Bisected by the beautiful Columbia and Willamette rivers with the stunning snow-capped mount hood as a backdrop, Portland is its own glorious, eco-friendly, and progressive world. Portland’s infrastructure promotes environmental consciousness, with vast bike lanes, hiking trails, electric rail lines, and amazing city parks.
Washington Park is a prime example of Portland’s celebration of Oregon’s natural beauty, with formal Japanese gardens, the Oregon Zoo, and massive fields to enjoy picnics and playdates. A beacon for cultural ingenuity, Portland stands out in every way, inventing a proprietary brand of hipster counterculture where everything is original.
If there ever was a city that supported local, independent businesses, it’s Portland. Whether you’re looking for food markets, coffee houses, bookstores, theater, or music, you’ll find the very best of home-grown creativity in Portland.
Portland’s restaurant scene is yet another example of Portland’s creative originality, with the most diverse and innovative array of restaurants, featuring every world cuisine through a unique gaze. Whether you’re looking for American, Mexican, Chinese, or anything in between, restaurants in Portland deliver authentic and innovative dining experiences and, of course, delicious food.
I spent a lot of time in Portland, eating my way through its fantastic restaurant scene. I’ve compiled an eclectic list of my favorite restaurants in Portland that not only serve amazing food but also reflect Portland’s one-of-a-kind spirit. Read on to learn about each restaurant so you, too, can delight in Portland’s incredible culinary scene.
2039 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
Jacqueline is a delightfully quirky seafood-focused restaurant in the charming Southeast Portland neighborhood at SE Clinton Street and SE 21st Avenue. The menu changes daily based on what’s fresh at the market, but one example of the standout fare is the Hamachi Crudo, dressed in charred, pickled pineapple, lime leaf, and mint.
You can also take advantage of Oyster Happy Hour from 5-6 pm Monday- Saturday. Their apps are equally artful for those looking to venture beyond seafood, such as the Belgian Endive salad with Cara Cara oranges, burnt honey, Marcona almonds, and manchego cheese. Pair your meal with a Belafonte cocktail or one of their carefully curated wines.
3808 North Williams Avenue st, 127, Portland, OR 97227
Eem, a one-of-a-kind gem in Portland’s culinary scene, features an innovative blend of Thai flavors and Texas-style BBQ, located a short distance from the North Mississippi Avenue shopping district. Mouthwatering dishes include the Green Curry with Crispy Shredded Pork and Vegetables, which showcase the perfect marriage of bold Thai spices and tender, smoky BBQ.
If you’re feeling bold, test your fortitude with the eye-wateringly spicy Papaya Salad, which comes tossed with roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, Thai chilis, and various veg. Once you’ve braved the intense heat, cool off with a refreshing Jesus & Tequila cocktail featuring a luscious lime froyo base.
1605 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97211
Hat Yai is a Thai street food eatery specializing in South Thailand’s famed fried chicken and roti, which is traditionally sold in the street and small shops. Hat Yai is a friendly, casual, and bustling restaurant in Portland’s Vernon neighborhood a few blocks from Alberta Park. The food is an authentic exploration of Thai comfort food at its best, served on brown paper-lined trays.
Along with fried chicken and roti, Hat Yai also has a variety of Thai food favorites from every region, like Pad Thai, skewers, and curries. I recommend the fried chicken wings with sticky rice. They also make amazing Malay-style curry and roti combos with chicken, beef, or vegan curry. You can get a taste of fried chicken and curry in one of their Hat Yai Combos.
960 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Located in the Central Eastside neighborhood of Portland, Kachka is a Russian restaurant run and owned by Belarusian immigrant Bonnie Morales who wanted to recreate the elaborate dinner parties of her youth. Kachka’s authentic Russian dishes have won accolades in Eater, GQ, and Bon Appetit as the nation’s most outstanding and essential restaurants. It was also nominated as a James Beard Award finalist for the best new restaurant when it opened in 2015.
Kachka has a deli and grocery selling imported Russian delicacies, sauces, pickled vegetables, and Kachka’s brand of infused vodkas. It also has a breakfast and lunch counter called Lavka. Kachka’s dinner menu has options for pre-fixe caviar and vodka tastings along with an incredible a la carte menu with the very best caviar and roe, Russian seafood cocktails, and seafood spreads, pickled vegetables, shareable hot plates, dumplings, and main entrees.
1818 NW 23rd Pl, Portland, OR 97210
If you’re craving more traditional flavors, Langbaan is an invitingly authentic Thai culinary experience unlike any other. With their monthly tasting menu, Langbaan showcases a stunning array of dishes inspired by the freshest seasonal ingredients. These curated selections offer Portland-bound gastronomes five courses, each with a bespoke wine pairing.
For example, March 2023’s prix-fixe features Thai classics like Kanom Krok, Soup Noi Mai, and Laab Nua. Located in the heart of the Kerns neighborhood, this intimate, reservation-only dining experience is steps away from the iconic Laurelhurst Theater. Langbaan hosts two seatings each night: 6:00 and 8:45 on Friday and Saturday or 5:30 and 8:15 on Sunday.
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
Le Pigeon is a fine-dining French Restaurant in East Portland between the Kerns and Buckman neighborhoods. Its incredibly rustic dining room with mismatched wood furniture, large, family-sized tables, and pots and pans hanging from the rafters makes you feel like you’ve walked into a 19th-century French country house.
There are two Chefs’ tasting menus– one for meat-eaters and the other for vegetarians, along with an impressive wine list featuring domestic, European, and French wines.
The Chef’s tasting menu has six courses of incredibly rich and well-executed authentic French dishes like foie gras and beef tartare. I loved the spiced glazed duck breast with chanterelle mushrooms, huckleberry, and sunchoke.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
609 SE Ankeny St C, Portland, OR 97214
Nong’s Khao Man Gai specializes in the deceptively simple, homestyle Thai dish, Khao Man Gai. The brainchild of Chef Nong Poonsukwattana, this casual eatery has earned a devoted following thanks to its consistently flavorful and satisfying fare.
The star of the menu is undoubtedly the Khao Man Gai, a tender poached chicken dish served over fragrant jasmine rice cooked in chicken stock and garnished with cilantro. The Thai chili-based sauce– accented with fermented soybeans, ginger, and garlic– might leave you licking your plate by the end of the meal.
While the menu is focused primarily on Khao Man Gai, Nong’s also offers a selection of rib-sticking specials, like the Thai Pork and Rice or Super Soup.
215 SE 9th Ave Ste 102, Portland, OR 97214
Scotch Lodge is a sophisticated whiskey bar and restaurant in the lively Old Town Chinatown neighborhood. The creative force behind Scotch Lodge is renowned bartender Tommy Klus and chef Tim Artale, who has curated an impressive collection of whiskies paired with a modern Pacific Northwest menu.
While compact, the food menu at Scotch Lodge is filled with delectable dishes designed to complement the extensive whiskey selection. Their small-plate menu boasts gastronomic creations such as the peppery Radish Crudites plate with ricotta and smoked salt, or the Trout Roe Silken Tofu spiced with unctuously umami black garlic.
Whiskey enthusiasts will be thrilled by the extensive range of options, from well-known single malts to rare and unusual selections.
1610 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
Located in the northern section of Downtown Portland a quick walk from the famous Washington Park, St. Jack is a fine-dining rustic French restaurant and cocktail bar specializing in Bouchon fare of Lyon, France. Run by seasoned Chef Aaron Barnett, St. Jack sources their ingredients from Northwest Pacific farms, showcasing their flavors with fancy French technical cooking.
Menus change daily at St. Jack, and they also offer a pre-fixe five-course tasting menu with a wine pairing for each course. As per French tradition, I had to try St. Jack’s escargot with seaweed butter, confit garlic, and a freshly toasted baguette, which was the perfect prelude to the whole roasted chicken in a bath of matsutake wild mushroom jus and served with mashed potatoes.
515 SW Broadway #100, Portland, OR 97205
Specializing in farm-to-table New American cuisine, Tercet’s culinary inspiration is seasonal, local ingredients. It’s nestled on the mezzanine level of downtown Portland’s historic Morgan Building, offering a superbly intimate dining experience.
The ever-changing tasting menu at Tercet showcases the best of the Pacific Northwest’s bounty, emphasizing sustainability and culinary innovation. Recent dishes include Egg with herbaceous green garlic and a hearty Black Cod filet with fiddlehead fern, potato, and cod stock velouté.
You can also enjoy their Housemade Sourdough Bread, generously smeared in cultured butter or dipped in lightly floral olive oil.
841 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97217
The charming Peruvian restaurant Casa Zoraya in North Portland offers a warm and welcoming dining experience near St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park. The menu celebrates traditional Peruvian flavors and high-quality ingredients in dishes like Ceviche de Pescado, a creamy seafood medley, and Arroz Chaufa, a pork belly rice stirfry.
For those seeking a taste of classic Peruvian comfort food, the Chicharron de Puerco, a saucy fried pork and sweet potato dish, is sure to satisfy. Round out your meal with a refreshing Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru, or a shortbread cookie with seasonal ice cream and lucuma dulce de leche.
3033 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211
Urdaneta, a contemporary Basque and Spanish tapas restaurant, is situated in Portland’s Alberta Arts District and led by Chef Javier Canteras.
The menu showcases Spain’s diverse regional flavors with succulent dishes like Jabon Iberico de Bellota, hand-carved, acorn-fed ham, Zanahorias, olive oil-poached heirloom carrots with a miso pea puree, and Huevos Cremosos, creamy eggs with smoked trout, pistou, trout roe, and dill.
Urdaneta also boasts an impressive beverage program featuring Spanish wines, sherries, vermouths, and inventive cocktails, with knowledgeable staff ready to provide pairing suggestions.
734 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
Specializing in French cuisine, Canard is Le Pigeon’s more casual sister restaurant and cocktail bar located in Portland’s Central Eastside.
Meaning “duck” in French, Canard specializes in duck dishes but has a slew of inventive and modern takes on French cuisine, fusing French dishes with comfort dishes worldwide. Their fun and intimate dining space has an open kitchen with a large counter with bar stools for customers to get front row seats to the chef’s theatrics.
Canard’s ample menu of wine, beer, and cocktails offers the perfect beverage to accompany a very decadent meal. Their signature dish is the Duck Stack, a savory pancake stack with duck gravy and tabasco onions, topped with a duck egg. I also loved their foie gras dumplings with peanut vinaigrette, fig jam, and sage.
6839 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97215
Coquine has been a Mount Tabor neighborhood favorite since 1991, offering craft cocktails and new American cuisine inspired by Oregon’s seasonal bounty. Executive Chef Katy Millard creates everchanging cocktail and food menus that have earned James Beard nominations for their ingenuity.
Coquine also boasts its zero-food-print status, sourcing from farms whose practices help eliminate carbon from the atmosphere. Coquine has various dining options, including two four-course Chefs’ tasting menus, one in their intimate dining room and one at the bar. You can also order pre-fixe meals to go for a classy dinner at home.
I loved their milk braised pork sugo with crispy sunchokes and parmesan cheese over handmade pasta. Their hazelnut brown butter cake with whipped cream was to die for.
1022 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205
Located in downtown Portland a few blocks from the famous Powell’s Books, Mucca Osteria is a fine-dining contemporary Italian restaurant owned and run by Chef Simone Savaiano. Chef Savaiano sources all her ingredients exclusively from Pacific Northwest farmers. The restaurant’s country-chic dining room is a romantic setting for special dinners.
All pasta is scratch-made in-house daily, along with crusty country bread and a wide array of fabulous desserts. I could eat the Gnocchi al Fagiano with slow-braised pheasant ragu, porcini mushrooms, and Reggiano cheese for every meal and die happy!
200 SW Market St, Portland, OR 97201
Japanese eatery Murata– near Director Park and the Portland Art Museum– is the culinary canvas of Chef Ichiro Murata. The menu highlights traditional Japanese cuisine with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Sushi lovers will enjoy the extensive nigiri and sashimi options, such as Kampachi (amberjack) and Tobiko (flying fish roe).
The Edomae Zushi provides a curated seasonal tasting experience. Murata also serves classic Japanese dishes like Kaiso (seaweed) salad and Chawanmushi steamed egg custard with prawn, chicken, fishcake, ginkgo nuts, and spinach, accompanied by a selection of sake, Japanese beers, and artisanal cocktails.
2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
Located in the Eliot neighborhood, OX Restaurant is a James Beard Award-winning Argentinian steakhouse and seafood restaurant in a friendly, lively atmosphere with a local neighborhood vibe. Head Chef duo Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez deliver a beautiful presentation of the Argentine Parrillada, a delicious meal of wood-fired, grilled meats.
Using USDA prime beef, seafood, and vegetables sourced from local purveyors, OX’s dinner menu has three sections with starters, grilled meats, fish, and veggies, and garden-inspired sides. I recommend starting with the fresh clam chowder with smoked bone marrow, green onion, jalapeno, and toasted garlic breadcrumbs.
Argentina is famous for its grilled steak, so I recommend trying the ribeye steak with a side of flash-fried brussels sprouts.
Rose VL Deli
1022 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205
Rose VL Deli is a casual, no-frills Vietnamese eatery in Old Portland’s Chinatown, offering affordable and authentic heaping bowls of noodle soups and Vietnamese coffee. Owned by a Vietnamese husband and wife duo who cook and work the counter, Rose VL Deli is a true mom-and-pop gem.
They offer specials on soups every day of the week and rice bowl specials on the weekend. You want to get a sweet, creamy, and highly caffeinated Vietnamese coffee to accompany one of the most comforting bowls of noodle soup you’ll eat. I loved the Shrimp-cake noodle soup with shrimp cake, pork, pork meatloaf, tofu, and tomatoes over vermicelli noodles in rich pork broth.
4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215
Apizza Scholls is a Hawthorne District pizzeria helmed by owner and pizza aficionado Brian Spangler. He combines his passion for New Haven-style pizza-making with high-quality ingredients and time-honored techniques.
Apizza Scholls’ pies are characterized by their thin, crisp crust and flavorful, well-balanced toppings. Spangler’s signature flourish is turning traditional pizza toppings up a notch. For example, the Apizza Amore is a twist on the Margherita, featuring a delectable combination of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, grana padano, pecorino romano, and capicollo.
Another standout option is the Tartufo 2: Electric Boogaloo, a sauceless pie with mozzarella, ricotta, and truffle oil.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza
304 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Chef Ken Forkish creates Neapolitan-style pizzas with thin, chewy crusts and carefully selected toppings at Ken’s Artisan Pizza in the Southeast neighborhood. The menu also offers appetizers like Charred & Marinated Beef, house-pickled Giardiniera, and Meatballs served with garlic crostini.
For a lighter option, the Market Salad is an artisanal mix of PSU Farmer’s Market produce with sheep’s feta and hazelnuts, then finished with white balsamic vinaigrette.
Once the appetizer course is over, it’s time for the main event. Must-try pies include the Fennel Sausage & Onion pizza, with a harmonious blend of tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, and sweet onions. The Soppressata is another delicious option, featuring tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy Calabrese salami, and basil.
1128 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205
Lil’ Shalom is a Mediterranean restaurant and bar specializing in food from Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. Another member of the Sesame Collective that also owns the MEC restaurant, Lil’ Shalom, is a friendly, fast-casual East Side neighborhood favorite run by Chef Cody Hubbard, who has worked in renowned kitchens since he was 18.
The menu at Lil’ Shalom has a similar Mezze menu to MEC and a wider variety of hummus like Hummus Lahmajun with spiced beef and lamb, olives, and pistachio. They also have a great selection of grilled meats and vegetables. I had to try their Shakshuka Royale, with fire-roasted tomatoes and peppers, baked eggs, and toasted rye bread.
Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
4039 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
Lovely’s Fifty Fifty is a quaint pizzeria on N Mississippi Avenue between N Shaver Street and N Mason Street. Founded by the talented duo of Sarah Minnick and Michael Zusman, this charming eatery is renowned for its handcrafted, wood-fired pizzas made with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Signature options include the Rainbow Chard, with crushed tomatoes, fermented chilis & carrots, olives, and capers, and the Sprouting Spring Brassicas with pounded garlic, ricotta, and lemon agrumato. In addition to pizzas, the menu offers craveable, organic, house-made ice creams featuring unique flavors like Buckwheat Honey Toffee and Malted Milk Ball.
2525 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
For exceptional Filipino food, Magna Kusina- led by Chef Carlo Lamagna- is the place to be. Magna showcases the rich flavors and diverse influences of Filipino cuisine. If you have to pick one main, go for the Mom’s Crab Fat Noodles, featuring house-made squid ink noodles, Dungeness crab, corn, peppers, seasonal pickles, and crab fat sarsa.
If you’re in the mood for something meatier, try the Oxtail Kare-Kare with pumpkin seed butter, long beans, and eggplant. The Pancit Bihon, a savory noodle dish made with carrots, cabbage, and fried garlic, is a delightful option for vegetarians.
Magna Kusina also offers a variety of small plates and appetizers, such as the Sisig, crispy pork bits marinated in soy sauce and calamansi.
Mediterranean Exploration Company
333 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Located in Portland’s hip Pearl District, just north of Powell’s City of Books, Mediterranean Exploration Company (MEC) is the pioneer restaurant from the Sesame Collective, a group of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern eateries around Portland. MEC’s bustling and friendly Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar center around an open hearth.
MEC has a fun cocktail menu with delicious drinks sourced from local distilleries. Their food menu features a slew of roasted and grilled dishes straight from the hearth. I loved their roasted eggplant dip and house-made labneh with fried cauliflower and wood-fired pita bread.
Q Restaurant & Bar
828 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Located in a bright and lively dining space with an open kitchen in downtown Portland, Q Restaurant and Bar is a family-owned and operated eatery that uses local purveyors to create its eclectic menu. Head Chef Annie Cuggino uses her decades-long career in Portland and New York City to inform her innovative culinary creations inspired by Oregon’s seasonal bounty.
Q Restaurant’s menu runs the gamut of world cuisines with Oregon’s fresh ingredients as a centerpiece. You can have a traditional Indian dish as an appetizer, an American-style salad, and an Italian entrée at Q.
I loved the curried potato-filled dosa with pickled beets, cauliflower, coconut, and mint leaves. The seafood stew was incredibly comforting, with Washington mussels and clams, sturgeon, wild prawns, and calamari all from the Pacific.
Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon’s
4512 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
Portland hidden gem Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon is a Mexican restaurant that offers a truly authentic Mexican culinary experience just a short distance from the Reed College. The De Leon family, who have been in the restaurant business for over two decades, serve classic Mexican dishes, from tacos and burritos to chili relleno and pinto beans.
Their Guisados– flavorful stews served with house-made tortillas– rotate daily, with delectable options including cochinita pibil and puerco verde, amongst others. If you find yourself in Portland, Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon’s is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic, homemade Mexican dining experience.
2448 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
Tusk is a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant that locally sources the freshest ingredients from Portland and Oregon’s fruitful farms. In the Buckman Neighborhood, Tusk has a wonderfully light and airy dining space painted all white with a minimalist aesthetic. There’s also a great outdoor patio to dine al fresco.
Tusk’s menu has a variety of Mediterranean appetizers and spreads known as Mezze. I recommend splitting the mezze platter to sample all the appetizers at once. It contains hummus, turmeric potato salad, beets and tahini, roasted delicata squash with green wheat and dates, pickles, olives, Aleppo chili oil.
If you still have room after that, try the Mediterranean take on steak and eggs with Wagyu beef, pork, a sunny side egg, celeriac remoulade, dates, and toasted bread.
923 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Afuri Izakaya is a sleek, contemporary Japanese restaurant led by Chef Taichi Ishizuki. Afuri Izakaya’s menu is centered around its signature ramen, which features a light, flavorful yuzu-infused broth that sets it apart from other ramen offerings in the city.
With its delicate balance of citrus and savory flavors, the Yuzu Shio Ramen will change how you see noodle soup. The Tonkotsu Tantanmen is a more robust option with its rich, spicy broth and tender pork chashu.
In addition to ramen, Afuri Izakaya offers an array of small plates, sushi, and robata-grilled dishes. Explore their carefully curated selection of sake, Japanese whiskeys, and craft cocktails, such as the Sabita Highball or the Ume Lemonade, to round off your meal.
1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
Led by Chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly, who is of Indonesian and Irish descent, Gado Gado brings a unique blend of culinary influences to its menu. Chef Pisha-Duffly’s background and passion for creative flavors are evident in the dishes, which are rich in spices and showcase the vibrant cuisine of Southeast Asia.
The menu is built around the Rijsttafel (rice table) tradition, which consists of a seemingly endless offering of deliciously spiced dishes served family style. From Shrimp Ceviche to Chicken Satay, it’s an adventurous meal designed for sharing. If you’re planning a trip to the Beaver State, stop by Gado Gado on Sunday or Monday for their Singaporean Chili Crab special.
511 NE 24th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
Modern Korean-American restaurant Han Oak is located in a converted garage behind Chef Peter Cho’s home in the vibrant Kerns neighborhood. Cho, a James Beard Award nominee, has honed his skills in some of New York’s top kitchens and brings his passion for Korean cuisine and his contemporary culinary techniques to the forefront, offering a menu that is both innovative and deeply rooted in tradition.
Han Oak’s menu offers a variety of small plates centered around the Bone Broth Supreme hot pot. Each guest gets a veritable cornucopia of curated meats and veg. Examples include Mom’s Kimchi, koji-cured coppa, a seasonal mix from the local Flying Coyote Farm, and delicious dry-aged beef and pork dumplings.
1239 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
Located in the heart of downtown Portland on SW Broadway, Higgins is just a short walk from Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The restaurant is helmed by acclaimed Chef Greg Higgins, a James Beard Award winner and a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement.
His menu perfectly captures the diversity of local fare, with options like warm chevre budino, Applewood-smoked Sockeye, and Pacific oysters on the half-shell. The restaurant’s Charcuterie Platter is rave-worthy, featuring an assortment of salamis, cheeses, terrines, and a duck liver mousette created by Higgins himself.
In addition to the exceptional food, Higgins is also known for its extensive beer and wine list, which includes a variety of local craft brews and wines from Oregon and beyond.
Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen
835 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen is a bustling eatery in downtown Portland, offering an impressively diverse menu of traditional and modern Vietnamese dishes. The Spring Roll appetizer is deliciously fresh, with tender vermicelli, crisp vegetables, mint, and your choice of sausage, shrimp, or tofu.
However, the restaurant’s true superstar is, of course, their steaming hot bowl of pho with love simmered in every sip of five-spice beef broth. You can pick meats like lean brisket or pulled chicken breast to accompany the herbaceous side plate of accompaniments featuring cilantro, red onion, sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos, and lime.
The first time that secret recipe soup touches your tongue, it’s a truly transcendent experience.
1524 SE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Nimblefish is an Edomae-inspired 10-seat fine-dining sushi restaurant in Southeast Portland with a highly curated Omakase experience from famed Chef Cody Auger, who creates an ever-changing chef’s tasting menu of the most delicious and high-quality sushi, nigiri, and sashimi.
Each course has a specific wine or sake pairing, but you can also explore the expansive wine list to enjoy a bottle or two during this intimate and memorable meal. The cuts of fish are so fresh and perfect that the dishes need little adornment to be stunning in taste and plating. My favorite plates included the octopus sashimi, smoked salmon rolls, and fermented soybean rolls known as inari.
580 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Toki is a trendy and cozy eatery specializing in contemporary Korean cuisine with a hint of fusion. Located in the bustling area of Southeast Portland, the restaurant serves up innovative brunch and dinner menus.
If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself at Toki on some sunny Saturday morning, order the Omurice. This crowning culinary achievement takes the traditional omelet and jazzes it up with kimchi fried rice and impossibly tender pork belly.
For dinner, go for the flight of Korean Fried Chicken Wings with whimsical flavors that include the Essence of Instant Ramen, Korean Hot Chicken Chili Oil, Sweet Garlic Soy, and Spicy Gochujang Tamarind. Toki also offers season specials– like their recent “Toki Bell” Halloween menu– that will keep you coming back to see what they’ve cooked up next.
1901 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Persian Kabab is a Persian Food Truck serving the freshest and most authentic Persian-style kebabs and roasted vegetables. Persian Kabab is a great spot to pick up lunch to go on a busy work schedule or as a sunny afternoon picnic at nearby Poet’s Beach along the Willamette River.
Portions are incredibly hearty for a reasonable price. You can choose from various kabab combos that come with delicious Zaatar rice and roasted veggies. I recommend the combo of chicken and kofta kebabs with rice and grilled lemon.
2333 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232
In the Kerns neighborhood, Friendship Kitchen is a Vietnamese comfort food restaurant and tropical cocktail bar with a huge back patio and a tiki-hut vibe. Chef Trang Nguyen offers vibrant dishes as colorful and tropical as the fun and festive atmosphere.
Her incredible food and playful cocktail program have earned accolades from Eater and multiple local publications. I love all of the Vietnamese-style tropical cocktails, especially the Ho Chi Mama with lychee puree, simple syrup, lemon, Chambord, and vodka. It pairs perfectly with a spicy bowl of Pho or Bun bo Hue lemongrass soup with beef brisket.
1503 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Located a block from downtown Portland’s Worth Park Blocks and the Portland Art Museum, Love Belizean is a Latin American fast-casual restaurant specializing in Belizean dishes. The menu is written on a giant chalkboard. You can order and collect your meal at the counter.
If you’ve never had Belizean food, you’re in for a treat with rich, comforting tropical curries, fried chicken, and seasoned rice dishes. I loved the Belizean red beans and rice version, with stewed red beans in a coconut curry broth with seasoned coconut rice. I wish I had tried the beer-braised pork, but I’ll surely be back for round two!
113 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
Lechón is a fine-dining South American restaurant on the beautiful waterfront of the Willamette River in Portland’s Chinatown with spectacular views of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Lechon’s head chef, Jaco Smith, serves family-style meals of Argentinian-style parilladas and empanadas, Peruvian ceviches and seafood dishes, and more in a stunning four-story ceilinged dining room with a giant live jellyfish and coral reef aquarium.
I loved their grilled octopus with chorizo fried potatoes, salsa verde, and preserved lemon as a starter. It’s hard to pass up the baked piquillo pepper empanadas with cheese, onion, parsley, and ancho aioli. Their grilled selection of Argentinian-style meat and Peruvian seafood is fantastic, and I recommend one of each for the table.
Mole Mole Mexican Cuisine
2231-2237 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211
Located in the Alberta Arts District, Mole Mole Mexican Cuisine is a family-owned and run food cart serving the most authentic Mexican dishes from every region of Mexico. Married duo Roberto Flores and Alejandra Rendon act as head chef and sous chef, respectively, while their daughter Brenda takes orders and delivers the food.
While you may expect a hastily thrown together paper plate of food from a food stand, Mole Mole’s dishes offer a presentation that could rival a fine dining restaurant. You’ll find the various mole, tacos, burritos, salads, and other regional specialties like pozole and quesabiria.