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Best Italian Restaurant in Portland

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We're going to dinner for my birthday, and I can't decide between Caiola's and Cinque Terre. We dine in Portland frequently, but haven't gotten around to trying either one. Your thoughts on which one has the best italian food?

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  1. I like Caiola's a lot, but I would never call it an Italian restaurant.

    1. Italian food?....Now that the Village is closed?
      I all all seriousness though, have you thought about Ribolitta? Cozy, authentic food. I think Cinque Terre pretends to be more than it is, and charges you for it too!

      1. I am always happy with Ribolitta- they menu never changes, but the food is really excellent. The chef is always on site and the service is right on. Cinque Terra is good too, but for a special occasion? You can't beat the atomsphere-cozy, small, good service- of Ribolitta.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bunnyfood

          MY VOTE IS FOR RIBOLITTA, but I also like
          Macaroni Grill.

          1. re: irwin

            I was not impressed with Ribolitta's - but this was years ago. Do they still use mostly fresh pasta in their dishes? I always preferred dry.

        2. Reporting back: We do like Ribolittas, but have been several times and wanted to try a new restaurant. We went to Cinque Terre. A little pretentious but appetizer and entrees were very good. Desserts did not fare as well. The apple crostata was only fair, was served cold and neither pastry nor filling was notable; pumpkin spice gelato was very strange consistency, almost dry and crumbly. When the waiter asked how we liked the gelato (most of it remained uneaten) we told him that the consistency was dry. He explained it was probably because it had been made a while ago and wasn't one of the flavors made in the last couple of days. We were surprised he did not remove the charge fromt the bill. Guess you have to still pay even if gelato is old and dry! Most restaurants, even ones where you pay a fraction of the price of Cinque Terre, would not have charged us. We won't be back. For fine dining we love Brescas or 555, for casual we'd return to Ribollittas and Pepper Club.

          1. Next time try Rachel's on Woodfords St. Just excellent Italian. Only complaint is that the owner (?) seems to be the only server and when the restaurant is crowded he cannot deliver the quality of service equal to the quality of the food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: StevensAve

              Second the motion: food is uniformly good--limited menu,"traditional" but well-prepared, always tasty. Very decent wine selections as well: generally good value.