Nicks Italian Cafe, McMinnville, Oregon

Nicks Italian Cafe just may be our favorite restaurant.  Heading to the International Pinot Noir Celebration, we planned an arrival one day early just so we could dine at Nick’s.  We visited Nick’s last year on an Oregon wine tasting trip and the memories of good food, atmosphere and fun were still firmly etched in our memories.   I don’t know what it is about Nick’s, but when you’re there, everyone is having such a good time, lots of laughter and lots of smiles.

We arrived 30 minutes early so that we could enjoy Nick’s Backroom experience.

A framed article that appeared in Saveur Magazine proudly displayed on the wall.

I ordered an Methven Pinot and Bob ordered a frosty and fresh Prosecco.  As we sipped our wine, we watched a group of folks at the next table enjoying Nick’s pizza.  Looked wonderful!!!!  A smaller less formal menu is available in the back room.

Moving to the front of the restaurant for dinner, we decided on a bottle of 2006 Eyrie Pinot in honor of David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards .  Last summer when we dined at Nick’s, David Lett and family were at the table next to ours celebrating his birthday.  Lett, one of the pioneers of Oregon Pinot, sadly passed away this past year.

After a toast to celebrate the beginning of this year’s Oregon trip, we began the arduous task of studying the menu and making difficult decisions on what to order.  Here’s what we decided on.

First Course:  Antipasti

Pea Tip Sformato with Pecorino Romano and Fried Mint.  Very adventurous, fabulous flavors and textures.  I found this dish very “high brow”.

Pickled Beets with Goat Cheese and Sea Salt.  Delicious and fresh, but not over the top.


Minestrone with Pesto.  Hands down the best minestrone I’ve ever had.  I guess I didn’t take a picture.  Looking back I assume that I slipped into some sort of slurping coma and forgot.


Spicy Ceci Bean with Squid and Fresh Herbs.  DEElicious and bursting with flavors.


Tagliolini with Sea Urchin.  We’ve never eaten Sea Urchin, a unique, one of a kind flavor and we especially liked it.

Dungeness Crab and Pine Nut Lasagna.  My favorite thing  on the table.


Mixed Greens with Garlic Rice Wine Vinaigrette

Baby Butter Lettuce with Prosecco Vinaigrette and Herbs


Steamed Halibut with Cauliflower Puree, Green Beans and Brown Butter

Lamb Three Ways with Fennel, Arugula, and Castelventrano Olives.   Castelventrano olives are my new favorites.  I didn’t know about them until our local Whole Foods started carrying them a couple of months ago.  Delicious, plus it’s awfully fun to drop them into a conversations when talking about food…I love saying the word and it makes me sound “smart”.  Gosh, sure hope I’m pronouncing it right.  :-)

Everything was interesting, delicious, and adventurous.  I’d have to say we voted our favorites as the Dungeness Crab and Pine Nut Lasagna and the Lamb Three Ways.  Mmmwaaaa – big kiss to Nick’s, we love, love, love this restaurant.



Just a couple more pictures of the back room.  This is the cozy little corner table we selected.   I didn’t take any of  the main part of the restaurant.  Didn’t seem appropriate.

On this day..

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  1. George White says

    Hi Lea Ann,
    Bob has probably told you already, but I just love reading your blog. Your writing is fun and fresh, and your photos have me checking the clock to see it it’s time to get out of here and grab some appetizers (though I’m not sure we’ll be getting any sea urchin tonight). You’re doing an amazing job and you can count me among your fans and faithful readers. Bon appetit!

  2. Vickie Hemphill says

    Love, love, love it! I want a taste of everything! What a great travel guide when we get out that way. Good job!

  3. Sarah says

    My name is Sarah and I’m with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about McMinnville to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)

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