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Nostrana, Portland, Oregon, August 2, 2015

Our Weekly Pizza has been on duty all summer, I just have not had time or inspiration to write about what have amounted to repeat visits (Rossini) or sub-par experiences in Ortisei. This week we had a real treat while traveling to lovely Portland, Oregon: Nostrana makes a wood-fired pizza I would put up against many we have had in Italy.

Nostrana's traditional forno a legna.

Nostrana’s traditional forno a legna.

This is a vast space, reinforcing the impression of giant-everything here in America. Nostrana was rockin’ on a Sunday night, absolutely packed with diners. Ric and I ordered pizzas with some trepidation but were rewarded with excellent pies, flavorful, not overloaded with ingredients, with a chewy crust. Unlike many pizza experiences in the U.S., the pies were individual, sized for personal consumption, just like in Italy.

Each pizza diner received a shears instead of a knife. Absolutely brilliant!

Each pizza diner received a shears instead of a knife. Absolutely brilliant!

An improvement on knife-and-fork for pizza cutting, our server handed us each a pizza shears. I so want to carry one of these with me dining in Roma! Dull knives are the enemy of the pizza experience in Roma, but these shears made short work of slicing. Each diner got their own shears.

Our friends think Ken’s Artisan Pizza is better. I had their pizza years ago and it was good, but Ken’s is the kind of place you have to get in line for at 16:00 for the opening at 17:00 if you want a table without waiting for two hours. Too early for us now that we are Italianized.

I want one of these to carry in my purse in Roma.

I want one of these to carry in my purse in Roma.

 

We were shocked by the prices! In Roma, our most expensive pizza dinner will run about €50.00. Call that $55.00 for two at today’s exchange rate. (In the past it was as high as $65.00-70.00 due to the exchange rate.) That will buy us two pizzas, some fritti or a dessert, a bottle of wine, and a liter of mineral water. At Nostrana, there were five of us dining. Four pizzas, one pasta, two salads, four glasses of wine and four of beer, one large San Pellegrino, plus four desserts with a grappa for Ric, came to $210.00 PLUS TIP. So if Rossini is $27.50 per person, Nostrana came to $50.00 per person! For pizza! Pizzas were $16.00-17.00 each versus €10.00 or 11.00 at Rossini, but it was the wine and beer that made such a big difference. We can get a decent bottle for €17.00 at Rossini, where Nostrana was about $10.00 per glass.

Cavernous Nostrana. Interesting menu that I would call "inventive Italian."

Cavernous Nostrana. Interesting menu that I would call “inventive Italian.”

The price shock at Nostrana continued a trend started at some meals in San Francisco and was not the only sticker shock we had in Portland. Suddenly prices in Roma are not looking so bad, especially if the exchange rate stays low.

 

 

Pizza Quality: 3 Flavorful ingredients, a good crust from a wood-fired oven, and some creative toppings.

Service: 3 Good service without being annoyingly intrusive nor overly friendly. (I hate it when they try to be your best friend.) Reservations HIGHLY recommended.

Ambiance: 3   Indoors or out, very nice, casually elegant. A little noisy due to high ceilings, but it does not detract from the experience.

Total Points: 9  Considering this is in the U.S., high praise from Our Weekly Pizza

Nostrana's pizza salumi, with finocchiona salami, tomato, provolone, house mozzarella, oregano, honey, and special house peppers. Note the telltale sign of a wood oven.

Nostrana’s pizza salumi, with finocchiona salami, tomato, provolone, house mozzarella, oregano, honey, and special house peppers. Note the telltale sign of a wood oven.

Returnability:  The Best! Go out-of-your-way to eat here; take a cross-town bus or a cab ride if necessary, but only if you are already in Portland.

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One comment on “Nostrana, Portland, Oregon, August 2, 2015

  1. […] Pizza. Papa Murphy’s Take-and-Bake will no longer cut it. There is good pizza in Portland: Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza are renowned, with wood-fired pizzas and high-quality ingredients, but you have to line up about 17:00 to get in. We can barely stand to eat before 20:00 anymore. Nostrana has great pizza, too, but costo molto! […]

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