I have heard the praises of Genoa on this board and if money was no object, I'd go.
But where do you go when you want good Italian (NOT primarily PIZZA and PASTA, a full menu) that is kind to the wallet. I'm talking $30-40 for 2 people without drinks or wine...entrees around $9-$15 that come with a veg or pasta; dinner deals (soup or salad, entree with veg or pasta, dessert/coffee) for about or under $20 per person; glasses and bottles of wine reasonably priced - $4-6/glass, more than one bottle on the list under $20; etc. A casual place with no reservations needed... Am I dreaming??
I'm not talking about purely pasta places - I'm looking for complete old school Italian with dishes like veal marsala, saltimbocca, parmigiana, piccata, etc. on the menu done deliciously. Places where you don't have to order the pasta al dente, because it comes that way, and properly so. Places where the red sauce doesn't taste like it came from a can.
East side is better than west side for me, but please, don't limit yourself if there's this awesome place I have to try across the river. I just find that we don't head west all that much when we just want a fairly inexpensive dinner...
A friend of my partner's recommended Denicola's on Powell to us, but I thought it really sucked, and Mama Maria's on Powell at SE 53rd (practically down the block from us) was worse than that. La Terrazza isn't awful for lunch when I need a sit-down place downtown, but isn't really where I'd go for dinner...and their lunch menu is mostly pasta, anyway.
SO, you PDX 'Hounds, where should we go??
P.S. - Today marks exactly one year that I have been a Portlander...it's been a great year and I love this city!!
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