Foodie Restaurant Recommendations in Portland.
September 22, 2015 7:04 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I will be heading to Portland this week. We visited a couple years ago and had some amazing food thanks to some recommendations from Portland MeFites. We'd love some updated recommendations for where to eat over the next couple days!

In 2011 we traveled to Portland for vacation. (Here's the IRL post I made) Generally when we travel, food and drink are the highlights of our trip. While we were there last, we had some great meals at Le Pigeon, Beaker and Flask, and Pok Pok, along with several others mentioned in the post. I'm sure the dining landscape has changed in the 4+ years since we were there. Help us eat and drink our way through the best of Portland's food scene!
posted by This Guy to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Papa Haydn, mostly for desserts.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 7:46 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by Gorgik at 7:47 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Screen Door!

long wait but so worth it.
posted by larthegreat at 8:40 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pambiche for great Cuban food and festive atmosphere.
posted by rivtintin at 8:53 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Current faves that weren't there 4 years ago: American Local, Bollywood Theater (the location across from American Local), P.R.E.A.M. for excellent pizza and loud hip-hop, Expatriate (a cocktail bar with great snacks/food), Angel Face (also a cocktail bar, affiliated with Navarre, next door, which has been there for a while but is excellent as well). You can go to all of these without a reservation (some don't take them) but there may be a wait on busier nights. My favorite special event restaurant, for which you'll need a reservation, is D.O.C. Their newer casual restaurant next door, Nonna, is yummy too.
posted by outfielder at 9:22 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Portland Eater's current list of the various new hot places is worth looking at, and if you enjoyed Beaker & Flask (now sadly closed) the B&F bar manager went to La Taq on NE Killingsworth.

I second PREAM and Expatriate for sure, and have been meaning to go to Smallwares but have not made it yet. La Moule just opened and I haven't been yet, but I am super excited about it. We've visited both Smokehouse 21 and Muscadine and enjoyed both very much (though neither are vegetarian-friendly at all). We've had several enjoyable dinners at Ned Ludd on NE MLK. I've also been meaning to try Verdigris on NE Fremont, it looks charming. Pollo Norte does awesome chicken in a teeny little space in NE, and Mi Mero Mole is a great lunch or casual dinner at any of their locations.
posted by Kpele at 9:36 AM on September 22, 2015

Nong's Khao Man Gai : Simple and quick and one of the best dishes in PDX.
OX: Known for their meat, but the side dishes are really the stuff to try. You have to order the clam chowder.
Smallwares is also delicious. Order the fried Kale, also have great drinks. I personally hate the restaurant atmosphere in front, but they have the full menu in the bar in back. The brunch there is also really really good if you are looking for something unique (not eggs and bacon, and usually no wait).
Eb & Bean: I am not a person who eats Frozen Yogurt regularly, but this place is really good. I would go to it over any other PDX ice cream spot.
Toro Bravo: Been around for a while, but still one of the most consistently good spots. or Mediterranean Exploration Company: Same owner/chef, different part of the world, really good.
Bamboo Sushi: Sustainable Sushi
Blossoming Lotus: If you want to see that vege/vegan can be so good.
If you are looking for that "Portland" food feeling Higgins or Paley's Place

I could keep going if there are specific cuisines you like; or for Beer, Coffee, Wine etc. Don't eat bad food while you're in Portland!
posted by Packy_1962 at 9:37 AM on September 22, 2015

My favorite food cart was The Whole Bowl, if you're into that. There is one item on the menu, which is just beans, rice and other toppings in a bowl, but their garlic-lemon "Tali sauce" is really delicious.

My favorite casual dining, if you like Indian, was the Bollywood Theater. The papri chaat is so good.

As for a nice sit-down place with waiter service, I don't know. But the line every time I passed Screen Door suggests to me that people really, really like it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:42 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sen Yai for noodles/Thai food. Same people as Pok Pok, less wait. (And right up the street is their Whiskey Soda Lounge. Get drinking vinegar -- SO GOOD).

Also then you can walk over to Salt and Straw for ice cream. Win-win!
posted by at 10:21 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Levant is fantastic. I had one of the best meals of my 2014 there.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:30 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm recommending a food cart, which I know might not seem like a fine foodie suggestion, but please trust me on this.

Carte Blanche is responsibility for many of my top 10 meals in PDX, over the half dozen years I lived there. I couldn't recommend them enough. Such good composition and complexity of flavors. I've never had anything I didn't love.
posted by sazerac at 12:22 PM on September 22, 2015

Tiffin Asha is my favorite food cart; it is on Mississippi.

I don't get out much to nice sit-down restaurants (*cough* toddler *cough*) but I recently tried Kachka and was very impressed.
posted by medeine at 1:20 PM on September 22, 2015

Not a Portlander, so I'll don my flame proof suit before saying that breakfast/brunch at Tasty n Alder was the best meal we had when we visited earlier this year.
posted by cnc at 9:10 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I guess you did say "foodie." But I want to recommend some (relatively) lowbrow places. You can eat at such places in Portland, where the competition is pretty fierce. (Unlike, say, Denver, where not too long ago I ate at a Thai joint where the peanut sauce seemed to be straight out of the Skippy jar.)

Anyway, my list: for Pizza--Ken's on NE 28th Ave. or Apizza Scholls on Hawthorne. For Mediterranean food--Nicolas on Grand Avenue or Cedo's on MLK (super cheap, but the best gyros and falafel in existence). Two of my favorite Thai places are the Red Onion in NW and Cha Ba Thai on Alberta. There's a Mexican-ish restaurant called Verde Cocina that's worth your time, too.

Have a great vacation! Then, go away.
posted by O. Bender at 9:32 PM on September 22, 2015

Coquine and Grain and Gristle are two interesting and very Portland restaurants in quiet residential neighborhoods in SE Portland. Coquine has just opened to rave reviews, so you'll need reservations. Grain & Gristle is much more casual (and much less spendy). Both are on bus lines.
posted by monotreme at 10:32 PM on September 22, 2015

I was in Portland this summer and the best meal I had was from the Koi Fusion food cart. So good. (And of course food carts are appropriate recommendations! What foodie would go to PDX without eating at some food trucks??)

I also had an extremely delicious brunch at Tasty and Sons, which is owned by the same person (people?) as the aforementioned Toro Bravo. Really good.
posted by lunasol at 3:49 AM on September 23, 2015

Thanks for the great recommendations so far. We are staying in SW near pioneer square so any places nearby would be great although I'm not seeing too much. We are more than willing to cab or train to find good food of we need to go over to SE or NE. We live in Charleston so I think we are shying away from some of the Southern places (although they do look good!). I'm definitely interested in food trucks for lunch options. We generally love Italian/medditerran and French although I'm a big fan of Asian. Less excited about Indian, sadly.

Packy_1962 I like a lot of those suggestions so is love to hear any more!
posted by This Guy at 11:51 AM on September 24, 2015

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