It has been awhile since I have been to a good Italian restaurant. We were treated to dinner at Nostrana last week for my birthday, kids included! I really appreciate a restaurant that is kid friendly and serves dynamite food. The service at Nostrana was great, they were friendly, and had no problem helping us clean up after my son knocked over a full glass of water. I would have liked the place just for the service alone, but the food was really good, so even better!
Nostrana is located in SE Portland, in the Belmont neighborhood on SE 14th and Morrison. Nostrana serves up pasta dishes and pizza. Naturally we had to try both so we ordered a cheese pizza for my 2 year old son. The pizza is made with house mozzarella cheese and cooked in a wood fired pizza oven.
Wouldn’t you know it the cheese pizza was too big for the kiddo to eat the whole thing, so the adults helped him out.
The cheese pizza was fantastic and was just as good as the wood fired pizza we regularly ate when we were in Italy. For a starter my wife and I shared a caesar salad.
This may be the best caesar salad I have ever had. I usually think these salads are pretty boring. My usual experience with a caesar salad at most italian restaurants is that its on the menu because it’s expected to be there. That may also be true with Nostrana as well but they take the time to make it fabulous. Sharing one was also plenty for two adults. For my pasta course I ordered the Strozzapreti.
Strozzapreti refers to the type of pasta noodle, think short, think, and hand rolled spaghetti noodle. These were clearly hand made and terrific. The sauce was a lemon arugula cream sauce with chinook salmon. The dish was amazing.
For dessert I ordered the butterscotch pudding with salted caramel. I was really reluctant to order it because I am not a fan of either butterscotch or pudding. However, I asked the server which dessert was their best and she said the butterscotch budino. I was skeptical but eager to find out. Which is why I don’t have a picture because I took a bite as soon as I got it. It was surprising how good it was.
Overall, this was one of the best dinners I have had in Portland in a long time. Everything about my meal was perfect. The service was impeccable and if you are looking for great italian food in a relaxed environment this is it.