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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Chizu

    $$ | West End | Café

    Legendary Portland cheesemonger Steve Jones, who also operates Cheese Bar near Mt. Tabor and the Cheese Annex inside Southeast's Commons Brewery...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Ken's Artisan Bakery

    $ | Nob Hill | Café

    Golden crusts are the trademark of Ken's rustic breads, croissants, tarts, and puff pastries, good for breakfast, lunch, and light evening meals...Read More

  • 8. Maurice

    $ | West End | Café

    Described by baker-owner Kristen Murray as a "modern pastry luncheonette," this dainty West End café with just a handful of wooden booth and...Read More

  • 9. Nuvrei

    $ | Pearl District | Café

    You'll find some of the tastiest sweets in town at this cozy patisserie and café a few blocks south of Jamison Square. Try the bacon-cheddar...Read More

  • 10. Ruby Jewel

    $ | Downtown | Café

    Portland's other critically acclaimed ice-cream shop (Salt & Straw tends to get far more attention), Ruby Jewel started out in 2004 with...Read More

  • 11. St. Honoré Boulangerie

    $ | Nob Hill | Café

    Named for the patron saint of bakers, this French bakery on a quiet corner in Nob Hill serves light meals and pastries. Start the day off with...Read More

  • 12. Tin Shed Garden Cafe

    $ | Alberta District | Café

    Sided in metal, this busy restaurant on Alberta Street is known for its hearty breakfasts—namely, its biscuits and gravy, shredded-potato cakes...Read More

  • 13. Backspace

    $ | Old Town | Café

    Taking "eclectic" to a new level, this hipster hangout is a coffee shop, art gallery, all-age concert and poetry slam venue, Internet café,...Read More

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