Nostrana Nirvana

Every so often I come across a restaurant that, despite tons of great reviews, I feel the need to be cliche and add to the already, over-the-top positivity that is out there. I mean, who in Portland hasn't either heard of or eaten at Nostrana? Well, this isn't likely news to many, but when dinner comes so well prepared and in such a great atmosphere (and at prices that are not ridiculous), it just merits some ink. Such is the case with Nostrana, the authentic, Italian eatery that finds its home in close-in SE Stumptown. 

 5 p.m. at Nostrana the place is quickly filing up. Reasons? Food to die for and tremendous service. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

5 p.m. at Nostrana the place is quickly filing up. Reasons? Food to die for and tremendous service. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

I have had the luxury of eating at Nostrana twice now, both times with my family of four. Yep, that means we had our two girls, ages 2 and 5, classing up the place! And while you don't see tons of little ones at the finer restaurants around town, there were quite a few on-hand both of the times we visited as we at at the opening hour of 5 p.m. Plenty of other parents thinking the same...get dinner done early with plenty of time left for a decent bedtime. Well, let's just say that a belly full of Nostrana makes all those nighttime duties so, so much easier ;). 

 I should have taken this picture before half of the pizza was gone...but that would have been a "quick draw" as my kids did this damage in about 4 minutes. O.K. They were hungry, and perhaps they had a little help from dad ;). Wonderful pizza. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

I should have taken this picture before half of the pizza was gone...but that would have been a "quick draw" as my kids did this damage in about 4 minutes. O.K. They were hungry, and perhaps they had a little help from dad ;). Wonderful pizza. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

The menu changes at Nostrana, but I can definitely report on the few items I've tasted and come to love. First, as both of my kids are lovers of pizza, the wood-fired pie at Nostrana is to die for. Thinner in crust, the sauce is old-world and the mix of cheeses takes it to a new level. Nostrana's pizza should be on the short list for anyone who likes this particular dish. Of course, I haven't gotten to try out their "gourmet" pizzas, which feature a variety of different sauces and toppings. No, I've been limited to cheese...but darn that cheese is good! 

 The open kitchen and wood-fired oven at Nostrana adds to the ambiance considerably. Plus, with things all in view, the smells eminating from within just go to work on your senses. Hmmm...I think I'm hungry right now! Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

The open kitchen and wood-fired oven at Nostrana adds to the ambiance considerably. Plus, with things all in view, the smells eminating from within just go to work on your senses. Hmmm...I think I'm hungry right now! Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

The first meal I enjoyed was the Gnocchi with Rogue smokey gorgonzola cream, walnut roasted sibley squash and aged balsamico. What can I say here other than 5-stars. Al dente perfection awaits with flavors through the roof. Secondly I had the Smoky Rotisserie Chicken with spicy onion relish, mashed potatoes alla parmigiana and braised kale. O.K. Who orders chicken in a fancy restaurant? Well, I did and do (sometimes) and let's just say I've never tasted better chicken in my life. I mean...it's that good. In fact, if you go for the pasta (can't go wrong) just do yourself a favor and get one of the roasted chicken entrees to place in the center of the table for sharing. You will be happy indeed. 

 The celebrated chicken. Go get some of this! I would have snapped a picture myself, but it was gone before I had the presence of mind. Image Courtesy: ChefsFeed

The celebrated chicken. Go get some of this! I would have snapped a picture myself, but it was gone before I had the presence of mind. Image Courtesy: ChefsFeed

 Check out the comment above about the chicken. It's not just me! Found this when Googling "Best Roasted Chicken in Portland" and this  link from Four Square  came up. Image Courtesy: FourSquare

Check out the comment above about the chicken. It's not just me! Found this when Googling "Best Roasted Chicken in Portland" and this link from Four Square came up. Image Courtesy: FourSquare

In business since 2005, Chef/Owner Cathy Whims has been nominated for the highly-coveted James Beard Award a total of six, yes six, times. Often seen at the restaurant, Cathy's expertise is seen, tasted and enjoyed in every single dish. Enjoy!

The Particulars

Nostrana is located at: 1401 SE Morrsion St ste 101, Portland, OR 97214

Menus: menus.nostrana.com

See their website here: www.nostrana.com

Hours: M-F 11:30-2 pm (lunch), then Re-opens at 5 p.m., closes at 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Fri/Sat.)

 

 

Dan Meyers