Portland >Food & Dining > Pazzo Ristorante
621 SW Washington St, Portland, OR | Directions 9720545.520629 -122.678332
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Neighbors West - Northwest
Dreadful beyond belief – Would you expect a restaurant like Pazzo to confuse duck to beef and then become belligerent and insist that the two meats could resemble each other in look, taste or texture?
I returned to Portland and the US in 2005. It was around that time that I first ate at Pazzo. It became a quick favorite for me and my family. So it was with happy anticipation that I brought another family member, new to Portland, straight to Pazzo's for a great duck meal. When the food arrived there was a corn cake (as described on the menu) and there, on top, was not duck but beef. We tasted it. It was beef!
Not only was the meat beef, but it was cooked medium rare. This means that the food was not duck AND/OR the restaurant felt comfortable with raw foul on the table. The "duck" was showing very red everywhere but the brown ridge of the meat. That's right. It was cut in oblong, semi-uniformed slices. Sounds normal for duck breast?
When we brought this to the waitress' attention she brought the manager to the table. The manager told us that the bloody, red meat before us was indeed duck. He insisted that this was how the duck is always served. After reminding the manager that I had had the same dish at least three times in as many months, he then tried to convince me that I may have forgotten what the duck was like at Pazzo.
I also showed the manager and waitress that the sauce under the corn cake did indeed have pieces of duck in it. I asked the two to compare that meat in the sauce with the beef strips on top. At that point the waitress walked away while the manager still insisted that the bloody brown edged meat on top was duck. After asking him to try it, he disappeared and so did the plate of food.
At that point I wondered, "Why were we paying all this money to get worse service than we would expect at a truck stop?" I haven't been back since.
Disappointing and unnecessary foolishness. Poor show, Pazzo.
Best Italian In the World – This is truly the best Italian on the West Coast if not the world over!! I recommend the pappardelle. And my wife recommends the fresh Alaskan Halibut when it is season. Truly the BEST halibut we have ever eaten.
Best Caesar I ever had – Loved this place! Although I have lots of other reasons to visit Portland again (and again), I would make the 2+ hour drive from my home just for this Caesar salad. Everyone in our foursome ordered a different dish and everyone was very happy. Pork, ravioli, beef shoulder, all done well. My gnocchi were delicious and I'm glad I wasn't put off by the 'Texas wild boar' because the whole dish was delightful. I wish I'd had room for dessert, but maybe next time.
We weren't there on a weekend, but I really appreciated the feeling of not being rushed so they could turn our table. Nice, helpful, patient waiter who didn't mind our lack of knowledge about but desire to have a good, reasonably priced wine with our meal, I wish I'd caught his name. I do know he and his wife just bought a house so someone give the guy a raise!
Wonderfully Delicious Dining Experience – This restaurant spoiled us during our week long trip with all others pretty much failing to meet our expectations after such a wonderful meal at Pazzo. We were seated immediately and though we were dressed in our walking clothes, we were treated with an unassuming and professional manner with great attention to detail. Our waitress was extremely helpful and attentive and our food was exquisite. My husband had salmon ravioli and I had the gnocchi, both were to die for! Pazzo will be a regular for us after our move to Portland.
Pazzo is on our list – We were very happy with our dinner at Pazzo. We were seated immediately at a very nice table. The service was very friendly and attentive and knowledgeable. The food is fresh with use of local produce. The preparation is very much northern Italian/ Tuscan. Bietola salad was wonderful. The pumpkin risotto was outstanding. The roast lamb and bean entree was rich and flavorful. The wine list is very good, with a strong Italian influence. The room is tastefully decorated, but a bit noisy as the large parties in the room arrived. We never felt rushed or ignored, as we have been in some other city restaurants. The price was moderate. We often visit Portland, and we have been disappointed in some of the other "big name" city restaurants whose service has declined to the point of being substandard. We are happy to add Pazzo to our list of Portland restaurants to which we will return.
Outstanding Italian Cusine – As a lover of Italian food, I was delighted to discover this restaurant gem. I stopped in for a chilled beer in the bar and ended up also ordering one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. Large windows in the bar area provided a wonderful opportunity to watch the world go by while I enjoyed my order. Anyway, after that, I was hooked! I knew I had to come back for dinner. A couple nights later, a friend and I found ourselves ensconced in a cozy booth that provided a great view of a beautiful, warm dining room as well as the chefs at work in the open kitchen. The experience was everything I had anticipated. Our food was beautifully presented and a delight to enjoy. The staff couldn't have been nicer. Our waiter was attentive without being intrusive and I absolutely look forward to my next adventure at Pazzo.
it's not the Olive Garden – I can't say just one thing about Pazzo, I've had several dining experiences there, as it is one or the only one favorite place where my daugther likes to eat. I will say it's not the "Olive Garden". So if you're looking for lasagnea or veal parmasian.. don't go there. Pazzo has a more traditional, and authentic Italian menu, as the executive chef has lived in Itay and studied Italian for some years. The food is fresh, the pastas are homemade, as are the breads. All the desserts are made in house daily. ( my favorite is the Panna Cotta). The service is warm and friendly, although sometimes a little rushed To start I would HIGHLY recommend the prociutto and melon. unbelievable. next, maybe a half portion of pasta, as you'll probably want to go into the main course not too full at all. my favorite is the spaghettini. Then the costata.( Ribeye) the aceto manadori ( 12 yr. aged balsamic just does it!) with a beautiful glass of red wine. To finish everything, the sorbetti is always always good. but again.....my favorite is the Panna Cotta. All in all, The restaurant is a little Loud but the food certainaly makes up for that. basicaly, what I like about Pazzo is that it is not the " average" Italian restaurant, it's not your canolli, spumoni, spaghetti and meatball place......it's good food.
My experience was very good here – My partner and I went here for a special night out. We made reservations and were seated promptly. We didn't wait very long for our drinks and we were kept supplied with bread and oil until our dinner arrived. I had a ragu with wild boar that was excellent. My partner had a butternut squash ravioli that was also absolutely wonderful. (He was so inspired that our kitchen was a mess for several weeks afterwards as he tried to recreate the flavor experience!) The pasta was PERFECTLY cooked. It was somewhat noisy which surprised me as it was a Tuesday night. I have reccommended this place to others looking for great pasta at a nicer place.
Great food, but some troubles otherwise – First, the food was great overall. I had the duck breast/thigh confit with fingerling potatoes and it was just terrific. The fingerling potatoes were sliced in half length-wise and were crispy outside and fluffy inside--wonderful. For a first course I had lamb carpaccio and it was very good, with excellent parmesan and arugula, although I would still choose beef carpaccio as the lamb was less flavorful. My wife had the cauliflower panna cotta (which I tasted). This dish (pure cold cauliflower custard) didn?t really float our boat.
My wife absolutely loved the butternut squash tortelli, saying that she wanted to lick the plate it was so good.
As to atmosphere, the bar area is unbelievably noisy and tightly packed.
I?d requested a booth, and we were taken from the bar area to a dining area. The booth was very nice. Sadly, the open kitchen was right behind us. This is not your ?Mediterranean? kitchen with big brick ovens and cool stuff hanging around. This was a loud working kitchen exposed to the restaurant?very bad idea. We could hear the cooks yelling at each other about who was going to cover whose shift over the clattering cacophony of colliding pots and dishes. It really made for bad atmosphere.
With respect to service, again it was strangely uneven. Our server was simultaneously strenuously considerate and cold, as if she knew she needed to be nice, but her heart wasn?t in it. Service was also very slow. It was probably 10 minutes before our drinks were delivered after ordering them, and that pattern was continued throughout dinner.
I would say Pazzo has much to offer, but it may have something to do with your sense of atmosphere vs. food. If you like a nice quiet elegant experience, you won?t find it here?it?s just plain noisy. If food is all that matters, you?ll probably love it.
Wonderful experience, good value – This restaraunt rates a low to mid range price for downtown Portland, and is well worth trying. The food is nothing short of fabulous - try the caesar salad and salmon ravioli! The service is attentive and polite. The ambiance is very welcoming and romantic. Nothing to not recommend here - a great experience overall!
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