Portland >Food & Dining > Piazza Italia
1129 NW Johnson St, Portland, OR | Directions 9720945.528653 -122.682709
Neighborhoods: Pearl, Neighbors West - Northwest
Feel like one of the family at this joyful little slice of Italia, where the waiters all have accents, there’s always a game of futbol on the tv, and the pasta, wine and conversation flow freely. In fair weather, the sidewalk tables afford eccellente people-watching.
a great place. I really loved the Italian sauage!!!
No better place to enjoy lunch or dinner than outside at this authentico ristorante Italiano.The waiters even possess an authentic suave and shameless flirty edge.
Food is good. Service is horrible and staff is rude. The only thing they are interested in is turning over your table.
The service was fantastic, friendly and quick. The food was amazing.
Terrible Experience – I had the worst experience last night ever at a restaurant. We went here for a birthday party. From the moment we sat down the waitress was asking us to order and get done so they could turn the table. We ordered wine and appetizers right away as our guest were arriving. The waitress brought us a different bottle of wine then we ordered but we did not complain just said we wanted the right one when we got the second bottle. We never questioned the cost of any bottle. Most of us got our order in and were visiting when the owner came over and said you are going to have to leave. We had ordered a 3rd bottle of wine and several other dinners prior to this and they were never brought them to our us. The bus boy then came over and started taking all our glasses off the table and we were forced to leave. I have never had such a rude experience in my life. This is the first review I have ever done. My husband and I also had been there one other time and they sat us in the back corner next to the deli and next to a water fountain and we fought fruit flies the whole dinner. We could see behind the counter where they put the bread and cheese plates together and it was anything but clean in their preparation. I would never recommend this place to anyone.
Worst service ever experienced - no stars – There is no bar or area to have drinks while waiting for all to show up, so we made a reservation for 9 people at 5 PM to celebrate my 62nd birthday. A bunch of us women get together every month to dine. It takes a good 1.5 hours just for everybody to show up. We usually wrap it up by 9 or 10 PM. From the moment the first of us sat down we were told to order soon as our table was reserved for 6:30. We let them know we had every intention of staying much later than that.
At 6:50 the owner had her waiters take our plates and glasses off the table, even out of our hands, and we were told to leave. None of us will be recommending this place ever again.
My favoriate neighborhood café – Before we went to Italy people told us that the worst meal there was better than the best meal here. We did not find that to be true, and tastes can vary, but I will say that Piazza Italia reminds me of the more satisfying meals in Rome, and for the price, it can't be beat. Good wine. Good minestrone. Good salads. Amazing antipasti. Very good pasta. Good coffee, and sidewalk dining for those rare nice Northwest days.
WE LOVE PIAZZA ITALIA, YOU WILL ALSO! – We Love Piazza Italia.. the Food, the Staff, the Wine..
To us it is our Romantic Night out.. We love to sit outside in the summer.. the warm Porland Night air, the delicious pasta prepared perfectly, the lamb on Saturday night which melts in your mouth, the wine, the conversation, the neighborhood.. WE LOVE PIAZZA ITALIA!
I want to move to Portland to be near Piazza Italia! – After my first bite of bucatini all'amatriciana, I was plotting my move to Portland to be near this restaurant. No, I am not kidding.
We fell in love with bucatini all'amatriciana when we were visiting Rome recently, to the point where the restaurant that served it became our neighborhood spot while we were in town. It was that good. When we returned to the US, I promptly found bucatini and got to work recreating the sauce as it blew us away with it's simple, yet amazingly savory and luscious taste and texture. As an aside, I'm still perfecting my recipe.
So, imagine my delight when I was searching for a good place to try in the Pearl and I came across a fellow Yelper's review of their bucatini...oh boy, we must try this place! We made a reservation for that evening.
On leaving our cab, we were immediately greeted on the sidewalk by a gentleman asking if we had reservations. Yes, we did! We were seated at a two-top adjacent to the bar...I'm sure they didn't mean it this way, but it was a onus for me to be seated near the menu station as I am a dessert-a-holic and the dessert menu was within reach!!! Muahahahaha. I love being able to plot dinner choices with an eye toward dessert.
I had no idea prior to entering Piazza Italia, but yes, Virginia, there IS an all-futbol-all-the-time channel. Actually, pretty cool in combination with the futbol jerseys hanging from the ceiling. Even cooler, everyone there that night appeared to be fluent in Italian. Fantastic. I am HOME!
We decided to split everything and ordered the Gino's salad, mushroom bruschetta (cannot remember the exact name) and bucatini all'amatriciana with a notion of saving room for dessert. Gino's salad came out first. It was a wonderful combination, and yet the peanuts in there kind of took away from the overall taste. Not to knock Gino's tastes, it was just different that I expected (which is my bad).
Next up, the bucatini. The kitchen was nice enough to split the portion and we each dug in. As soon as the first bite hit the tongue, the talking ceased. And nirvana was attained. Mama mia.
The mushroom bruschetta never appeared, and after savoring the salad and pasta honestly wasn't all that missed (not to say that I won't be back to try it later...). So, after overhearing the server sing the praises of the hazelnut gelato at the table next to ours, we went with that for dessert. OH. MY. Love in a sundae glass. I am surprised the hubs and I didn't end up spoon-fencing over the last little bites of gelato. He was quite the gentleman and my new name became Hoover. After basking in the glow of amazing pasta, we decided then and there that we needed to come back to Piazza Italia. We made a reservation for the following evening with our server, and left feeling truly blissful.
Next night, we're back and we manage to nab a window side table. Knowing that we were ordering the bucatini all'amatriciana again, we plotted our second dish. After smelling and hearing of the pesto dish from the night before, we went with that. However, first things first. We started with a caprese salad this time and while the Roma tomatoes weren't in season, the mozzarella and basil were delicious and carried the tomatoes. Okay, on to the main event. Since we ordered two pastas, we had to make a choice when they hit the table. Hubs nabbed the amatriciana and I got the penne with pesto. Not such a bad deal, as it turned out. The pesto was absolutely amazing. We both kept alternating bites between amatriciana and pesto and back, until all the pasta was gone and we moved to Plan B and used the bread to sop up ALL of the sauce. We were clean-plate-clubbers that night! Amazing, amazing stuff.
I want to move to Portland to be near Piazza Italia. That, or move to Rome, and Portland just seems much closer. :)
Very Good - Good Italian Atmosphere – Small, open room family restaurant with authentic food and Italian speaking waiters. Great place to pick-up orders to go since restaurant is situated amongst downtown condos. Would recommend.
Getting the story straight – Just wanted to let all of you know that this "owner" fellow you've all spoke of, is anything but. I have it on good authority that Alessandro (the eighty year old man who kicked you out) is not one of the owners and is not under any instructions to kick you out. By his own volition, when he can see that line out of the door, Alessandro opts to tell you to leave. To put it simply, tell him "no." He has no weight there beyond singing happy birthday, giving kisses and dancing. That is what he is payed to do. He is a piece of that restaurant to make people happy, not to cause them any anguish. Also people, you may want to take what he says (at his age) with a grain of salt. Sometimes he throws a fit and doesn't know why but he is the genuine article and I swear he means well. Finally, if you want alternative atmosphere then go to Il Piatto, but I can tell you right now that the pasta there isn't half as good. Yes the Lasagna is bland and probably on the menu for kids who don't want "real" Italian food. Try the seafood!
P.S. Why the hell do you people order salads when you go out to eat? Every salad I've ever had at a restaurant is a disappointment because they get their "Spring Mix" bulk and probably from mexico. Eat your salad at home, then put your grown-up clothes on and go out for a MEAL!
Revisting Italy – We live about 42 miles from Piazza Italia. We go there every other Sunday. We have visited Italy three different times for a total of 9 weeks. We have eaten in large turist areas and small out of the way (no turists) areas and Piazza Italia is the only place that captures most of what we experieced in Italy. Traveling and eating in Italy is differant in differant regions. Since the owners and staff are mostly from Rome, you get the 'Rome' treatment. The food at Piazza Italia is the best you will find in Portland if you want the real thing. Let's face it, Olive Garden and The Spaghetti Factory are 'America food' Resturants.
The only thing American about Piazza Italia is the large portions compared to Italy. Piazza Italia is what it is and I hope it never changes. The people who complain about the service, we have never had bad service, would be in for a heck of a shock in New York at a NY Deli.
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