Caffe Allora

Restaurant $$

509 NW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97209 Pearl District Rate and review
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Concrete floors, cool blue tables and unframed abstract paintings are warmed by a welcoming staff of bustling, black-clad waiters. Choose between table service or lively conversation at the wine and espresso bar on the main floor. For a more intimate feel, climb the stairs to the loft and sink into a sleek, black, Italian-leather chair.

The straightforward cafe food begins with quality ingredients, but the end result can be uninspired. The Gorgonzola, pear and walnut bruschette, meat and cheese plate and chilled shrimp are assembled plainly, skimpily portioned and lack any memorable flair. Better bets are the creative salads and heartier pastas. Try the tonno salad, a refreshing combination of tuna, Italian pinto beans, crunchy celery and onion; or the al dente fettuccine with meaty ragu. Housemade tiramisu, anchored by rich, espresso-soaked sponge cakes, makes a satisfying finish.

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