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Lorenzo’s Tavalo Caldo

Name: Lorenzo’s Tavalo Caldo
Location: 3807 N Mississippi Avenue
Portland, OR 97227
Contact information: 503.284.6200
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: Approx. $8 for an entree, $4 for an appetizer
Reservation recommended: None taken
Good for: Cheap, easy Italian
Insider tip: Things move a little on the slow side, even for counter-service

Review: Let me start off my saying, the food at Lorenzo’s isn’t that great. It’s about what you’d expect from a meal prepared at home…except you didn’t have to cook it AND it’s located on the hipster Mississippi Avenue.

Bread was a starter (small or large, $2 and $4, respectively) and came in two varieties. My $4 stuffed mushroom appetizer consisted of three tiny crimini mushrooms with blue cheese. Nothing I couldn’t do at home without a little motivation and fresh ‘shrooms.

Dinner was a simple pesto dish (around $8) and my friend ordered spinach and ricotta gnocchi (also around $8) Now his was interesting – four mounds of cheese, mashed potato and spinach covered with plain marinara sauce. Points for creating gnocchi that never looked like anything I’d eaten or tasted previously, but still pretty plain.

Food is counter service, as is water (no, you can’t get ice) but dishes are served at your table, and you pay after eating. Lorenzo’s is a cheap night out, but I’d suggest upping it a few dollars and heading downtown to Piazza Italia.