I’m going to ask a question to which there is only one correct answer: What I the best kind of food to go out for? Italian. Obviously.
But, that’s only part of the equation. So many places are able to put together cheese and pasta and make it taste good. But, where do you go if you want really good, as close to authentic as you can get this side of Italy Italian food? That’s a little easier. And, like the first question, Obvious.
DeNicola’s Italian Restaurant.
Sure, there are the purists who will claim it’s not authentic; after all, just because it has an Italian name and serves pasta, this is Portland, Oregon—about as far from Italy as you can get. The décor and ambiance is more rustic than cozy, but that’s just a piece of the puzzle. It’s the food we come for.
DeNicola’s Italian Restaurant opened its doors in 1978. That’s a long time and a lot of experiences—experience which is used to piece together appetizing Neapolitan- and Little Italy–inspired platters engineered from authentic Italian recipes. The chefs of DeNicola’s transform everyday pastas such as linguine by creating “Linguine by the Sea:” Seven sautéed prawns seasoned with garlic, Romano cheese, and lemon pepper.
But, entering the modest A frame on 35th and Powell, that first time, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Sure, the sign outside said “DeNicola’s” and it mentioned Italian Cuisine, but that’s about the extent of what I knew.
Inside, the familiar aroma of melting cheese, fresh pasta, and savory spices greeted me along with a friendly hostess. Whereas most Italian restaurants include table cloths, big band or classical music, DeNicolas had more of an earthy, rustic charm, what with the dark wooden walls, visible A frame rafters, chandeliers, and high backed booths. Yet, despite this earthy feel and confusing ambiance, it was cozy and warm. It felt, well, Portland-y.
But, then the food. Sure, typical Italian flair, but, there is so much creativity that goes into each dish. And, creativity that works. This is what sets DeNicola’s apart. The food is fantastic, albeit, a bit pricey, since everything is served al-carte. But, nonetheless, it’s a great culinary experience. A very Portland, Oregon meets Italian kitchen experience. DeNicola’s has been here for nearly forty years and you can taste the experience. DeNicola’s is a must visit for any Portland resident, or visitor.
DeNicola’s is located at 3520 SE Powell Blvd in Portland, Oregon.