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kureiff May 25th, 2006 07:58 AM

Portland, Oregon dining experts
 
My husband and I leave for Portland next Thursday, and I am having a hard time narrowing down our dining choices. So many good options! We'll be in town June 1st through the 6th; we're staying downtown at the 5th Avenue Suites, and we won't have a car.

I've checked out Chowhound, Fooddude's site, TA (wish I could attend the decoy talk and gtg), and another food site that I can't remember the name of. We like seafood, Italian, and Indian. We don't eat much meat.

Anyway, I've picked out a few options and need some advice. We are considering Alberta Street Oyster Bar; is it good? We want some Italian and we're looking at Fratelli and Cafe Mingo. What do you think between the two?

I've also looked at Carlyle and Fenouil but their menus seem to be kind of heavy on the meat.

We're meeting up with friends from Seattle and they want to try Bridgeport in the Pearl. How's the food? We know the beer is good. :)

I hear Vault Martini has a good happy hour all day Sunday so we were thinking of that for dinner on Sunday.

How's Park Kitchen.

Any other suggestions? There are so many good options, and I'm starting to get confused. Thanks!

beachbum May 25th, 2006 09:00 AM

Won't have a car, huh? Then, unless you're willing to take a cab or hop on a bus, scratch Alberta St. Oyster Bar. I've been there once and ordered the "chef's whim" tasting menu, my most memorable meal since Paris in 2004.

Cafe Mingo, with lotsa pasta on the menu, is more traditional Italian than Fratelli. I like them both, but would give the nod to Fratelli; nicer room, better service, and a notch above in quality of ingredients. You didn't mention Giorgio's, probably because it doesn't get much play on the boards. I haven't been there for a couple years, but a TA regular whose opinion I respect thinks it might be the best Italian in town.

A lot of locals like Park Kitchen, but honestly, I don't get it. I've not been wowed any of the several times I've been. Maybe I just ordered wrong.

Don't let the menus at Fenouil and Carlyle keep you from going. Scarlett's not a big meat eater either, and I think she'd include both places in her top 5. I'm still not sure, so my wife and I are going back to Fenouil again this Saturday. ;-)

Everyone always asks about seafood restaurants in Portland. And Jake's Crawfish always comes up. I try and steer people to Southpark Seafood Grill because I think its food is more interesting, but the truth is, almost every decent restaurant in town will have seafood selections on the menu.

Bridgeport is good, but just basic pub food. Vault is worth a stop too, but it's a martini bar, and doesn't serve meals.

Not to confuse you more, but did you consider Paley's Place? Or Hurleys? And did you check out Portlandfood.org?

Maybe Scarlett will respond and pull this all together in a way I can't seem to this morning. Have a good time here. The weather picture is looking better for next week, which makes dining in Portland all the more fun.




Scarlett May 25th, 2006 09:02 AM

Hi :) I bet you didn't know I live in Portland, did you... LOL
Just want to say I like the hotel you picked lol...I think they should hire me as a PR person, I am sure you will like it :)
OK...please forgive me for repeating myself if I have told you this elsewhere...who has a memory these days?!
<i>Seafood:</i>
SouthPark..great food, really nice restaurant, on the South Park Blocks ( in town)
Jakes Crawfish , on SW12th..can be good, can be mediocre ( to us) a lot of people like it.
<i>Italian:</i>
Bastas on NW 21st
Giorgios on NW 12th &amp; Hoyt -elegant beautiful space &amp; food
Cafe Mingo on NW 21st is fine, good prices, good pasta..always crowded and packed..big favorite here.
Fratellis-very nice but..we don't eat red meat and we have discovered that the menus here are usually meat heavy. Many good restaurants have limited menus for us, venison and boar and rabbit are found everywhere.
Which brings me to Tuscany Grill , next door to Cafe Mingo. Beautiful restaurant and wonderful food. as well as Serratto next door ( NW 21st is all about eating :)
I would pick Cafe Mingo..more choices for me.

Fenouil is fabulous with decor , food and location/view. I am not a big eater, I do well there.
Starters are not huge, I like the mussels and find more choices there..and the chocolate souffle is worth the trip lol..
Carlyle is all about mood and serious foodiness..I like it but the menu is verrry limited for us.
Bridgeport is ok..I like Henrys better but then again, I don't really go for the beer..
Vault has great Happy Hours..very close to my home..I love sitting there in the afternoons with pup and the Yankee..gets crowded on warm evenings..like the Happy Hour Menu but really suggest you go 2 doors down to the Everett Street Bistro. You will really like it..promise :)
Park Kitchen is very nice..set in a pretty area on the North Park Blocks.( Pups playground)..fresh well thought out and prepared meals. The Yankee said it was good but he would not rush back.
It IS confusing, there are sooo many places to eat well here..hope I helped, ask more, I will try not to monopolize the conversation :D

happytrailstoyou May 25th, 2006 09:03 AM

The Heathman.

Scarlett May 25th, 2006 09:08 AM

LOL Hi beachbum!
Yes, happy, the Heathman! They did some changes I hear, and hopefully the kitchen is more organized. The food and atmosphere was always lovely but the kitchen mistakes ruined a few dinners.
Second the suggestions of Paleys and Wildwood..
You will be at the 5th Avenue Suites..if you get in the mood for Thai- a couple blocks up and around the corner from Pazzo is Typhoon...veerrrryyy goood.

Re: Ducks decoys and getting together...we will do it someday- with or without those demented decoys LOL

beachbum May 25th, 2006 09:18 AM

Scarlett, Comparing our lists, one might think we're regular dining partners, LOL. Basta's is good, huh. 'Nuther one to add to the list.

kureiff May 25th, 2006 09:44 AM

Beachbum: I guess I didn't carefully look to see where the Alberta Street Oyster Bar was located. Too bad because their menu looked good. I know what you mean about most restuarants doing seafood well. We lived in Seattle for a year and most of the restuarants do seafood well there, too.

Scarlett: Thanks for lists. I seemed to have missed the Everett Street Bistro. I just checked out their menu and I think that the gnocchi with morels means that we'll have to eat there.

I thought Paley's was too far away from our hotel; I'll check again.

Thank you all so much for your suggestions!

bbqboy May 25th, 2006 10:05 AM

I'm a Dan &amp; Louis Oyster Bar Fan. 1 of a kind original Portland.
Amazing Kitchy ship's hold interior.
Have a Bowl of Oyster Stew, with Oysters from their own beds in Yaquina Bay.
Jake's is nice, but is still a Mc Cormick &amp; Schmidts that you get a lot of places.
You need Nick's site-
http://www.extramsg.com
I haven't been to Alberta Street Oyster House, so can't comment.

lcuy May 25th, 2006 10:10 AM

Everett street bistro is wonderful, and they have many meat free dishes. Paleys is so romantic! I've been several times with my daughter, husband and friend who are all variying degrees of vergetarians and all had good meals.

Portland is probably one of the most veggie friendly places in the US.

I second (third?) Cafe Mingo- the one in the NW, Heathman, and also really like Higgins, and Henry on 12th. Mothers Bistro is another don't miss for me, especially breakfast or lunch.

Elephants Deli on NW 22, about 1/2 block in from Burnside is a great lunch or take-out spot for a picnic if the weather is nice. Fabulous soups, sandwiches, cheeses, salads, and desserts.

beachbum May 25th, 2006 10:12 AM

Paley's is just down the street from Cafe Mingo. You'll want to hop on the streetcar (through the Pearl and into NW) to get to either place.

mms May 25th, 2006 11:36 AM

Are you regretting asking this yet? LOL!

I tend to gravitate toward the very casual places, so here are my favorites in no particular order.

St. Honore--Really like the duck salad here, and of course the goodies.

Portland City Grill (for drinks and the view only...skip on a meal here)

Everett Street Bistro

Carafe

Mother's Bistro

Mama Mia's

Lorn &amp; Dotties (only had breakfast here, but really like it)

Red Star Tavern

Typhoon

Mio Gelato--great gelato and also panini's.

Henry's--Great drink list, not just the 100 beers on tap (and a really cool ice bar!). Love their lettuce wraps.

Manzana Grill--Love their house salad and their tortilla soup.

Lots of McMenamins (www.mcmenamin.com) around town to stop at for a drink or casual meal.

Bridgeport--I have not been there since they remodeled, but my husband has and enjoys it.




sunbum1944 May 25th, 2006 02:57 PM

Hi guys and girls- I am coming to Portland this weekend - and I dont know where we are going to dine - however
I have never been to Mothers and the Alberta Oyster Bar sounds interesting so we may try them out.
We are also going to see the musical Menopause -
we gals from Eugene know how to have fun when we come to town!!
We might even have some Moonstruck chocolate - although we can get it in Eugene now so its not such a big deal anymore.

kureiff May 25th, 2006 03:08 PM

Oh, I doubt that I'll get any ***suggestions*** as I once questioned leaving a kid in the car while enjoying a romantic meal.

fisches Jun 2nd, 2006 01:04 AM

Red Star Tavern is on the same block as 5th Ave. Suites. Beautiful bar and decor. Fresh, fun food...I love it!

Jacks' is fun if you eat in the bar..bartenders are pros and do get the crawfish


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