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Dec 29, 2006 07:09 PM

Homestyle Italian food round up....for Portland

I'm originally from the Bay Area, actually San Francisco, born and raised.... I've seen some Burrito comparison charts on Chowhound for Portland and SF. They're funny! It's like trying to compare QE2 to an old fishing boat! Nothing in commmon....

Growing up with half an Italian (that's it-alian, not "I" tal-ion!) family that lived in North Beach, I'm really missing some decent Italian food and goods....

Foccicia?? Anywhere??
Italian Bakery?? Canoli? ST Honorary cakes? Decent coffee cakes? (Maybe Bernhardt;s on Broadway, but not quite.)

I've been to Pastaworks on Hawthorne which just makes me miss a real Italian Deli even more.... While they have some Italian things, it pretty limited.....and $8 for a tiny Molinari salami!! I used to Pay $8 for an entire stick! I can drive down to SF and buy 3 cases of Salami, tag on the gas cost and add 10% and STILL under cut that kind of price per pound! That's like being violated!

Family/regional style Italian cusine? Not Modern interpetation of Italian food! That's OK and fun, but not the real thing!

Some Abruzzo, Milanese, Genovese, Piedmont, Calabrese, Umbria, etc... Not Chef Bob Smith's version of Veal Scallopini....

BTW, I've never seen a city charge SO much for bread, red sauce and cheese.... yes! I'm talking Pizza! At least $4-8 dollars more here for a large pizza! WHY?? ....lets' not even talk about the quality for that cost.... ;-}

My mother, who lives up here now too, is dying for some Italian and her birthday is coming up.. ;-}

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  1. I can't claim any Italian heritage, but I would like to take a stab at recommending some places that I think serve up good Italian food.

    Assagio's in Sellwood/West Moreland: here they have a menu with lots of great options and they will serve three pasta items (the chef's choice) family style. Great wine as well.

    Caffe Mingo on NW 21st: here they have a very diverse menu that goes well beyond the typical americanish pasta meals. Their signature feature is sitting at long family style tables, sharing your dining experience with those around you.

    Alba Osteria and Enoteca on Capitol Hwy just outside Hillsdale in SW: here the menu is small, but still manages to offer a little bit of everything, pasta, lamb, fish. This one is more expensive, but for a birthday the dessert is delicious.

    1. "WHY?? ....lets' not even talk about the quality for that cost...."

      Bay Area girl myself & I'm kind of puzzled by your problem with price for Pizza comment. What pizzerias in SF are you talking about? Not A16, Pizzetta 211, Pizzaiolo, those aren't your typical pizzerias but the quality & the cost are in line with the fabulous results. I've tried many o' pizzeria in this town & the ones that are on the same level as the ones named above do a good job. Nostrana is on a level by itself for this style of pizza, Neopolitan....I'm guessing they run 30% COG & you can taste the quality & passion, the others are a joke & seem to run about 15% COG & have no passion what so ever. If you're talking pizza parlor pizza, then again, I'd like to know who you're talking about & maybe what it is you're looking for.

      Italian deli...No such thing in this town yet.

      Alba, 3 Doors Down & Gino's are my go to's.

      kim @ apizza

      1 Reply
      1. re: gal4giants

        Wow! That's quite an arguement for a guy who says pizza costs most in Portland, than San Francisco... While there are some quality pies in Portland, they too are overpriced... So, if you own a Pizzeria or snob-shop and serve decent pizza, congratulations! But, that still didn't answer the original question.... Why does it cost so much?

        Since you've named every high-end pizza joint in SF and Pizzaiolo is ran by former Chez Panisse pizza guru Charlie Hallowell..... I assume your talking high end pizza...

        Guess what? It's PIZZA!!! It's Italian peasant food! It's supposed to be food for the people, not the uptight selfrightous.. ;-} It's simple dough, tomatos and cheese....But what do I know, I only grew up in North Beach? Where did you grow up....Fremont or Atherton?

        OH! 3 Doors Down is not the type of restaurant I'm requesting interest....

      2. Pizza is overpriced in Portland from our experience. Hot Lips & Escape from NY charge a few more dollars than your basic pie from your local Pizzaria in NY .. I would not mind paying it or more if the pies were at least good.
        I have heard that Apizza Scholls is the best, maybe they are, but otherwise, if you have experience with better pizza, don't expect the same thing in Portland.

        I like Giorgios ( in the Pearl) for a good grown-ups version of Italian cooking..
        Otherwise, we are still looking too ~

        If you really want to avoid someone elses version of Italian, don't go to Mama Mia ..

        Focaccia, everywhere we get it , they use too much salt and too much rosemary, there is no other taste in your mouth..
        If there is an Italian bakery here, we have not found it, last time I tried pastries at Honoré, they were stale so I give up!

        1 Reply
        1. re: pdxgirl

          Thanks for the Pizza reality check and confirmation!

          I'll cehck out Gorgios online...

          I've given up on Italian Bakeries.... Most seem to be very narrow in their production.... Been every dissapointed.

          I've had the same experience with Foccicia! What's happened to the tomato sauce version too?? ;-}

        2. Guys and Gals,

          Here's menu from one of the Italian restaurants I liked in SF.... this is what I'm shooting for... even if it's only 1/4 of this menu..... Does this look familiar to anything in the Northwest...?


          Mixed Green Salad
          Mixed Green Salad - Alla Lorenzo
          Mixed Greens with Roquefort
          Salad alla Brooks
          Spinach Salad
          Caprese Salad
          Caesar Salad
          Half Order
          Hearts of Romaine with Shrimp
          Bay Shrimp Cocktail
          Prawn or Crab Cocktail
          Our Famous Home-Cured Prosciutto and Melon
          Carpaccio alla Veneziana
          Carpaccio & Home-Cured Prosciutto - Combination
          Sliced Tomatoes with Anchovies and Onion
          Escargots - House Specialty
          Mussels della Casa
          Calamari Vinaigrette - Our Own Specialty
          Antipasto Toscano for Two - Home-Cured Prosciutto, Salame, Cheese, Marinated Calamari, Veal Shank, Beans and Salsa Verde

          Dal Mare

          Sea Scallops - Sautéed in White Wine Mushroom Sauce
          Petrale Mugnaia - Sautéed with White Wine, Lemon and Butter Sauce
          Petrale Portofino - Stuffed with Shrimp and Crab Alla Mugnaia
          Petrale - Broiled and served on a bed of Spinach Salad
          Calamari - Fritti Livornese
          Calamari - Steak Mugnaia
          Cioppino alla Pescatora - Shelled - Our Seafood Specialty
          Combination of Filet of Veal and Prawns - White Wine, Lemon and Butter Sauce
          Abalone Doré - Mugnaia or Combination - Chef's Pride
          Prawns Provinciale - Fresh Tomato or White Wine, Lemon and Butter Sauce
          Halibut - Broiled, Sautéed or Poached with White Wine, and Lemon Butter Sauce
          Salmon My Way - Lorenzo's Favorite
          Salmon Steak - Broiled or Poached with White Wine, and Lemon Butter Sauce
          Four Broiled Baby Eastern Lobster Tails - Alla Mugnaia

          Dalla Terra

          Eggplant Parmigiana - Baked with Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella
          Breasts of Chicken - Broiled with Herbs
          Breast of Chicken - Broiled and served on a bed of Spinach Salad
          Chicken Toscana - Sautéed with Artichoke Hearts, Black Olives and Mushrooms
          Chicken al Mattone - with Italian Herbs - House Specialty
          Chicken Scaloppine - Piccata, Marsala or Sorrento
          Chicken Livers - Sautéed with Mushrooms and Barbera Sauce
          Veal Sweetbreads - Sautéed with Mushroom Sauce or Cream Sauce
          Veal Scaloppine Piccata - with White Wine, Lemon, Butter and Caper Sauce
          Veal Scaloppine Sorrento - Sautéed with Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella
          Veal Scaloppine Marsala - Sautéed with Marsala Wine
          Veal Milanese - Breaded, Fried, garnished with Fresh Lemon
          Veal Scaloppine alla Bruno - Sautéed with Chardonnay, Mushrooms and Pinoli
          Veal Chop - Broiled, Sautéed or Milanese
          Veal Cutlet Parmigiana - Baked with Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella
          Veal Saltimbocca alla Nerone - Chef's Creation
          Filet of Lamb alla Bruno with Barolo Sauce - House Specialty
          New York Sirloin Steak - Broiled
          Filet Mignon - Broiled
          Steak Caruso with Prosciutto, Mushrooms and Pomarola Sauce
          Porchetta al Barolo - House Specialty


          Ravioli Toscana - Homemade
          Spinach Ravioli - with Ricotta Cheese
          Seafood Ravioli
          Pasta Della Casa - Prosciutto, Mushrooms and Veal with Chardonnay Wine
          Pasta Puttanesca or Arrabbiata
          Pasta Primavera - Seasonal Vegetables
          Linguine Con Vongole - Baby Clams
          Linguine with Fresh Clams
          Linguine with Porcini & Scallops
          Tortellini Supreme - Cream Sauce
          Homemade Cannelloni - House Specialty
          Lasagna - Made to order - 20 Min.
          Gnocchi al Gorgonzola
          Gnocchi Piemontese - Homemade
          Mare Chiaro - Shrimp, Tomato, Cream Sauce
          Pappardelle Cardinale - alla vodka with Bay Shrimp
          Spaghetti all' Amatriciana - Con Pancetta
          Spaghetti Carbonara - House Specialty
          Spaghetti with Vodka - Our Own Specialty
          Fettuccine Alfredo - Homemade
          Fettuccine con Asparagi alla Valentino
          Tagliatelle Luigi - Marinara Sauce
          Tagliatelle al Pesto - Fresh Basil Sauce
          Tagliatelle Bolognese - Meat Sauce
          Tagliatelle con Porcini - Wild Mushrooms
          Tagliatelle Pescatora - Assorted Shellfish
          Risotto Pescatora - Assorted Shellfish
          Risotto con Porcini - Wild Mushrooms

          Coffee, Tea or Milk
          Espresso - Graffeo
          Cappuccino - Graffeo
          Biscotti di Prato
          Cream Caramel - Homemade
          Chocolate Mousse Torte
          Hot Zabaglione - for Two
          Cold Zabaglione - Della Casa
          Semifreddo - Homemade
          NY Style Cheesecake
          Tiramisú - Homemade
          Torta di Gelato - Homemade
          Parmigiano Grana
          Lemon Sorbet
          Spumoni or Ice Cream
          Gelato Affogato
          Tray of Cheese, Walnuts, Figs and Apples for Two

          1 Reply
          1. re: mojo2

            You're in the wrong city. Just enjoy the salmon, sushi, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and NW-oriented fine dining, and save your Italian appetite for SF or the East Coast IMHO.

          2. I've had a few beers and some pizza in the lounge of Giuseppe's in Gresham. Met the owner, Joe, who is from Italy. The pizza was pretty good,and although that was all I had, my buddy who brought me there highly recommends the chow. It seems like a very basic, family oriented establishment. Can anyone attest to the quality of the food?