Portland Restaurants

These days, rising-star chefs and the foodies who adore them are flocking to Portland. In this playground of sustainability and creativity, many of the city's hottest restaurants change menus weekly—sometimes even daily—depending upon the ingredients they have delivered to their door that morning from local farms. The combination of fertile soils, temperate weather, and nearby waters contributes to a year-round bountiful harvest (be it lettuces or hazelnuts, mushrooms or salmon) that is within any chef's reach.

And these chefs are not shy about putting new twists on old favorites. Restaurants like Le Pigeon, Beast, Ox, Ned Ludd, Natural Selection, and Aviary have all taken culinary risks by presenting imaginatively executed, often globally inspired fare while utilizing sustainable ingredients. There’s a strong willingness in and around Portland for chefs to explore their creative boundaries.

Menus frequently extend across nations and continents. First-time visitors to Portland always seem to be impressed by the culinary scene’s international diversity, especially when it comes to Asian and Mediterranean fare, but you’ll also find outstanding examples of Peruvian, Russian, regional Mexican, and dozens of other ethnic restaurants. Of course, seafood is prevalent, with chefs regularly taking advantage of the availability of fresh salmon, albacore, halibut, crab, oysters, and mussels from the rivers and the Pacific Ocean.

Most of the city's longtime favorites are concentrated in Nob Hill, the Pearl District, and downtown. But many of the city’s most exciting food scenes are on the East Side, along Alberta Street, Mississippi Avenue, Williams Avenue, Fremont Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Burnside Street, 28th Avenue, Belmont Street, Hawthorne Boulevard, and Division Street, and tucked away in many neighborhoods in between. Serious food enthusiasts will definitely want to make some trips to some of these vibrant, if out-of-the-way neighborhoods.

Bar and restaurant culture greatly overlap in Portland, and many eateries around the city stand out as much because of their carefully curated beverage programs as for their food. Expect to find wine, craft beer, and cocktail lists that rely heavily on Northwest products, and also note that many of the top cocktail lounges, brewpubs, and wine bars we included in our Nightlife and Performing Arts chapter also serve excellent tapas and bar snacks.

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  • 1. Apizza Scholls

    $ | Hawthorne District | Pizza

    The pies at Apizza Scholls, lauded by Anthony Bourdain, Rachael Ray, and most any pizza lover who visits, deserve the first-class reputation...Read More

  • 2. Blue Star Donuts

    $ | West End | Bakery

    The lines outside much-hyped competitor Voodoo Doughnut are longer, but that doesn't mean you should bypass a chance to sample the creative...Read More

  • 3. Broder

    $ | Southeast | Russian

    This delightful neighborhood café—one of the most outstanding brunch spots in town—serves fresh and delicious Scandinavian food with fun-to...Read More

  • 4. Cheese Bar

    $ | Southeast | Café

    For years, many of Portland's top restaurateurs have sourced their cheese from the shop of Steve Jones, who in 2011 was recognized as the "best...Read More

  • 5. Interurban

    $ | North | Modern American

    A laid-back North Mississippi gastropub with an L-shaped indoor bar and a bi-level back patio with lush landscaping and a shaded pergola, Interurban...Read More

  • 6. Lardo

    $ | Southeast | American

    One of several spots around Portland that has become known for advancing the art of sandwich making, Lardo offers a steady roster of about a...Read More

  • 7. Lauretta Jean's

    $ | Division | Café

    Kate McMillen and Noah Cable's pie-focused operation began as a stall at Portland's Saturday farmers' market at PSU and now comprises a couple...Read More

  • 8. Little T Baker

    $ | Southeast | Café

    Set in an airy, high-ceilinged space on the ground floor of the architecturally noteworthy Clinton Condominiums building, this sleek operation...Read More

  • 9. Lovely's Fifty-Fifty

    $ | North | Pizza

    This unpretentious and airy neighborhood spot with wooden booths and whimsical fire-engine-red chairs is really two delicious dining options...Read More

  • 10. PaaDee

    $ | Southeast | Thai

    Adjoining the more celebrated, reservations-only sister restaurant Langbaan, PaaDee serves some of the freshest, most flavorful Thai food in...Read More

  • 11. Salt & Straw Ice Cream

    $ | Nob Hill | Café

    In 2011, cousins Kim and Tyler Malek started a business with a small pushcart and a humble idea—to create unique ice-cream flavors with quality...Read More

  • 12. Smokehouse Tavern

    $ | Southeast | American

    Top Chef season 14 contestant B.J. Smith operates this rather stylish take on a down-home barbecue joint. It's in a modern space that's been...Read More

  • 13. Tamale Boy

    $ | Northeast | Mexican

    Chef Abel Hernandez hails from Veracruz by way of Mexico City, and while he’s adept at preparing tamales—both the Oaxacan style wrapped in banana...Read More

  • 14. Bijou Cafe

    $ | Downtown | American

    This spacious, sunny restaurant with high ceilings has excellent breakfasts, and they're served until 2: eggs with breakfast sausage (from Portland...Read More

  • 15. Blue Goose

    $ | Southeast | American

    This festive tribute to the food of the Southwest occupies the former, long-running Esparza's space and retains that establishment's homey look...Read More

  • 16. Bollywood Theater

    $ | Division | Indian

    Set beneath a soaring beamed ceiling, and with a welcoming mix of worn wooden seating, kitschy decor, bright fabrics, and intoxicating smells...Read More

  • 17. Boxer Ramen

    $ | Downtown | Japanese

    This often crowded and convivial ramen shop, at the entrance of the hip Union Alley shopping arcade across from the Ace Hotel, is tiny in size...Read More

  • 18. BridgePort Brewpub & Restaurant

    $ | Pearl District | American

    The century-old, hops- and ivy-covered industrial building seems out of place among its newer, posher fashion- and furniture-focused neighbors...Read More

  • 19. Bunk Sandwiches

    $ | Southeast | American

    You'll probably have to stand in line to get into this narrow soda-shop-style bar, but once you settle in at a table and experience the rich...Read More

  • 20. Crema

    $ | Southeast | Café

    If you're seeking a comfy spot serving great local coffees (Coava, Stumptown) and exceptional baked goods—both savory and sweet—consider this...Read More

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