Casa Naranja- The Review

Casa Naranja- The Review

by Vanessa Anthony

Casa Naranja, or Orange house as it translates, has been open on the north end of Mississippi since June but I don’t think word has gotten out yet. Because if it had this place would be heavy with lines, the way Gravy is on weekend mornings.But the Casa does more than just a superb brunch- try the scramble with house smoked pork shoulder, caramelized onion, tomato and manchego (an aged sheep’s milk cheese from Spain- $9) they also serve lunch and dinner.

Naranja’s spacious seating area includes a large porch for lounging and outdoor dining on the back patio. Inside you’ll be treated to hardwood floors, dark wood tables, and rooms filled with gorgeous washes of color in bright combinations like warm Tuscan yellow, olive green, teal, chartreuse and magenta. Large windows envelope the house letting in lots of natural light and lending to the airy, open feeling. Local artists’ work displayed on the walls is colorfully complimentary to the décor and the bathroom here is one of the best in Portland- large, clean and tastefully decorated (extra points for supplying hand lotion.)

Brunch options include everything from their perfectly in-house smoked bacon and pork (featured in scrambles) Eggs Benedict ($7), fruit, granola and yogurt cup served gracefully in a puff pastry ($8), and captain crunch cereal ($2). Vegetarians will love the sautéed veggies and quinoa ($5).

The menu features both Spanish inspired items as well as Mediterranean fare with a bit of a Northwest bent as Naranja only uses the freshest (and mostly local) ingredients including free range beef from St Helens. Lunch and dinner options include starters from the soup du jour like their hearty version of sweet and tomatey pasta fagioli ($5), the freshly tart and creamy smooth juxtaposition of Mesclun greens tossed in balsalmic with gorgonzola, candied walnuts and crunchy julienned green apple ($4) and a daily rotating bruschetta ($4).

Then there are the small plates (or tapas) like the perfectly cooked tender calamari with lemon cayenne aioli or the spaghetti squash and grape tomatoes tossed in a honey almond sauce ($6). Entrees range from meatball sandwiches ($7 and to die for!), grilled chicken Panini with red onion and a spicy sofrito sauce ($7) to Dungeness crab ravioli in apple cilantro pesto served with sundried tomato baguette and seared flat-iron steak with asparagus and gratin potatoes (at $15- these are affordably, the highest priced items on the menu.)

Stop by for “Happy Hour” (from 4pm-6pm and 11pm to midnight) and enjoy reduced pricing on yummy small plates, including their delectable meatballs in creamy almond sauce and chorizo stuffed mushrooms served alongside $2.50 well drinks and $1.50 PBR from their well appointed full bar.

As great as all of the food is here, the staff from waiters to chefs, make any visit to Casa Naranja well worth it. They are super friendly, accommodating and eager to make you feel at home- if not like family. They even let me set up my laptop to work as I sampled their wares on a Sunday morning at brunch. Kudos, they have free wifi!

If you haven’t been to Casa Naranja yet I say this- go and try the homemade churros served warmly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with a luscious side of chocolate Cointreau dipping sauce- heaven!

Now Orange you hungry?

Casa Naranja
4205 N Mississippi Ave