Where to go to Dinner in Portland Oregon?
March 1, 2014 5:07 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I will be in Portland, Oregon for a Saturday night in about 6 weeks - I'd like some help narrowing down a restaurant choice...

I am vegetarian, he is not - but is generally happy with vegetarian options, so an all veggie restaurant is okay - a steakhouse is not. :)

We don't drink, so wines / wine lists are not important to us.

I'd like something fresh and local focused - I'm not super concerned about price. It would be great to stay under $200, which seems like a great deal of money for dinner with no wine, so I anticipate should cover most options.

Other than the need for some good vegetarian menu options and a preference for something with a local vibe, we are really open. We need a place we can make reservations (I am a country mouse, so do not know if there are places where it is always just first come first serve) - we have tickets to a show at 8 pm and will want to be able to make certain we have been fed prior.

Oh. And I like dessert. I really really like dessert. Sometimes I order it first so I know I will have room. BUT - it might be that we do dinner / show / then out for dessert - so if there someplace with oh-my-heavens-good dessert only that is open late, I'd be super interested to hear about that.

Thanks so much!
posted by hilaryjade to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What part of town will you be in for the show? Downtown?
posted by bluedaisy at 5:09 AM on March 1, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, thank you - I should have mentioned that - it is at the Portland Expo Center.
posted by hilaryjade at 5:12 AM on March 1, 2014

Best answer: For just dessert, you can try Pix Patisserie at 24th and Burnside. They're open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights. It does get busy (and loud) depending on the time you go, but the desserts are really good.
posted by i feel possessed at 5:29 AM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't think there are a ton of great restaurants near the Expo Center. I haven't eaten at Natural Selection yet but it sounds really good and gets good reviews on Yelp. It's about ten minutes away from the Expo Center. And yeah, Pix for dessert!
posted by Beti at 7:31 AM on March 1, 2014

Not much around the expo center. My suggestion is Ned Ludd. Very local. Very delicious. Meat options but also vegetarian. The reason I recommend it is because the most amazing things I've had there are the veg sides. I had the most amazing carrots of my life at Ned Ludd. The space is very Portland in the best ways and located in the north side of town...on Williams, maybe? Check out their menu online.
posted by amanda at 7:54 AM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

First, you're right, many of the best restaurants in Portland don't take reservations, or only take them for parties of 6 or more. But, many do. I have been to Natural Selection and it is very, very good. One of my very favorites, D.O.C. is pretty special. The only problem might be that on Saturdays they only do 2 seatings, at 6:00 and 8:30, for the tasting menu, which is what you should get. I would call them and ask if you'd be done in time to get to the show, they are very friendly and accommodating. They'll tailor your meal to your dietary restrictions. Also in that neighborhood, Cocotte is yummy. Neither is too far from the Expo Center by car or cab.
posted by outfielder at 8:09 AM on March 1, 2014

This place doesn't necessarily have a local vibe, but I definitely recommend going to Pok Pok at some point. The food is super fresh and affordable, and there are veggie options.
posted by rcraniac at 8:32 AM on March 1, 2014

Sorry, this is a bit outside the scope of your question, but I have to recommend Prasad for lunch if you have the chance. Really lovely & unusual veggie bowls and salads.
posted by leitmotif at 8:49 AM on March 1, 2014

Best answer: If I were in Portland for one night only, I would eat at Higgins. It is downtown and not convenient to the Expo Center. But good vegetarian options and also meat. You can easily have a wonderful, special meal for under $200. Good desserts, too . . . . but you really cannot beat Pix for dessert, so . . .

Some people also really enjoy the Portland City Grill. Best part about it is the view (40 stories up!) It is kind of a "steakhouse," though. Happy Hour there for drinks in the bar is nice, too. Same view!
posted by ainsley at 10:06 AM on March 1, 2014

Best answer: Forgot to mention - Higgins is very local and focused on sustainability. And they take reservations!
posted by ainsley at 10:15 AM on March 1, 2014

One of my very favorites, D.O.C. is pretty special.

If you can go here once in your life, you should. The food and experience are quite special.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 AM on March 1, 2014

Definitely go with a place that takes reservations. The restaurants in Portland with no reservation policies have brought out a special ire in me. Basically you must show up at 4pm and put your name on their list. Or show up whenever and be told it's a three hour wait (yeah, not kidding).

Personally, I really enjoyed Portobello, a semi-upscale vegan restaurant, the one time I went. I am not vegan or vegetarian and went away impressed and satisfied.

And I will second Pix Patisserie as being a wonderful place for desserts!
posted by medeine at 12:19 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I haven't been there (yet), but the Farm Cafe has been getting good reviews for local, vegetarian-friendly cuisine. And it looks like they take reservations. Everyone I know who's been there raves about it.

In addition to Pix for desserts, I would also recommend Papa Haydn. Their desserts are amazing, and their dinners are also excellent. They have a NW location, as well as a SE option. Neither is close to the Expo Center, but they're not hard to get to either.
posted by hydra77 at 12:59 PM on March 1, 2014

I have been to the Farm Cafe twice on visits to Portland; I am a vegetarian and was very pleased, as were my carnivorous companions. Nice, cozy place with a pleasant vibe.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:35 PM on March 1, 2014

Response by poster: We may have to go to Pix for DINNER. I could fill up there to be sure. :)

I appreciate all the suggestions and information. When we get a place picked out, I'll be back to mark best answers. All the menus look so wonderful!

Just as note - I'm not particularly concerned about how close we are to the Expo Center, as long as we'll be able to enjoy a meal and arrive in time for our show....
posted by hilaryjade at 2:41 PM on March 1, 2014

If you decide on pok pok, don't order pok pok. Or if you do, don't order it with a crab substitution. The fish sauce wings are fabulous.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:54 PM on March 1, 2014

Pok Pok is delightful (although- only a small handful of vegetarian options, but I liked them), but you can wait *forever* (like, literally hours) there and they only do reservations for parties of 5 or more.
posted by charmedimsure at 8:46 PM on March 1, 2014

I was just in Portland a few weeks ago! It was lovely to visit after a few years away (so, unfortunately, my dinner recommendations would be mostly older places that I hadn't been to in years or recent places I'd only been to once or twice under friends' recommendations, so I trust other people to give you the best recent recs).

However, I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend Salt & Straw for ice cream (they're open until 11 PM!). The tasting experience alone is fantastic--they'll stay patiently with you as long as you need, and let you try a dozen things if you want, even if there's a line out the door (and there is, usually, a line out the door). It's really great. I do like both Pix and Papa Hadyn's (and I think both are open late?) and you'll get a more traditional baked goods sort of dessert there, but if you get another sugar craving late at night, Salt and Straw is great. Super local and fresh, too. Second dessert?
posted by spelunkingplato at 9:08 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Higgins really hard. Huge emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients, Northwestern cuisine, nice atmosphere, seriously good service, and the food is AMAZING.
posted by Specklet at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2014

My wife and I ate at Andina recently and loved it. It was very busy, but the food was top-notch. My link goes to their vegetarian menu.

It's located near downtown Portland.
posted by tacodave at 4:15 PM on March 3, 2014

Response by poster: Oh, thanks so much to everyone for suggestions!

Since our show was away from downtown, we to Pix first and picked up dessert to go for later. This meant we picked out dessert while we were hungry, which made it easy to load up on super beautiful sweets.

Then we went to Higgins for dinner and absolutely loved it. Gracious service and excellent food. After the show, we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed our dessert - I think I may have dreamed about that cream puff last night.

Next time we are going to go for D.O.C. And back to Pix for more dessert!
posted by hilaryjade at 7:46 AM on April 13, 2014

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