Cafe Mingo is a sister restaurant to Bar Mingo, which is right next door. I've eaten in the Bar and the food was good, but the Cafe outdid her brother. From the wine through the salad to the entree, everything was wonderful. My salad was the butter leaf lettuce with shaved fennel, grapes, prosecco vinaigrette, candied walnuts and wine soaked cheese. It would have been melt in your mouth perfection, had the lettuce pieces been cut to a more comfortable size. The fennel and walnuts were perfect additions to this starter. I also tasted my friend's risotto, saucy and flavorful, and the rice was cooked with just a bit of a bite. Couldn't ask for better. We both followed our starters with the sugo of beef braised in Chianti and espresso, with penne pasta. Unlike most Italian restaurants the entree wasn't terribly huge--just perfect for one serving. And the meat was super tender and very, very flavorful. The amount of sauce was minimal, just coating the pasta--just the way it should be. Both my friend and I agreed that the chef couldn't have made it any better than it was.
If there is a negative it is that the restaurant is very small, and rapidly got super-crowded, though the noise level was kept low.
Cafe Mingo is located in a very busy area of Portland, and on-street parking is minimal. We were very, very happy to find that aroud the corner, in back of the restaurant, is a valet parking area. This made our trip to Cafe Mingo even better.
We will return!
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