521 NE Third St, McMinnville, OR | Directions 9712845.210383 -123.194007
Really good food – The owners obviously really care about good food. The pasta dishes are the bestn I have ever eaten. (better really than most places in Italy)
You cant get a better meal (or lunch) anywhere. Great wine list, entrees are terrific. The ministrone soup is absolutely first rate. All in all--food service and ambiance you just cant do better.
Good, but not exceptional fare. – I must admit, I was a bit out of sorts when we walked in having been not greeted for several minutes and then treated rather shabily at the Bistro Maison just down the street. (see review). All in all I thought Nick's was and OK Italian place. The ambience was such as might be found in an Italian community in a large east coast city. I really liked the excellent minestrone. Although my pasta was good, it didn't knock me over. My wife had a sausage lasagna that contained no pasta at all. Maybe it was some sort of specialty dish that wasn't supposed to contain any, but it was in the pasta section of the menu. I'll certainly try Nick's again.
Wine Snobs Paradise – My wife and I have been to Nick's on several occasions over the years. Although the menu is limited, it seems like they usually have something that is edible and tasty. The soup is very good although I have noticed that it isn't as nuanced as it used to be lately. The service is very slow.... and if you don't drink wine they look at you like you're a moron. The owner seems to have kind of a cliquish group of people he seems to cater too, like wine barons and people with money, so if you aren't in that group he doesn't talk to you much and you might feel like an outsider. Overall I would recommend Joel Palmer House in Dayton or Red Hills Provincial Dining in Dundee over Nick's but I would give Nick's a try, especially if you are a wino and have a lot of money to spend.
Incredible food! – Nick's has to be one of the best kept secrets in the Willamette Valley, and we were quite happy to discover it. I was a little shocked to read some of the negative reviews. I think if you go in knowing what to expect from the price fixe menu, then you will be very pleased.
The restaurant itelf is very understated, but comfortable. Our waitress was not only very knowledgeable about the menu and wine list, but she was fun and funny, and also very attentive. We had exemplarary service.
We had the five course price fixe meal for $49 which may seem pricey, but you get quite a lot (five courses!!) for your money. The portion sizes might seem small, but when you have five courses, you want smaller. It also takes at least two hours to eat this type of meal.
There was not one ill prepared or poor tasting dish all night. (Four diners in our party, five courses, plus desserts for all -- that's a lot of different foods.) The food was simply, yet beautifully presented. The ingredients were fresh. The salad tasted as if they walked out the back, picked the lettuce, and prepared the salad. It was topped with a simple vinegarette, but it was so flavorful.
All of the pastas are handmade there at the restaurant, and my pasta nearly melted in my mouth it was so fresh. I could have stopped with the pasta, and been completely satisfied.
At the end of our very enjoyable evening, our party all agreed that we will be visiting Nick's again soon.
Good Italian Food /Nothing outstanding – This establishment has alway"s had a good food,but nothing oustanding.It's also very pricy for what you get. If you plan to eat here, you should plan to spend at least 2 hours.Service is at a snail"s pace, if your lucky.
Best Italian Food / Eating Experience in OR wine country – I've traveled through the beautiful Oregon Wine Country for many years and feel blessed to have come across Nick's. I've gone several times and my latest visit was exceptional. The rumors are true that Nick's daughter Carmen (and fiance Eric) have taken over the operations and are delivering mouthwatering food in cleverly designed dishes. The appetizers of "frito" vegetabels were a delightful surprise, and my girlfriends plate of homemade meats were truly fun. The minetrone soup, my all-time favorite, made me feel at home again. Next up, the pastas, were fantastic. They simply melted in my mouth. The main course of 'lamb three ways' was a pleasant surprise--i've never had anything like that before in a dish. I'm planning on returning to the area next spring to climb Mt. Hood and another trip to Nick's as a reward is definately in the works.
Overpriced and Overrated – If you want to spend an exhorbitant amount on dinner, this is the place. The quantity of food is at best lunch size. The service was disappointing, ordering and getting the bill took over 30 minutes, way too long. The wine glasses were 1/2 filled, so if you want to spend $9-14 on a glass of wine, you're better off buying a bottle. Roast lamb was $26 for a small lunch size plate with a few pieces, very disappointing. I would highly recommend the Olive Garden or Romano's before I would ever send people I know to this restaurant.
Wow – I have heard rumors for years about Nick?s but was only recently able to make it in for dinner on my last trip to the Oregon wine country. All I can say is wow, the food was truly something special. Generally speaking I am often times disappointed with what is considered to be great food in the Portland area, just a bit spoiled from living in San Francisco for the past 10 years and working in the wine industry. But Nick?s lives up to the hype. The new Chefs, Carmen and Eric, have recently come up from SF?s Quince, one of the best restaurants the bay area has to offer, and it really shows in the food. We sampled some truly great house made charcuteries, and brilliant fresh pastas, the house made garganelli with pancetta cream and fresh fava beans was the table?s favorite along with a masterfully made hazelnut lasagna. The final savory courses from the five course tasting menu were superb, a perfectly cooked local wild salmon with fresh porcinis and the lamb loin wrapped in caul fat being some of our favorites. Michael Tusk?s tutelage shined throughout the meal, with subtle seasoning and expert attention to the food. It is well worth the drive out from Portland and if you are in the wine country it should be at the top of your list for dinner. I should also note that the wine list is awesome. I would also recommend making a reservation as it seemed to fill up quick.
Nick's has two amazing new chefs! – We made the trek out to McMinnville and what a surprise. Nick recently retired and his daughter Carmen and her fiance Eric have taken over. They're fresh from cooking at Quince in San Francisco - we tried to go there when we were in San Francisco but couldn't get reservations. And they also recently spent 6 months cooking in Italy, to prepare them for taking over Nick's.
Nick's still has the 5 course $45 set price menu, but Carmen and Eric have changed it up a lot. We had a gorgonzola sformata with fried parsley (kind of a eggy mousse, apparently often served as bar food in Italy), house-made charcuterie including an excellent mortadella, and a baby beet salad with goat cheese. We decided to be brave and give the tripe a la milanese a go and it was the star of the evening. The tripe was braised in a tomato sauce which tenderised the tripe and gave the sauce a rich but subtle flavor. And in the middle was a poached egg. The pasta was also great. How can you go wrong with housemade pasta bathed in a creamy prosciutto sauce with shelled fava beans? For entrees, I had the scallops with prosecco and they were perfect. The scallops had a yummy golden crust but were still juicy.
We didn't have much room for dessert, but squeezed in the profiteroles which came with vanilla ice cream and chunks of toasted hazelnuts. Carmen also recommended a glass of slightly spritzy rose Italian dessert wine which went perfectly with the chocolate. I wish I'd written down the name.
We talked a bit with Carmen and Eric and they told us they're loving it here. They've formed a close relationship with a local farmer and Eric is even making his own balsamic vinegar. Definitely worth the drive to McMinnville.
Authentic! A Must! Make your reservation and bring your appitite. – The value of five courses for 42.00 is incredible, and you will not go home hungry. Try the Avocado with Bay Shrimp and Sauce Louis; it will blend a symphony in your mouth. In addition, don't pass on the pasta, its three layers of house made noodles, married with dungeness crab, mushrooms and bechamel is the perfect way to prepare for your entree. With several pages of local wines to choose from, you will be able to pair the perfect Pinot Noir or Import with your meal. Dont plan to rush your evening, plan to enjoy it. Nick's Italian Cafe is this Willamette Valley wine enthusiasts restaurant of choice!
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Nick's Italian Cafe on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.