Mama Mia Trattoria is an iconic Portland restaurant that almost every local has eaten at. Mama Mia's dishes out large portions of chicken, veal, and eggplant parmesan, handmade ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, gnocchi and numerous other pastas, pizzas, chicken and seafood dishes, each made from scratch. Mama Mia's is decorated exquisetly and the atmosphere is always fun and lively. They have some of the best waiters in Portland. It's a great place to dine with kids. They also have breakfast and brunch on the weekends where you can delight in a frittata or other specialties. Mama Mia's Trattoria offers an amazing happy hour in their lounge Monday through Saturday 4 PM to 7 PM & Sunday 4 PM – 10 PM.
Recommended for Italian because: Mama Mia's Trattoria is a locals favorite, because the of the excellent food and service.
Meagan's expert tip: Be sure to try the penne pasta with Grandma Mary's Sunday gravy.
Intimate, unpretentious and eminently popular, this Italian eatery plies diners with authentic cuisine. The food, although not elaborate, is very well prepared and has a strong tendency toward down-home cooking, Italian-style. In short, good organic ingredients produce good entrees. Fresh pastas are adorned with luscious sauces and studded with olives, Italian sausage, shrimp and the like. Roast chicken indicates the kitchen's skill, as do risotto, veal, grilled fish, and (one of the restaurant's best dishes) pasta topped with beef braised in espresso and chianti. Another success is the panna cotta, which elicits constant murmurs of delight. On weekends, be prepared for a wait and for somewhat tight conditions.
Recommended for Italian because: This is a wildly popular restaurant in Portland and consistently serves excellent food.
Meagan's expert tip: They only take reservations for larger parties. On the weekends you will have to wait for a table.
If you are looking for a more upscale Italian restaurant in Portland, then A Cena Ristorante is your place. At A Cena Ristorante you will find an Italian fine dining experience with food made only from fresh ingredients from local Portland farmers. Chef Gabe is always creating new items based on his Italian heritage and what's in season, so check their website before you go to see the current menu. Their large entrees include choices like fish, lobster, gnocchi, pasta, braised pork, agnolotti, and many more. They do have smaller portions available for smaller prices making it a more affordable option.
Recommended for Italian because: The food is unbeatable and always changing. You'll never have the same meal twice.
Meagan's expert tip: Be sure to try the agnolotti and do not sit at a table near the waiting area.
Portofino has long been a hidden gem over in the Sellwood area. It's a warm and inviting neighborhood restaurant that serves all organic and free range Italian food. Where else could you possibly go to get free range Italian food? At Portofino you will find a wide variety of enjoyable dishes including pork chop, risotto, lasagna, fish, gluten free options,and many more. The wait staff is knowledgeable of the menu and can recommend a perfect wine to compliment your meal. Portofino is the perfect place to catch up with an old friend or have a romantic date with someone special.
Recommended for Italian because: This is a fantastic place to have a romantic date. This is especially so, because they have a no cell phones please rule.
Meagan's expert tip: Make a reservation if possible. It's a small place and fills up quickly.
If you want to feel like you are actually eating in Italy then head over to one of the most popular areas in Portland, the Pearl district, where you will find Piazza Italia. Originally started by an Italian immigrant from Rome who was passionate about bringing authentic Italian food to Portland. His family continues today serving top notch authentic Italian food at fair prices for lunch and dinner. Try the Linguine Squarciarella, Straccetti, or a pizza. No matter what you try it is guaranteed to be good. They also have a deli where you can purchase fresh meats and cheeses.
Recommended for Italian because: Most consider this restaurant to be the best Italian restaurant in Portland and it's in the Pearl.
Meagan's expert tip: It's a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time and kids are always welcome.
Grassa is a casual Italian eatery that serves handcrafted fresh pasta and features a rotating menu based on seasonal availability. Here the portions are large and affordable. You will find a great variety of pasta here including squid pasta and hazelnut pesto pasta, as well as seasonal salads. You order at the small counter as soon as you walk in. They give you a number and you seat yourselves. There is already silverware, napkins, glasses, and water on the table. They have extremely long tables perfect for larger families. If you have kids with you sit at the kitchen counter where they can watch the food being prepared. They might even get some dough to play with.
Recommended for Italian because: Grassa continues to impress time after time with their seasonal Italian dishes.
Meagan's expert tip: The portions are large, so consider splitting a salad and an entree.
Serratto is a lively and elegant neighborhood restaurant serving authentic and innovative dishes from Italy, France and the greater Mediterranean region. The menu, which changes seasonally, is built around a commitment to using natural meats, the freshest seafood, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. All their portions here are generous. They have a kids menu with many entrees just $5, including a massive kids pizza. They also have some fun drink options for kids like fruit punch. Kids will love sharing the pan seared artichoke appetizer with parents. They offer a wonderful happy hour and kids can dine off the happy hour menu with you.
Recommended for Italian because: Serratto is a lively and elegant neighborhood restaurant serving authentic and innovative dishes from Italy.
Meagan's expert tip: Be sure to save room for dessert, because their chocolate cobbler is a must.
Ava Gene's features a Roman inspired menu is simple and rustic with an emphasis on the best local produce and meats grown and raised by Pacific Northwest farmers and ranchers. That is why they feature a seasonal always changing menu. They take a great deal of pride in everything they prepare. Each item is hand made one at a time. From their custom breads to their delectable pastas everything they create is beautiful and delicious. For an entertaining evening sit at the chef's table where you can watch them create each dish. They also have a regional Italian wine list that complements the cuisine as well as craft cocktails.
Recommended for Italian because: Ava Gene's is Italian done right with bountiful portions and perfect wine pairings.
Meagan's expert tip: Be sure to start your meal off with one of their breads.
Mucca Osteria is an intimate Italian eatery in downtown Portland, Oregon. This hidden gem is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner, but is often overlooked. The menu here changes seasonally to highlight whats in season through perfectly crafted pasta dishes. Chef Simone Savaiano is a native of Rome and this is seems to be reflected in every dish. At Mucca Osteria you will find some of the most authentic Italian cuisine in Portland. Here you can enjoy pasta dishes like Tagliatelle Porcini e Tartufo a housemade egg Tagliatelle pasta with Porcini mushrooms and burgundy truffles or Risotto all'Astice e Bisque alla Franciacorta which is risotto with lobster bisque.
Recommended for Italian because: Mucca Osteria is an often overlooked Italian eatery in Portland, but it serves the best Italian in Portland.
Meagan's expert tip: Try the steak. For an Italian restaurant it is surprising to find one of the best steaks in town.
Corzetti is a brand new Italian eatery in NE Portland created by chef Johnny Nunn. Here you will dine on fresh authentic pasta and dishes that celebrate both classic trattoria and Italian-American fare. Each day they offer a special dish of the day like Braised Pork Cheeks, Potato Gnocchi and Shellfish Cioppino. To pair with the food they offer wines from France, Italy and Oregon, local beer on tap, and food-friendly cocktails. The Horse Feathers cocktail is a light and delicious vodka based cocktail. The also offer one of the best happy hours in Portland. Happy Hour is available during the first and last hour of service every day and featuring pasta du jour, housemade charcuterie, sandwiches like meatball, smoked pork lasagna, and Italian cold cut and more.
Recommended for Italian because: Corzetti is a phenomenal new Italian restaurant in NE Portland with fresh, authentic pasta.
Meagan's expert tip: If you are unsure what to order try the Corzetti Stampadi, their namesake dish.