A new neighborhood trattoria offers refined Tuscan dining among friends.
Although it’s quickly earned a loyal following for its fabulous food and genial service, Nicoletta + Beppe’s (1230 NW Hoyt St, 503-208-2992, nicolettabeppes.com) is still a relatively new face to some, having opened just last July. However, this elegant yet relaxed trattoria in a narrow, high-ceilinged space just off bustling NW 13th Avenue is part of a well-established Portland-area restaurant family that includes Lake Oswego’s popular Nicoletta’s Table & Marketplace and Nicoletta’s Caffe, on the leafy campus of Oregon College of Art and Craft.
The restaurants were founded by husband-and-wife Alan and Shari Newman and inspired by the couple’s close friends, Giuseppe and Nicoletta Torriti, who reside in the beautiful Tuscan hill town of Cortona. It’s no surprise that the inviting vibe and soulful cooking at N+B’s captures the feel of dining with good friends.
Chef Victor Lopez has created a menu that suits a range of different tastes and budgets. The pizzas and a couple of the pasta dishes, including a deliciously hearty spaghetti with carbonara sauce, are priced in the mid-teens, while a 16-ounce Parmesan-breaded bone-in veal chop will set you back $38—a fair exchange for so prodigious and satisfying a plate. Among starters, don’t pass up the crisp-and-creamy polenta frites or tender pan-seared octopus. The slightly spicy Calabrese “diavola” pizza with sopressata, tomato purée, Mama Lil’s peppers, and whole-milk pizza is packed with flavor, as are the pillowy gnocchi with sweet Italian sausage and a roasted pepper–vodka sauce.
The noteworthy cocktail list features well-prepared classics—negronis, limoncello lemon drops—and novel creations, including a summery Trillium barrel-aged gin with Aperol, lime, simple syrup, rhubarb bitters, and ginger ale. But it’s the carefully curated wine list that truly stands out. It’s broken down into several regions and includes great bottles at several price points, from voluptuous Piedmontese Barolos and Barbarescos to rustic Nero d’Avolas and Aglianicos from the south.
At the back of the dining room, several seats line an intimate marble-top bar where you can sip wine and enjoy any of the dishes from the full menu. It’s a lovely spot to partake of N+B’s generous happy hour, offered from 3 until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The restaurant also has a few tables on the sidewalk out front, which is especially popular with the bustling lunchtime crowd. – Andrew Collins | Photos by Paul Wagtouicz