Portland >Restaurants > Caffe Allora
509 NW 9th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720945.526619 -122.680219
Neighborhoods: Neighbors West - Northwest, Pearl
Wonderful Server and Great Authentic Food – in Summary- Cafe Allora is a great restaurant and wonderful services- you MUST ask for "Enrico"!! He was the best server! He is from Florence, Italy and really knows his Italian Food and Wine! He is extremely outgoing and just so helpful and friendly. His authenticity adds to the flavors of the dishes and probably makes the food taste even better! This was the 1st time my wife and I went to Café Allora Summer 2009- but we certainly will be back many times. They have some great out door seating as well! The very best part was they have Tartufo for dessert!
Perfect pre-show meal – While cruising the Pearl to find a nice place to eat before a show at the Schnitzer Concert Hall, my husband and I stumbled onto Caffee Allora. We were charmed by the cozy interior and neighborhood ambience. Hubby went traditional with spaghetti and tomato & meat sauce; I chose one of the specials - dungeness crab in white sauce over penne. The sauce had the slightest "kick" of cayenne that was a delightful surprise. Though the entre portions were smallish, in combination with a misto salad (fennel, arugula, red onions) and the gorgonzola-walnut bruschetta appetizer, we were both satisfied. The entire experience - food, service, atmosphere - was just right.
Best Romantic Spot – I have gone to Cafe Allora twice and am going tonight. I have been extremely impressed each time I have gone. The food is authentic, the people authentic, and the atmosphere authentic. I spent a month in Rome and have not found food comparable here in Oregon until Cafe Allora. I have had the antipasto appetizer, the rocket and sopresseta appetizer, and my favorite, the ravioli. They got my order wrong and brought out the risotto. When I told them it is not what we ordered, they left the risotto for the table to try and enjoy while my order was prepared, free of charge. That is true hospitality. Their wine is affordable and compliments beautifully. I had no expectations when walking in, but now use Cafe Allora as a gage for other restaurants.
I will go back again and again. I just wish they would have a website so I can tell reference it more to others!
Real authentic italian food, fantastic, great service, – "Real authentic Italian food. We were going downtown Portland to do some shopping and asked a local shop keeper "(Lumenessence)" period lighting if he knew of a good restaurant close by. Cafe Allora was just a couple of blocks away so went in and fell in love with it. There six of us and we ordered Ravioli, Pannini sandwich, Rissoto, and spinach salad and bread. It was agreed among all of us that the food was fantastic. The bread was served with olive oil and was best tasting olive oil I ever had. You can't get that flavor at your local grocery store. The Pannini was fantastic, with fresh Mozzarella, Prosciutto. The Rissoto and Ravioli was wonderful. If you want real Italian food and atmosphere you will love it. My wife and I have been back a couple of time since and I highly recommend it especially just for two to four people. It is really cozy."
lovely, authentic atmosphere. amazing food! – i have been to caffe allora on several occasions. i have tried numerous entrees from the menu as well as sampled some select dishes from the special's board. i think the food is amazing. i had the risotto and found it to be absolutely perfect. i have travelled to italy and know what risotto should taste like, caffe allora has the real deal. the cook understands the word perfection. the penne with crab and vodka sauce is unbelievably fresh and delicious as well. i love the simple european feel of the place- charming, alive with music and laughter.
i find myself craving allora when i miss my favorite restaurants in florence, rome., milan. the servers are honest in their recommendations, genuinely engaged in your dining experience and lovely. i have never had a bad meal or a bad experience. caffe allora is definitely one of portland's best italian restaurants and my favorite neighborhood escape to italy for perfect food.
terrible eating experience – My husband and I went to Cafe Allora for a special birthday dinner. It could hardly have been more disappointing. The glasses were dirty, the spinach salad was oily, it took FOREVER to get our entrees, and when we did one of them was incredibly, staggeringly flavorless. I think it was literally free of any type of seasoning whatsoever. I'm sorry but dumping some cheese over your watery "risotto" doesn't fool anyone. The waitress was apologetic when we complained, but didn't take the uneaten, uneatable dish off of our bill. We were so stunned by the amateur quality of that meal that we couldn't stop joking about it for the rest of the evening. Oh, and one more thing: it was so incredibly loud in there that we could barely hold a conversation. Stay away from this terrible place at all costs!
Pathetic attempt at risotto – After reading glowing reviews from several different publications and sites I was disappointed in the noisy, lackluster, downright pedestrian 'Cafe Allora'. While the restaurant was generally inoffensive, the chef's pathetic attempt at pumpkin risotto was just that, a pathetic attempt. Allora?s risotto appeared to be little more than watery long-grain rice (an inappropriate rice stock for the dish) with a sparse selection of steamed squash cubes. This dish could have been duplicated by an intoxicated dolt for far less than the $16 price, and likely with superior results. Properly prepared risotto is first cooked briefly in butter or olive oil until evenly coated and the rice starts to turn translucent; broth is then added, one ladle at a time, to ensure the grains absorb the liquid gradually. This will bring out the rich creaminess of the rice's starches, while maintaining an al dente feel to each individual rice grain. Properly prepared risotto will display an almost ?gooey? viscosity without any of the broth?s liquidness. Allora?s risotto was little more than over-cooked rice swimming in murky white fluid ?and virtually tasteless at that. For those who watch the television program Hell?s Kitchen, you?ll note that the show?s contestants often botch risotto. The dish takes time, great care and a good deal of manual labor, but the results can be splendid. Allora, feel free to sell your watery rice during amateur hour, but please don?t foist it upon us as something it could only dream of being. And please, dear servers, do not tell me that other patrons are ?gobbling it up?. This does not reflect positively on the dish?s quality, rather it casts your patrons? palettes as unsophisticated, or worse yet, numb. Perhaps the rest of the menu is more noteworthy, but I certainly won?t be sampling this cafe?s fare again. Allora, shame on you.
Bistro Maison, McMinnville, OR – Dear Deborah and Jean-Jacques,
We always schedule our Willamette wine excursions to end up with a sumptuous meal at your Bistro Maison. This is the 4th time that you have fed us and our group of friends from the East Coast, and each time we declare "This was the best!" The friends that we have shared this experience with always include this meal with you as among their most favorite memories of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it is the charm and warmth of the bistro that sets the mood, or maybe it is Jean-Jacques' wonderful homemade pate and fondue that welcomed us most recently at the beginning of the feast, or maybe it is the friendly, attentive ways that Deborah shows to all, but whatever it is, there is a bit of magic. Thank you for making each time a special one!
Sharon & Bob Buchanan
Worst Dining Experience in the 5 Years We've Lived Here! – Terrible experience from beginning to end. No help from the host about whether there was a table available upstairs or not. Told us to troop up and see for ourselves. Menus very slow to come as was the bread (had to ask twice). After ordering and getting our appetizers in a reasonable time, we had to wait an hour for our entrees to arrive. No explanation or apology?simply a gruff and rude, ?we are full, the kitchen is busy.? Excuse me?! If you have 40 seats, perhaps you should plan to have them all full at some time or another. You are a restaurant. You need chefs, sous chefs, and servers in sufficient number to service the customers you plan on having. When we finally complain, the waiter gets abusive and shouts in my husband?s face. I should note, also, two other things: the place is so loud the waiter can?t hear you and the tables are very close together. Thus, every time the waiter needed to lean in to hear our neighbors? requests, he bent over close to their faces, thus putting his behind directly in ours. After the waiter continues his abuse, we pay for our appetizers and leave without ever having seen sight of an entree. Avoid this restaurant at all costs.
P.S. We noted that the only entrees to arrive at other tables were incorrect: much confusion, pointing, and complaining by the other patrons ensued. We live in the Pearl and were trying this place for the first time; we will never come back. You are nuts if you choose to waste your money in this place. [I wanted to give a Zero-Star rating, but site wouldn't let me]
Diner Beware! – The first time I dined here, the food was good, service was not so good, but I thought I'd give it another try. Now I will never go back. The meal was OK, not as good as the first time and when the bill came, the waitress brought two candies. When we unwrapped them and popped them in our mouths, we discovered they were wadded up pieces of a used napkin. I was so grossed out and I told the waitress and she just laughed and said that her last table was joking that they did that and she didn't believe them and so re-served the candies to us! I am from the food service industry and health code states that once something is served to a customer it should not be "reserved". (Including candy!) I asked to speak to the manager and not only was he unapologetic, but he couldn't understand why we were upset and was rude to us for complaining about it. I really hope it does not make me sick. I just got home and felt I should warn others about this restaurant.
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