DeNicola's Italian Restaurant

  • 2.67
  • Food:3.0
  • Decor:2.7
  • Service:2.3

3520 SE Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97202Portland  [ Map ]

(503) 239-5221  [ Website ]

Italian$20 - $29

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Reviews of DeNicola's Italian Restaurant  (3)

DeNicola's Italian Restaurant

    • 2.5
Portland has dozens, if not hundreds, of wonderful restaurants, but trying to find a family-style, mom and pop, down-home Italian restaurant without the foo foo plates, faux gourmet tiny portions, and absurd prices is like trying to find a liberal at a Trump rally. Then I saw Denicolas menu, photos and reviews online, and briefly, very briefly, had some hope. The smell was right when we walked in, but the place looks more like a Denny's than an Italian restaurant, bright lights, vinyl booth seats, and all. It took our server ten minutes to greet us and we rarely saw her after that. She took our order and brought us our bill, but other staff members did everything else. My wife ordered the Special of the Day, cheese ravioli in a creamy mushroom and Marsala sauce ($14.95) and I, the Veal Parmigiana ($21.50), both adding a side salad and the antipasto at $2.79 a pop. I had a glass of wine, the Dolcetto di Dogliani (2005), an Italian red ($6.25) that was decent for the price. The salads were small and simple, but fresh with romaine, grape tomatoes, and dressing on the side. The antipasto consisted of a few carrot slices, three small cubes of mozzarella, pepperoni and salami, and some peperoncini for two of us to share, accompanied by four slices of Italian bread and four small squares of focaccia topped with herbs and tomatoes. So far, so good. My wife's ravioli looked mass produced and frozen, but were plentiful and not that bad, and the mushroom Marsala sauce was actually very good. When my wife, who was born and raised in Italy, thinks American-Italian food is good, that is not a bad sign. She liked the sauce, but thought there was too much Marsala, but I had to disagree because there can never be too much Marsala ... Bravo! The veal was plentiful, but, like many places, a bit too thick, not pounded as thin as it should be before being breaded and pan fried. The veal was topped with ample sauce and mozzarella, then put under the broiler a tad too long. It was not bad, not the worst, but far from the best ... "così così" ("so-so" in Italian and pronounced like the word "cozy") as my grandfather would have said. The accompanying pasta with "meat sauce" had very little meat (or as the Wendy's lady used to say: "Where's the beef?") and was a bit on the skimpy side with barely enough sauce to coat the pasta. Once I did combine the two, adding a ton of parmesan for flavor, I saw that the pasta had not been drained well and there was water pooling underneath, one of the ten deadly sins of pasta serving (second photo below). The prices were not that bad, the food not that great, and the service only adequate. Denicolas would definitely be the best Italian restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas (not a high bar), one of the worst in Brooklyn, New York, and in Portland "così così" if that tells you anything. CombatCritic Gives Denicolas 5 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

    • 2.5
  • Food: 3.0
  • Decor: 2.5
  • Service: 2.0
  • Meal Price: $20 - $29
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Portland, OR – DeNicola’s Italian Restaurant

De Nicola's Italian Restaurant

It used to be my criteria for choosing a restaurant was to look for five words on the door:  ”Most Major Credit Cards Accepted.”     These days, I am more apt to seek out restaurants that have been around for multiple decades, and DeNicola’s has been serving Portlandians for over 30 years.  They must be doing something right.

We were out in the throes of a shopping excursion, and I suggested we pick up take-out sushi for Mrs. BDB, she never declines.  So she suggests (since I will pass on the sushi) that I order a pizza, and after an extremely weak protest from me against that concept, I succumb and fall into investigating on Delivered Dish, a service I use frequently and highly recommend.

My usual choice for ‘upmarket’ pizza delivery would be Cara Amico, purported to be Portland’s oldest Italian restaurant, and my favorite local pie for a variety of reasons.

But I was feeling ‘adventurous’ and chose De Nicola’s, as I have meant to try it for a long time.

They say they serve “New York style” pizza, and that all their crusts are “naturally thick”, but “thin” is available upon request.  So I went with a thin crust Meat Lovers  (Italian sausage, pepperoni, and salami) and doubled up on the cheese.   They call their 14″ pie a “small”, but that’s the standard size most pizzerias call “large”.

A choice of sauces is available, as well as a gluten free option, but I went traditional.

The pie was delivered promptly at the scheduled time, still hot in the box.  The dough was on the thinnish size, kind of bread-like in taste, with a crispy rim.  Quantity and quality of toppings was above adequate, and they use ‘real’ cheese as opposed to food service type “pizza topping.”   There is a moderate amount of “hang”, and toppings nor cheese are firmly implanted on the crust not to end up in the box, always a plus for me!

Reading different reviews on line, you will find references to “old school’ type food, or “dirty Italian” (a phrase I haven’t heard before, not a slam, apparently).

Verdict?  I liked the pie, and I will get it again, and look forward to a sit-down meal there in the future.   Their extensive menu offers a wide variety of traditional pasta dishes and entrees.

De Nicola's Italian Restaurant

  • De Nicola's Italian Restaurant 53781
  • De Nicola's Italian Restaurant 53782

Information of DeNicola's Italian Restaurant

3520 SE Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97202
Phone Number
(503) 239-5221
Average Price
$20 - $29 | Dinner

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