02 December 2021
Montelupo‘s reviews are a confusing place to spend time, and I spent several occasions wandering through the reviews before making the decision to visit, so I’ll spare you: yes, the pasta is outrageously good (although according to one or two people there are aberrations to this universal awesomeness); yes the bread comes cold, although it is very good bread. On a chilly day like the one we visited, warm bread might be a welcome thing, so if it’s something you need, skip the otherwise obligatory Italian bread with olive oil. Or take the whole kit and caboodle home and everything can be served at the temperature you desire. Also: yes, everything comes out at once, with the exception of dessert. I too am a traditionalist and love the appetizer first, but that is not to be your Montelupo experience.
Unless you have reservations, you’ll sit outside, in a spacious but oddly college campus-like tent. I half-expected to be told about the reunion cocktail hour by my very young wait staff. All these things being said, I absolutely loved Montelupo and would go again.
It’s not just the very classically made, perfectly cooked and seasoned food. It’s the tiramisu. Absolutely, 100 percent, you must go with expectation of having this as your last course. I eat a lot of tiramisu; I worked an Italian restaurant in college (yes we served warm garlicky bread, I ate it as lunch with a giant side of marinara sauce many days, writing about it makes me hungry), visited Italy with a friend whose husband grew up there, so I have eaten far more than my share of tiramisu and prepared it too. This is absolutely the best. (There is probably better in Italy; but not in Portland.)
As experiences go I would recommend inside dining, unless you have a big group or are like me and don’t think far enough ahead for reservations. The very good market inside includes both to-go, heat-at-home entrees and pasta and sauce to cook and serve later, as well as some staples like olive oil and salt.
Montelupo, 344 NE 28th Avenue, is located on what once was known as “restaurant row,” a dense collection of great establishments spanning inner NE and SE 28th Avenue. They’re open early for coffee, 8 a.m. daily, and dinner is served 4 to 8:30 p.m. daily.