Cafe Castagna’s virtues are many, from the welcoming neighborhood bistro feel to the famed Castagna burger to the blooming side garden patio that just might be the perfect place to spend every single summer supper, were you that lucky.
Far less starched than adjoining Castagna restaurant, there’s nary a white tablecloth to be found in the cafe, and the menu loosens its tie as well, offering up casual but expertly prepared gastropub classics like a superb roast chicken with olive tapenade butter, grilled hanger steak with red wine-Walla Walla onion vinaigrette, spicy Italian sausage-topped thin crust pizza, herbaceous butter lettuce salad, and a burger you’ll be thinking about for days afterwards, alongside more sophisticated fare like sautéed sea scallops with fennel and grapefruit, chitarra with prawns and agretti, and elegant sautéed Columbia River Chinook salmon with fingerling potatoes, agretti and salsa verde.
House cocktails are excellent, the wine list is first rate, and even teetotalers get to have a little fun with the foam-topped Thomas Kemper root beer float, served in a cold ‘n frosty pint glass that looks very much at home on one of the aforementioned garden patio tables at the end of your nightly summer supper.
Cuisine: New American
Executive Chef: Justin Woodward
Owner: Monique Siu
Chef de Cuisine: Jeff Emerson
Atmosphere: Lively, bustling, a quintessential neighborhood bistro
Outdoor seating: A handful of tables on the garden patio, which make for very enjoyable seating on a warm afternoon or evening
Best Seat: I prefer the bar, but you might like a two-top along the front window
Noise Level: Energetic - Boisterous
Bring the Kids: Yes
Bathrooms: Head towards the back, past the kitchen and the bread cutting area, into the hallway, directly to your left.
Parking: Free and relatively easy to find on SE Hawthorne and surrounding side street
Beer: Two Oregon beers on tap ($3-$4), a half dozen bottled beers ($3-$7), Strongbow cider ($4), non-alcoholic beer ($4)
Wine: Mostly French and Italian wines, a few German and Austrian selections, nice assortment of Oregon wines and sparklies; bottles range from $30-$200+, quite a few of the wines fall in the $40-50 range; wines by the glass are available, $8-$15
Teetotalers: Homemade ginger soda, Thomas Kemper root beer, Aranciata, Limonata
Ideal Meal: Butter lettuce salad, Castagna burger or the roast chicken, and a root beer float
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Vegan Friendly: Yes
Good for the following occasions: Out With Friends, Family Meal, Casual Date, Dining Alfresco, Happy Hour
Reservations: Accepted for parties of 5 or more