I love the Portland restaurant scene. We have had our fair share nights out, but not as much as we like. A lot of times we've driven by a place prior so we try it, or we go online and look at websites. Nothing worse than the restaurant that hired a great web designer but fails in the real world. I didn't want to make this mistake for my Birthday night so I asked my Facebook friends for ideas to celebrate my birthday. I got about 41 responses which made for a lot of research the night before. Here is what my status line said for criteria:
ok time for input..restaurant favs: please no chains or seafood.. Here's what I like: cozy, vintage, old, romantic, wood floors, chandeliers etc. just to give you a direction but not to eliminate- Food: Italian, Amer. Cuisine, Mexican and Asian, however I do not want to look at Origami or Sombreros all night.
We ended up at this great little place in Laurelhurst are call El Piatto .
El Piatto certainly fit the bill, and it was on our Passport Card which gives one meal free so that was an extra perk. I wouldn't say it was fancy, but it was elegant and charming in it's own way, with eclectic decorations vintage style, low light (which made it tough for quality i-phone pictures) chandeliers, cozy draped nooks with tables, candles and long beautiful drapes on the windows. We were greeted by a cute waitress who looked like she was plucked out of the local vintage shop. Loved her! The dinner salad was delicious with warm bacon squares on top of this delightful pile of spinach. The pears tasted like they were from Heaven. My entree, a Penne Pasta with tasty white wine sauce, was delicious. I wanted to eat it all, but I was so full which made for a great take home lunch for the next day. The chicken Ward ordered was not his favorite choice but not because it wasn't a good dish, he just didn't choose wisely for him (he had another bad ordering night the following night when he made yet another terrible choice in ordering the delicious sounding "special"). It is a perfect place for colder folks as about every 10 minutes the World War II Military surplus heater dangling from the ceiling in the far corner fires up and about 10 seconds later the guests are blanketed with a mighty gust of hot air. We were dressed rather cozy and warm so this gust was quite surprising and next time I'll certainly bring my vintage hanky to dab the sweat beads from our brows.
The only thing I would suggest when making a reservation is to specify what kind of table you would like. There are some tables that are right out there in the open that are great for larger parties, but not as quaint as the draped alcoves. Hopefully, they would think to save one of the nicer spots for a reservation (if you mention that on the online form which we did not) but that must have not crossed their minds at all until the host and I did a stare down. We ended up being seated and waited until one of the other nicer tables came available. One by the window, which also gave me a show of all the cyclist commuters zooming by. Ward's was facing the opposite direction in view of that heater.
There were so many great suggestions from my facebook friends, we have a great list for the next time out and I'll be sure to write a review.