Where to Eat in Portland Right Now — From Buzzy Restaurants to Food Carts

PDX's red-hot culinary scene shows no sign of cooling off.

best restaurants in Portland, Oregon
Departure

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Portland has long been known for its edgy and independent culinary scene, where innovative chefs are showcasing the Pacific Northwest's diverse natural bounty (produce, cheese, meats, and wine). PDX also has nationally recognized craft beer and coffee scenes, so you definitely won't go hungry or thirsty in this town. Here's where to eat on your next trip to Portland.

1. The Daily Feast PDX — Pearl District

Best Breakfast

Sit at the small U-shaped counter with teal-colored leather swivel seats at this retro-cool corner diner. Start out with an espresso or a smoothie, then choose from super healthy items like chia porridge with shredded coconut and toasted walnuts or a diet-be-damned chorizo breakfast burrito.

2. Kachka — Southeast

Best Modern Russian

Kachka

Haven't had Russian cuisine in a while — or ever? Do yourself a favor and try the insanely tasty dumplings, cabbage rolls, and caviar-topped blinis (along with some horseradish-infused vodka) at Kachka, which has been getting major buzz. The original location has been turned into a more casual sister spot, Kachinka, serving Russian-inspired bar fare.

3. Departure — Downtown

Best Rooftop Dining

The Nines Hotel

For the best views in town, along with some prime people watching, head to Departure, an indoor/outdoor rooftop cocktail bar and restaurant atop the Nines Hotel. The contemporary interiors feature mid-century modern furnishings and the Asian fusion small plates menu, ranges from crispy pork belly and crunchy crab rolls to tuna poke and grilled wagyu.

4. Headwaters — Downtown

Best Pre- or Post-Show

Headwaters

If you're seeing a show at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, with its iconic teal "Portland" sign seen in Portlandia's opening credits, dine at Headwaters, just steps away. Located in the historic Heathman Hotel, the seafood-centric menu (steelhead tartare, cedar-planked king salmon) is overseen by celebrity chef Vitaly Paley, who also runs the Imperil and the Crown in its sister spot, the Hotel Lucia and will soon take over the restaurant in the Dossier hotel.

5. Clyde Common — Downtown

Best Brunch

Alan Weiner

There's no shortage of good brunch spots — Mother's Bistro, Screen Door, and Pine State Biscuits come to mind. Another hotspot is Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel, which recently added brunch back to the menu. Expect sharable charcuterie boards, steak and eggs, and sourdough pancakes, along with DIY mimosas and handcrafted cocktails.

6. 10 Barrel Brewing Company — Pearl District

Best Craft Brewery for Snacking

For some first-rate craft beer, you can't go wrong with 10 Barrel, where you can sip Pearl Classic IPA and Whitburger pilsner on the rooftop deck. It also has some pretty darn good grub, too, with ingredients sourced from local producers, such as crispy Brussels sprouts, seared sockeye salmon sandwiches, and pesto-and-grilled-chicken-topped pizzas.

7. Salt & Straw — Multiple Locations

Best Ice Cream

Salt & Straw

When you're craving ice cream, make a beeline to Salt & Straw, which tops many "best of" lists. which has a location in downtown and elsewhere in Portland (as well as branches in Seattle and other West Coast cities). Try original flavors like Willamette Valley honey rocky road, Schilling cider caramel apples, and Coava coffee-and-cloudforest claque.

8. Multnomah Whiskey Library — Downtown

Best Cocktails

Dina Avila

As the name attests, this clubby lounge is whiskey heaven — order it neat or in one of the creative cocktails. Other hotspots include the speakeasy-style Pepe Le Moko in the Ace Hotel, Teardrop Lounge, Driftwood Room at the Hotel deLuxe , the new Palomar, Barstow, and Bible Club (you've got to love the name), and The Elvis Room (ditto).

9. Bar Norman — Southeast

Best Wine Bar

Wine bars are popping up all over Portland (one cannot live on craft beer alone). In addition to Bar Norman, opened by sommelier Dana Frank and featuring natural wines, there are Gabriel Rucker's Canard, Enoteca Nostrana, and OK Omens, all with food offerings beyond the ubiquitous cheese plate. Also, Domaine Serene winery in Willamette Valley recently opened a small wine lounge in the Sentinel Hotel.

10. Jory Restaurant — Willamette Valley

Best Worth-a-Drive Meal

Allison Inn & Spa

Less than an hour from Portland in the wine country town of Newberg is the exclusive Allison Inn & Spa. It's definitely worth the drive to experience its award-winning Jory Restaurant, featuring dishes like Netarts Bay oysters, house-cured charcuterie, and dry-aged prime New York steak with grilled asparagus and morels and locals wines, such as Patricia Green Cellars sauvignon blanc and Austin Knoll pinot noir. In addition to the elegant dining room, you can dine at the chef's counter and at a 12-person chef's table.

11. Le Pigeon — Central Eastside

Best Modern French

Facebook @lepigeon

One of Portland's most popular restaurants, Le Pigeon, from chef Gabriel Rucker, serves creative French-inspired fare (seared foie gras, grilled pigeon with black trumpet mushrooms) along with first-rate Oregon wines. Diners can sit at one of three communal tables or at the chef's counter.

12. Urban Farmer — Downtown

Best Steakhouse

Along with Departure, the Nines Hotel is also home to Urban Farmer, a contemporary steakhouse serving grass-, corn-, and grain-fed beef from Oregon, California, Colorado, and Nebraska. Don't skimp on the delicious sides, which include baked mac and cheese, popcorn grits, and roasted squash.

13. Tasty n Alder — Downtown

Best Small Plates

Tasty n Alder

One of John Gorman's stable of trendy restaurants (Tasty n Sons, Toro Bravo), Tasty n Alder is the place to go with a few friends to share some delicious small plates that range from goat cheese dumplings and Korean fried sweetbreads to artisanal cheese boards and grilled octopus.

14. Farm Spirit — Central Eastside

Best Vegan

Not only is the food super tasty at Farm Spirit, but it's good for you, too. The innovative plant-based menu from chef Aaron Adams, who uses mostly Pacific Northwest ingredients, changes often, but expect dishes like asparagus velouté and baby potatoes with charred leek juice.

15. Little Bird — Downtown

Best Burger

Little Bird

Little Bird, sister restaurant of Le Pigeon, is a French bistro serving upscale comfort food like pork brisket and smoked duck breast, but it's the burger that people rave about — two ground chuck patties topped with melted brie, onions, and spiced ketchup on a Ken's Artisan Bakery roll.

16. Apizza Scholls — Sunnyside

Best Pizza

There'll likely be a line at Apizza Scholls, but stick around, as this gourmet pizza is well worth the wait. Choose from a list of existing pies, such as a classic Margherita or the sauce-free Bacon Bianca, made with mozzarella and house-cured bacon, or get creative and build your own.

17. Bamboo Sushi NW — Northwest

Best Sushi

Bamboo Sushi

Bamboo Sushi, in the trendy Northwest neighborhood, turns out consistently super fresh sushi and sashimi. Be sure to try a few of the speciality sakes, along with its signature rolls — including the Friday the 13th, which features salmon, asparagus, and cucumber, topped with a spicy aioli.

18. Higgins — Downtown

Best Fine Dining

One of Portland's culinary pioneers, Greg Higgins' downtown restaurant provides a top dining experience. The menu, rich with Pacific Northwest produce and seafood, features dishes like steamed Totten Inlet mussels and roasted sole in a cider cream reduction with Brussels sprouts.

19. Ox — Northeast

Best Modern Argentinian

Ox

Winners of the James Beard Award for Best Chefs Northwest 2017, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton are dazzling diners with their empanadas (try the roasted sweet potato version) and wood-fired meats like chorizo and skirt steak at their Argentine-style restaurant called Ox.

20. Olympia Provisions SE — Southeast

Best Charcuterie

Dig into mortadella, chorizo, soppressata, and other tasty charcuterie at Olympia Provisions, Oregon's first USDA-certified meat-curing facility. Cheese boards, served with preserves and crostini, and small plates, like steak tartare and shrimp-and-mussel stew, are also available.

21. Pine Street Market — Downtown

Best Food Hall

Wiz Bang Bar

Need a lunch spot? Head to Pine Street Market, a food hall housed in a historic 1886 building, a few blocks from the waterfront. Offerings include Bless Your Heart Burgers, Marukin Ramen, and Wiz Bang Bar for yummy soft serve. You can also check out the recently opened Portland Food Hall.

22. Ken's Artisan Bakery — Northwest

Best Bakery

Ken's Artisan Bakery, from master baker Ken Forkish, is where locals come for their morning Stumptown coffee and pastries like almond croissants and sticky buns, and to stock up on freshly baked breads, including baguettes, French rye, multigrain, ciabatta, and raisin-pecan.

23. Voodoo Doughnut — Downtown

Best Donut

Voodoo Doughnut

Though Voodoo has spread to Austin and Denver, the original is right in downtown (there's also a branch on the Eastside). Indulge in deep-fried deliciousness by ordering classics like the bacon maple bar or the Portland cream — or choose from donuts topped with childhood cereals like Froot Loops and Cocoa Puffs. While you'll spot tourists around town with the tell-tale hot pink box, locals gravitate to Blue Star, with numerous locations around town, including a branch in the Portland airport.

24. Alder Street Food Cart Pod — Downtown

Best Food Cart Location

Portland has an awesome food-cart scene, and one of the largest "pods" (a cluster of food carts) is on a lot on Southwest Alder between 9th and 10th Avenues. A few carts include The Frying Scotsman for fish and chips and O-Bros Osteria for Italian subs. Cartopia, on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, has just a handful of carts, but they stay open late and there's covered seating.

Read More:

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