink around customers because we were so packed together. Wine was highlight of dinner. Food was extremely overpriced for the portion and quality. Will not go back and will recommend to stay away.

Tags: Bar Seating
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food2
ambience1
service4
value2

We absolutely love Cafe' Nell - incredib ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 9, 2017

We absolutely love Cafe' Nell - incredible personalities, fun staff - and Vanessa is always so gracious. Cheers!

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy, Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Based on reviews I decided to give this ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 9, 2017

Based on reviews I decided to give this a try. I wasn't disappointed. The service was quick and friendly, food delicious. I went with the grilled avocado stuffed with shrimp (yum!) and the chicken paillard in the white white sauce which was so good I will try to make it at home. My friend shared the endive salad and had the steak frites with béarnaise sauce and the pork chop not on the open table menu. I had a bite of each and they were all very good. We had a lecture that started at 7:30. Our reservations were for 6 pm about 10 minutes away and with a relaxing unrushed dinner we were able to make it in the nick of time. I would probably skip a dessert if you have somewhere to be. It was very small and, despite being tasty, not worth $9.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Fireplace, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Cozy, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

First I was so excited to see parking in ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on February 7, 2017

First I was so excited to see parking in the rear! Big plus!! There's a very warm and welcoming feeling when you walk in. The staff and manager were very accommodating I'll be back!

Tags: Family Style, Happy Hour, Quiet Conversation, Healthy, Great for Lunch, Sunday Lunch, Business Meals, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

On a very quiet Monday we were the only ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on February 7, 2017

On a very quiet Monday we were the only ones in the dining room. The bar was doing well and we could hear the group there. A really great fireplace made the room warm and cozy. Our server, Brian was very good and spent a lot of time with us. He is an interesting person and made up for the quiet room. The food was very good and we enjoyed the wine from the list. Desserts were disappointing and we mentioned this to the server. We will return, however.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Cafe Nell was delightful! The food was ...

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Cafe Nell was delightful! The food was fresh and flavorful. The server was helpful and friendly. The fireplace created a warm and welcoming environment. A true neighborhood gem!

Tags: Disabled Access, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Paleo Friendly, Fireplace, Seasonal
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We celebrated our 5 year anniversary and ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 5, 2017

We celebrated our 5 year anniversary and this was a perfect pick. Cozy, inviting, nice wait staff leads to open preference seating. The spacing of appitizers entree and desert made our meal more of a journey. Great memories!

Tags: People Watching, Authentic, Comfort Food, Good for Birthdays, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Historic, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Fireplace, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This was a true fine, it was so cozy, fi ...

vip
 (Seattle)·Dined on February 4, 2017

This was a true fine, it was so cozy, fireplace going.

Drinks incredible. The starter avocado was awesome.

We then had great meals.

Our server was attention to every detail. We will go back.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Booked this because it was hard to get a ...

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on February 4, 2017

Booked this because it was hard to get a table for 10 on a Friday night. Overall, it worked out nicely because we had a nice big table, and we didn't feel like we were being disruptive by being a little loud.

The oysters were very nice, delicious mignonette. The root vegetable appetizer was perplexing. Served cold, textures ranged from woody to mealy. The promised "fig dressing" was nowhere to be found or tasted. Super weird and not good.

I ordered steak frites. The steak was served lukewarm, and while the color was pretty close to medium rare it was tough like an overcooked piece of meat. No tasty crust, no juicy center.

However, the frites were OUT of this world. Honestly, the fries saved the meal for me. Delicious.

Overall, a successful big group dinner but not somewhere I would return or recommend.

Tags: Romantic, Bar Seating
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food2
ambience4
service4
value3

Great quiet atmosphere. Very interesting ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 1, 2017

Great quiet atmosphere. Very interesting menu that I would like to come back and try more items. The avacado stuffed with bay shrimp was outstanding!

Tags: Good for a Date, Fireplace, Fit for Foodies, Healthy, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Very lovely meal, great service. Thank y ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on January 30, 2017

Very lovely meal, great service. Thank you.

I will return to this very relaxing place.

Tags: Afternoon Coffee, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Healthy, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Fireplace, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Gluten Free Options, Great for Brunch, Good for Birthdays, Scenic View, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Historic, Notable Wine List, Local Ingredients, Good Vegetarian Options, Romantic, Organic, Comfort Food, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Would never go back. Horrible service fr ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on January 29, 2017

Would never go back. Horrible service from lazy waitstaff. Food overpriced.

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food4
ambience1
service1
value2

Have eaten at Cafe Nell multiple times f ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on January 29, 2017

Have eaten at Cafe Nell multiple times for brunch, but this was first time for dinner. Place was lively and festive on a saturday night which was great to see. Bar staff was fun and knowledgeable. They have a great selection of sparkling wine by the glass which was quite notable.

Food was good, but not particularly notable except for the burger which was very well done. Had oysters at $4 per oyster which were a horrible value since some were exceedingly small. All dishes were attractively presented.

Service was scattered and disorganized, though friendly. Seemed like they were not accustomed to being busy.

All that being said, we'll go back....more good stuff than bad stuff and a nice neighborhood location.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Picket Cafe Nell from other reviews and ...

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Picket Cafe Nell from other reviews and it did not disappoint. Had a great date night there, food was really good and the ambiance was lively. A bit outside of the downtown Portland scene so clearly a great neighborhood gem. Will definitively come back.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

Service and cuisine is excellent! Our s ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on January 27, 2017

Service and cuisine is excellent! Our s Cind visit there and we will return

Tags: Fireplace, Creative Cuisine, Disabled Access, Organic, Quiet Conversation, Tapas, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Enjoyable restaurant, with good service, ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on January 23, 2017

Enjoyable restaurant, with good service, good food, and a pleasant ambience.

Our only quibble was that, like most restaurants, they go to the trouble of building a website

then overlook keeping its menus up to date. Not for the first time, we went to a restaurant

with our mouth all set for a particular dish, only to discover that it was no longer on the

menu, even though th website indicated that it was. Sadly, this failure to keep one's

website information as current as possible is not confined to the restaurant trade :-)

Brewster

Tags: Comfort Food, Business Meals
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Cafe Nell embodies true service that has ...

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Cafe Nell embodies true service that has been lost in the era of fast casual, tech-saavy restaurants. Every person we encountered from the moment we stepped in was lovely. In fact, they even called to follow-up on service. You just don't see people working together to make great things happen like this in the service industry anymore. Brilliant.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The ambiance was decent but the noise le ...

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 15, 2017

The ambiance was decent but the noise level was too intense to actually allow a conversation with my guest with out shouting. The eggs were cold when they were served. The service was acceptable.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value3

Fantastic ambiance and friendly staff. g ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on January 6, 2017

Fantastic ambiance and friendly staff. good food. My lamb was a bit chewy tho and the service slow.

Tags: Romantic, Modern Decor, Late-night Find
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food3
ambience4
service2
value2

Lunches are tasty and pleasant. Dinners ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on January 3, 2017

Lunches are tasty and pleasant. Dinners are good food but noisy

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Disabled Access, Happy Hour, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

We went for New Years Eve dinner after h ...

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on January 1, 2017

We went for New Years Eve dinner after having a wonderful experience at brunch a couple of weeks ago. This evening fell very short of our first experience unfortunately. Given the revelry of many patrons, I can't fault the restaurant for the noise level, but we could barely have a conversation between the four of us for most of the evening. We ordered and the first course arrived quickly however the waitress came back to inform us that they had run out of duck (7:30pm) so we had to rethink our options. After a while 3 of the 4 main courses were brought to the table and she said she would be right back with the fourth. However after waiting for almost 10 minutes, she appeared with the last entree and it had been an uncomfortable wait while everyone sat looking at their food getting cold. The final dish was scallops and there were only 4 on a plate with a little slaw under it and we were told that the chef had added the 4th due to the wait. It was very underwhelming for a $35 entree, even with the extra scallop. The Osso bucco was delicious, and the one duck looked a bit over cooked, but I didn't try any of it. The desert was a plate of 3 Crete brûlée of different flavors and it was mediocre at best.

That said, I will go back another time when it isn't a special occasion since the staff were great and we had such a nice experience the first time.

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food2
ambience4
service3
value3

Nice night. I believe 12/31 may have bee ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Nice night. I believe 12/31 may have been the first night of a new menu so we couldn't ask our waitperson for recommendations.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

As always - fantastic! Nathan is the bes ...

vip
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on December 31, 2016

As always - fantastic! Nathan is the best!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Always love eating at Cafe Nell. It's a ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Always love eating at Cafe Nell. It's a cute cafe/bar in the Northwest neighborhood of Portland (Alphabet District) and has beautiful decor and a cozy, romantic feel. A must try!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Bar Seating, Casual, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Lunch, Authentic, Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Modern Decor
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great food, service, and atmosphere!

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Great food, service, and atmosphere!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Third time here and I plan to keep going ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Third time here and I plan to keep going back. The ambiance was special due to holiday decorating and set the stage for great service and food. Pork chop and Salmon were delicious and delivered to our table nice and hot. Great Pinot by the glass paired well with both entrees.

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food5
ambience5
service5

I was pleasently surprised on how good ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 25, 2016

I was pleasently surprised on how good the food was. I will definitely be back!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch, Family Style, Gluten Free Options, Cozy, Seasonal
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food5
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service5
value4

We had a very pleasant Christmas Eve din ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on December 25, 2016

We had a very pleasant Christmas Eve dinner at Cafe Nell. We were seated at a table near the bar by the window. Despite being near the bar, it was quiet enough that we could hold a conversation at normal voice levels. Service was good and reasonably attentive, given that it was a holiday seating. We cannot comment on the regular menu, as the choices were from a special holiday menu. Both our entrées were excellent, with good presentation. This was our first time at Nell's and we would definitely consider returning.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Romantic, Special Occasion, Bar Seating, Happy Hour, Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

We had a very unfortunate birthday brunc ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 23, 2016

We had a very unfortunate birthday brunch at this restaurant. It took over an hour to get our drinks after sitting down. There was no apology for the delay even though it took us 3 times to the bar to ask for service. After 45 minutes only 2 out of the 8 of us even had water. It was very disappointing as I was taking new friends to the restaurant and they will not plan to return. I've been to CN many times without anything but good service, I had even noted on the open table reservation that it was for a special birthday event, nothing from the staff was special. I cannot make a recommendation based upon our experience on 12/23, but still love the restaurant and hope for better experiences in the future.

Tags: Casual, Cozy
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food4
ambience4
service1
value2

A varied menu, and the food was great. ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 23, 2016

A varied menu, and the food was great. The service was very slow, but I can't blame our server on that. It appeared she was the only server in the room.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service2
value4

been several times to cafe nell. always ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 18, 2016

been several times to cafe nell. always consistent quality and service. made reservations for nine people and were seated the moment we walked in the door.

Tags: Comfort Food, Authentic, Sunday Lunch, Hot Spot, Vegan, Organic, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Lovely, lovely restaurant with beautiful ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 13, 2016

Lovely, lovely restaurant with beautiful decor and fantastic food. Bloody Mary's to die for.

Tags: Modern Decor, Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Brunch, Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Both our meals were excellent and our wa ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on December 11, 2016

Both our meals were excellent and our waiter Byron was the best! Everyone was friendly - a very enjoyable evening.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Great food Great service We were made to ...

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 7, 2016

Great food

Great service

We were made to feel very special by the owner

Highly recommend this place

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food5
ambience4
service5
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