I’ve been wanting to try Simpatica Dining Hall for quite some time now. I’m always excited to see their weekly email, detailing the week’s menu pop up in my inbox. Finally, a couple weeks ago, a menu that my boyfriend couldn’t resist was in that email, and he made the reservation.

But, I’ll back up a bit. Simpatica is a dining hall, or a supper club, if you will. They serve one Prix Fix menu on Friday night, and one on Saturday night. An email is sent out each week detailing what both nights’ menus will be. That email is your cue to book reservations, and book fast! Simpatica also serves brunch on the weekends, and rumor is that the brunch is quite fantastic.

We’d heard from friends before we went that we should try and be seated by the kitchen. When we arrived, we were thrilled to be seated right next to the kitchen, where we could watch the chefs at work. Menus were at each place setting, along with tasty almonds with sea salt. Each course had a suggested wine pairing, but we opted to order a bottle of wine. The wine we ordered was delicious, but I think next time we’ll go with the suggested pairings.

First Course: White Bean Stew with Guanciale, Last Summer’s Tomatoes and Housemade Proscuitto – Honestly, this is something I never would have ordered on my own. But, I would have missed out, because it was delicious. The housemade proscuitto was fantastic, and the broth had just the right amount of bite to it.

Second Course: Mizuna Salad with Lardons and Red Wine Poached Egg – It was at this course, I decided to take pictures. I love poached eggs, especially over salads, and this one was a treat. The red wine added a lovely color to the egg and while I expected the red wine flavor to be overwhelming, it was not at all. Delicious salad, overall.

Third Course: Braised Piedmontese Shortribs with Handkerchief Pasta, Watercress and Arugula – I don’t think I have the words to tell you how much I loved this dish. Shortribs are quite possibly my favorite food, and this preparation was just perfect. The arugula provided a nice bit of crunchiness the watercress added some nice flavor. At this point, I was getting quite full, and knew I needed to save room for dessert, so I took about half of this home with me. The suggested wine pairing for this course was Domaine la Soumade Rasteau, which we each decided to have a glass of. It was a perfect, perfect pairing.

Fourth Course: Chocolate Panna Cotta with Espresso-Carmel Sauce – Unfortunately, I do not have a photo to show you of this dessert. But, I will tell you that I’ve thought of this dessert often since dining at Simpatica and I hold it in my Top 5 Dessert List. It tasted like the carmel in the espresso-carmel sauce may have been salted a bit, which was a nice touch.

Overall, I’m thrilled with our dinner at Simpatica. The food was amazing, and the atmosphere was cozy. I’m already plotting our next trip back – for both dinner, and brunch.

Tips: Sign up to receive the weekly email, and if something catches your eye, call immediately for reservations. Reservations are required for dinner. If sitting at a table with people you don’t know doesn’t appeal to you, invite your friends! I think this would be an awesome dining experience with great friends. Also, if you can, see if you can be seated by the kitchen – we enjoyed watching the meals be put together. If you get there a bit too early, like we did, have a drink at Biwa next door (the Campari cocktail is delightful!).

Need more convincing? See what other people have to say about Simpatica Dining Hall.

about author Rhiannon West Chamberlain

Rhiannon is a native Oregonian who grew up exploring the nooks and crannies of the Oregon Coast and daydreaming in Powell’s City of Books. She now lives in NE Portland with her husband and her new baby boy and looks forward to teaching him to love Oregon as much as she does. Rhiannon attended both the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where she studied Journalism and Mass Media. She claims to ‘bleed green’ and happily cheers for both the Ducks and the Vikings every chance she gets. In her free time, Rhiannon enjoys sipping Oregon Pinot, finding new restaurants, bargain hunting and trying new recipes – sometimes successfully. She has a child-like enthusiasm for trying new things and rediscovering old ones – such as skee-ball, mini golf, and big slides.

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