Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nonna - Homemade Italian Comfort Food in Portland

Last weekend, I found myself having a fun girls night with friends Sonya and Liz, presenting a great opportunity to try a new restaurant for dinner.  Looking for something cozy, delicious and not too high maintenance, we decided on a quaint little neighborhood Italian joint called Nonna.

A dimly lit, comforting vibe enveloped us as soon as we walked into Nonna.  To our surprise, the space is larger than we thought, sporting a large, welcoming bar that cuts the restaurant's space in half, allowing you to sit on either side of it, essentially.  If you make your way around the bar towards the back restaurant, I think you'll love its privacy and access to the semi open kitchen.  This is exactly where we sat, and I must admit that I liked seeing what the chefs were cooking up and knowing when our food would arrive.

Even though the menu was limited, there were lots of simple yet delicious sounding options to choose from.  The menu's brevity helped us decide quickly and I personally didn't have doubts about my choice.

Calamari Salad
- Eager to try the calamari, I liked its simple and fresh presentation, as the marinated calamari was speckled with bits of tomato and fresh herbs.  I'm happy to say that the calamari was presented in bite sized chunks and that it was super fresh - spritzed with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Why mess with good ingredients?

Bolognese Pasta - I love me a good Bolognese and couldn't resist trying Nonna's version, which was both delicious and plentiful.  The pasta tasted fresh and was cooked perfectly al dente, letting the hearty Bolognese adhere to it, dutifully.  There were plenty of meaty chunks in the sauce, which made the dish hearty and so much so that I had to take about half of it home.  Needless to say, the leftovers didn't go to waste.

Other dishes - Sonya and Liz ordered the seafood stew and a simple angel hair pasta dish with tomato, garlic, and cheese, respectively.  I think Sonya liked her dish more than Liz, as it was more complex, while Liz was disappointed they didn't have her beloved ravioli on the menu anymore.

Service and Cost:
I have to give a big kudos to the service at Nonna, as we were treated really well from start to finish.  Our waiter was charming and attentive and provided everything we needed when we needed it.  Being very frank about the new chef at the restaurant, he remained patient with us and went into detail about the ingredients in their dishes.

Costs are moderate to inexpensive, especially for a nice restaurant on a Saturday evening.  My portion of the bill came out to about $24 including tip, which I thought was very reasonable - even more so since I had leftovers to take home.

3 Mmmms

Nonna - 5513 NE 30th Avenue, Portland OR 97211

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