On my last visit to Portland, Oregon back in November, I purposely made room in my eating schedule to check out Nostrana. I was curious to see how their pizza would stack up against the other famous pizza joints as I often see Nostrana mentioned as one of the Top 3 places for pizza in Portland along with Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza.
As I had a rather ambitious eating schedule in an attempt to check out any many places as possible during my short stay in Portland, I was happy to learn that Nostrana had a late night Happy Hour beginning at 9pm nightly. The Happy Hour food specials included authentic wood-fired Italian pizza, charcuterie, the signature Insalata Nostrana, mac & cheese, as well as various bar snacks.
To start, My friend C and I decided to share an order of the Charcuterie ($5 for Happy Hour version). It consisted of some prosciutto and salami slices along with some cornichons and quince jelly. Considering this was only $5, the Charcuterie platter was good but it didn’t have much of a wow factor. I think on my next visit, I’ll opt to try the signature Insalata Nostrana, which is similar to a Caesar salad, except with radicchio instead of romaine.
But what we really came for was the pizza. We ordered the Pizza Margherita ($6 during Happy Hour; $12 during lunch and dinner), which came topped with house mozzarella, tomato, and basil. We had the option to add additional toppings such as salt-cured anchovies ($3), arugula ($3), or La Quercia prosciutto Americano ($4) to our pizza. We chose to add the arugula and prosciutto so our pizza came out to $13. The pizza was served in traditional Italian-style, which meant leaving the pie uncut and we were, interestingly, provided with scissors, which I’d never seen before, to do our own cutting. The pizza had a light and fluffy, yet crunchy cornicione (crust) with blackened blisters. The center was thin and soft with the cheese perfectly melted as authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas should be. The blistered crust was light and crispy with a bit of chewiness and had the leoparding (leopard-spotting) on the bottom that the pizza aficionados look for in a well-made pie. The ingredients were definitely fresh and well-selected. Italian San Marzano DOP tomatoes are used on the pizzas as well as a creamy fresh housemade mozzarella.
To me, the pizza was definitely the star of the show at Nostrana. If you get it without the extra toppings like anchovy, arugula, or prosciutto, the Pizza Margherita with house mozzarella, tomato, basil ($6) and the Pizza Marinara with tomato, garlic, wild oregano ($5) are certainly a steal during Happy Hour. I can’t think of any place where you can get a well-executed authentic Neapolitan-style pizza at those prices. I’d definitely be back to Nostrana again on my next visit to Portland.
1401 SE Morrison