Portland Eat

4 Mar


Clyde Common

This restaurant is located in the Ace Hotel and consistently ranks among the best restaurants in Portland. The European style tavern has an ambience that is both casual, and hip. Much of the seating is communal at large wooden tables. It’s great for lunch and dinner, but my favorite time may be happy hour- when the restaurant seems to be at its most bustling. From 3-6 many of the restaurant’s inventive cocktails are $5 and the burger (one of my favorites in the city) is $6.

1014 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Ken’s Artisan Pizza

This is my family’s favorite restaurant in Portland and I go almost every time I’m in town. I love the rustic, yet modern décor. Ken’s has a very simple menu, but everything is delicious. The roasted vegetable plate changes seasonally and is a must order. Ken’s has managed to come up with the perfect pizza crust, chewy but not too doughy, crispy but not too charred. The sauce is perfect and the toppings are extremely fresh. The prosicutto pizza is truly the best pizza I’ve ever had. Don’t worry about over ordering, the leftovers are just as good. Ken’s is one of the busiest restaurants in the city and it doesn’t take reservations so go before your straving because you’ll have to wait at least an hour.

304 SE 28th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214

Dekum Firehouse

Dekum Firehouse

This restaurant in an historic firehouse has a great, warm ambience and serves delicious rustic Italian food using seasonal ingredients. The pizza is my second favorite in the city (after Ken’s), but if you’re not in the mood for pizza, they have other great options like the rotisserie chicken or grilled hanger steak with crispy potatoes. None of the entrees are over $20, great value for the quality, and many of the seasonal ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s on site garden.

711 NE Dekum
Portland, OR 97211

Screen Door

Delicious southern cuisine with some healthy, vegetarian options. While the fried chicken and pulled pork sandwich are amazing, Screen Door also has a local organics menu which features in season salads and sides. One dinner option-you pick three, which they’ll serve with corn bread. Like Ken’s, Screen Door is a good price point and is extremely popular, so expect to wait.

2337 East Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97214


The hot new restaurant in Portland, Gruner is getting a lot of press and has been getting favorable reviews from publications across the country.  Gruner calls it’s menu cozy, alpine cuisine, think gourmet brats and spatzle. The food is surprisingly light. I love the salads and spinach-ricotta dumplings. This restaurant is located downtown, not far from the Ace Hotel.

527 SW 12th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205

Por Que No Taqueria

Another one of my most frequented Portland spots, Por Que No serves my favorite type of Mexican, authentic with fresh ingredients and not too much cheese. The shrimp taco has just the right amount of spice and delicious pineapple salsa to balance it out. People love the Brian’s bowl and the Margaritas and Agua Frescas are also delicious. There are two locations but I usually go to the one of Mississippi Street.

3524 North Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

Toro Bravo

Delicious, authentic tapas abound at this Northeast Portland hotspot.  The bacon wrapped dates are to die for. This restaurant is always packed and has a great bustling atmosphere with an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs work their magic.

120 N Russell St.
Portland, OR 97212


View from Departure

Portland is still known for being a very laid back city, but in recent years there has been an influx of more sceney, trendy places (the type where you could actually wear a cute cocktail dress and no one would look at you funny) and I must admit, I kind of like it. The most sceney, and probably my favorite is Departure. The Pan Asian restaurant on the top floor of the swank Nines Hotel takes its design cues from a cruise ship. It’s great on a warm evening. There are two large outdoor patios with spectacular views of the city. I’ve never had dinner here, I usually go for drinks, but the menu looks good and the drinks are delicious. I love the China Sea, a sweet and sour cucumber cocktail made with shochu.

525 SW Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97204

Noble Rot

This wine bar, restaurant is located in the hip East Burn neighborhood a short drive from downtown. Located on the fourth floor of a LEED certified building, Noble Rot has a really cool view of downtown and the west hills. Many ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s rooftop garden. The wine list is great and offers flights from various wine tasting regions all over the world. I also love the upscale comfort food. The mac-n-cheese and endive salad are my favorites.

111 E. Burnside St. #400
Portland, OR 97214


Love Joy Bakers

Bakery and café with great soups, salads and sandwiches (I like the Banh Mi), located in a nice, light filled space in Portland’s Pearl District.

939 NW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209


I love this European style restaurant in Portland’s Pastaworks market. Dishes in the tiny space are served tapas style and are made right in front of you using extremely fresh ingredients. The wine list is great and wines by the glass and chosen to match seasonal offerings. Evoe is great for lunch or an early dinner. It’s only open until 7pm.

3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214

Elephant’s Delicatessen

This Portland mainstay is probably my most frequented lunch spot in the city. The specialty foods retailer serves great take away items. It also has tables so it’s a great place to grab lunch if you’re shopping on 23rd street. The gourmet deli has pretty much anything you could want, from soups and salads to fish tacos and pizzas, so a decision won’t be easy. Rest assured, everything is good.

115 NW 22nd
Portland, OR 97210


Kenny and Zukes

People love this Jewish style deli in the same block as the Ace Hotel. The hodge podge of offerings at deli’s typically turn me off, but Kenny and Zukes’ quality ingredients take it up a notch. Bagels and bialies are simple and good. It’s also great for lunch. The pastrami sandwich is the best I’ve ever had. Briskets are wet cured for 5 days and smoked for eight hours with oak, a truly gourmet twist on the deli staple.

1038 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Stumptown Coffee

If you’re staying in the Ace Hotel, you won’t have to go far to get one of the best cups of coffee around. There’s a Stumptown Coffee adjacent to the lobby. Portland based Stumptown has become known as one of the premier small batch coffee roasters in the country. Using a process called Direct Trade, Stumptown works directly with producers to get the finest beans in the world. They pay extremely fair prices, so you can rest assured, your morning cup of joe will not only be delicious but sustainable.

1022 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Random Order

This shop on NE Alberta combines the two things I love most in a coffee shop, great coffee and homemade pastries. All Random Order’s baked goods are made in house. They’re famous for their pies, which include flavors like Vanilla Salted Caramel and Brandied Peach. I absolutely can not get enough, though, of the Blueberry Buttermilk muffins and gluten-free Lemon Poppyseed.

1800 NE Alberta
Portland, OR 97211


This could be the place for coffee snobs, but I’ve always found the staff to be friendly and atmosphere hip but unpretentious (think Taxidermy cheek with dark wood). Barista has gained a reputation for having the most skilled Barista’s in town and unlike other coffee shops, they offer espresso from not one but several exceptional coffee roasters including Stumptown and Intelligentsia. I love the large “coffee bar” at the Northeast location where you can watch those impressive Barista’s elevate espresso making to art.

1727 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211

539 NW 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209


Pine State Biscuits

A little down home southern cooking in the middle of Portland, Pine State is always packed and offers amazingly light and fluffy biscuits.  I like to keep it simple and usually order the biscuit with fresh strawberry or marionberry jam but if you really want to go crazy try to biscuits and gravy or the McIsley Biscuit Sandwich-fried chicken with pickles, mustard and honey.

2204 NE Alberta
Portland, OR 97211

Tasty n Sons

From the same people as Toro Bravo, this restaurant serves breakfast tapas style.  I love it, because I never leave feeling too stuffed like I usually do after your typical American breakfast. The food is delicious though and there are a lot of very interesting egg dishes (great for those going gluten free). I also love that you can get a half portion of French toast, in case you do want a little something sweet.

3808 N. Williams, Suite C
Portland, OR 97212

Daily Café

The Daily was one of the original café’s in Portland’s extremely trendy Pearl District and it’s still one of my favorites. I love the large, light filled, industrial space.  Offerings change you guessed it daily and are displayed on a chalk board as you walk in the door. It’s great for breakfast or lunch, but I especially love the muffins (banana chocolate chip) and the eggs with toast and chicken apple sausage (simple but so good).

902 NW 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209

Food Carts:

As Justin mentioned in our Portland Do section, Food Carts are all the rage in Ptown and are a great option for a quick, delicious and affordable lunch. Here are some of my faves and the basic areas where you can find them.

El Cubo do Cuba

Simply amazing cuban food. Best tostones I’ve ever had. I can never decide between the pork and guava chicken, both are delicious. Try to get there at a decent hour. They often run out.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)

Whole Bowl

Everyone wants the recipe for the sauce at this gluten free, vegetarian food cart. The Whole Bowl only serves one thing, a bowl with brown rice, beans, avocado, sour cream, cheese, cilantro and the amazing Tali sauce. The lemony garlic blend is addictive and you’ll be sad when you’ve reached the bottom of your bowl.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)

Eat This

I was really impressed by this food cart that serves globally inspired flatbread wraps. The whole-wheat flatbread is grilled to order and filled with extremely flavorful meats and veggies. I had the beef brisket with parmesan spinach. Delicious!

SW 9th and Washington (Downtown)

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

This food cart is the darling of food writers in Portland and has gotten a positive write up in just about every food publication in town. Like the whole bowl, it only serves one thing, Thai style chicken and rice, but it is executed perfectly. Wrapped in a thick piece of white paper it’s extremely authentic and the garlicky soybean sauce that comes with it is amazing.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)


Delicious soups, salads and gourmet grilled cheese. Soup offerings change daily. I always cross my fingers they have the posole.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)

Koi Fusion

This roving food cart is a lot like LA’s famed Kogi BBQ. Locations are posted via Twitter and it serves absolutely amazing Korean BBQ/latin fusion. The Korean short rib tacos are some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. The sweetness of Korean bbq combined with latin ingredients like cilantro and lime is a match made in heaven. For a schedule of locations go to www.koifusionpdx.com.


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