Portland is a famous Pacific Northwest metropolis, drawing hipsters and nature lovers alike.
It’s a hub for alternative lifestyles and a natural haven full of parks and botanical gardens.
The majestic peak of Mt. Hood looms over Portland, and the Willamette and Columbia rivers traverse its picturesque neighborhoods.
In Portland, you can enjoy riverside picnics and a wealth of restaurants along rivers and waterways for a more formal meal with family and friends.
Below, I’ve come up with a list of the best waterfront restaurants in Portland, each with decks and window-lined interiors with stunning views of waterways and surrounding greenery.
3839 NE Marine Dr, Portland, OR 97211
Salty’s on the Columbia River is fine-dining seafood and steakhouse right on the Columbia River, next to the airport and Broughton Beach.
The interior has a lively and luxurious atmosphere with nautical décor and massive bay windows with panoramic views of the river.
There’s also a large deck over the river, which is open year-round, with a covering and heaters for winter guests.
Salty’s sources their seafood and steaks from the highest quality purveyors, taking advantage of the Pacific Northwest’s seafood when available.
I loved their crab cakes, using crabs from the coasts of Washington with preserved lemon and caper remoulade for garnish and dipping sauce.
113 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
Located in a historic downtown waterfront building along the Willamette River, Lechon is a refined and elegant South American-inspired seafood restaurant and steakhouse.
Led by South African Chef Jaco Smith, Lechon features the finest cuts of steak and seafood cooked using Argentinian and Peruvian methods, flavors, and ingredients.
The interior has a massive aquarium lining an entire wall, offering a mesmerizing natural attraction that almost distracts you from the beautiful views of the river, downtown, and the surrounding parks.
The menu revolves around a wood-fired grill. It offers authentic and beautifully plated dishes from Peru and Argentina.
I started with shrimp ceviche and brisket empanadas to get a taste of both culinary traditions.
309 SW Montgomery St, Portland, OR 97201
McCormick & Schmick’s is a nationally famous chain of fine-dining seafood restaurants that opened its flagship restaurant in Portland in 1974.
Now with over 400 locations nationwide, McCormick & Schmick’s is the gold standard for traditional American seafood in a luxurious atmosphere.
Its Portland location lies at the RiverPlace Marina, overlooking the Willamette River.
As a Pacific Northwest native restaurant, McCormick & Schmick’s has a proprietary raw and cooked seafood program, sourcing most of its selection from Oregon and Washington’s coast.
They also offer fine steaks, craft cocktails, and locally-sourced organic vegetables.
For me, nothing can top their Pacific NW salmon stuffed with crab and shrimp, brie, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes.
110 SE Caruthers St, Portland, OR 97214
If you’re looking for the most romantic dining experience in Portland, Portland Spirit Cruises and Events offer daily dinner cruises along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
The Willamette River Cruise leaves from downtown Portland, with spectacular skyline views and neon-lit bridges.
Tours last two hours and include a full-service bar, fine-dining service, and gourmet traditional American fare.
The Columbia River tour has options for brunch and dinner, while the Willamette tour offers brunch, lunch, and dinner.
I went for dinner on the Portland Spirit Downtown tour, admiring the twinkling of the city lights reflected on the river.
I ordered the Parmesan-crusted chicken breast with marinara, a five-grain medley, and seasonal vegetables.
250 NE Tomahawk Island Dr #22, Portland, OR 97217
Located on Hayden Island overlooking the Columbia River’s North Portland Harbor, Island Café is a floating restaurant with a casual tiki hut vibe.
They’ve been serving classic regional American fare, tropical cocktails, and local brews in a laid-back and festive atmosphere since 1989.
Since they’re an outdoor restaurant, they’re open during the late spring and summer months.
They have delicious tropical cocktails for adults and non-alcoholic versions for kids.
I had the Happy Mermaid, a mango rum cocktail with pineapple, blue curacao, and soda water.
The food menu has everything from burgers to salads and fish tacos.
I loved their hand beer battered Alaskan Halibut fish and chips with tartar sauce and lemon.
On The Esplanade Overlooking The Harbor 315 S, SW Montgomery St suite 340, Portland, OR 97201
Winner of Open Table’s Diners’ Choice Award for the last four years, Il Terrazzo is a traditional Italian Bistro in a romantic, rustic-chic dining space overlooking RiverPlace Marina in Downtown Portland.
A massive collection of Italian and Napa Valley wines line the interior walls with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large deck with views of the Willamette River.
Their traditional Italian menu features regional and seasonal specialties from around Italy to pair with a robust wine list or craft cocktail.
Pasta is made from scratch daily, and they offer every classic dish imaginable using imported Italian cheeses, tomatoes, and olive oils.
My favorite pasta is their pesto gastronomici with house-made pesto and fresh ravioli.
2901 NE Marine Dr, Portland, OR 97211
Another floating outdoor restaurant, The Deck is on the docks of Colombia River’s McCuddy’s Marina, with options to arrive by boat or car.
The Deck is a family-friendly, casual bar and grill, offering American bar fare, cocktails, and local beer.
They’re a fantastic destination for summer happy hours, which happen on weekdays from 2 pm -5 pm.
The Deck’s vibey atmosphere makes it one of the best waterfront restaurants in Portland.
I recommend arriving at the tail end of happy hour so you can grab a cheap drink and meal as the sun sets.
I recommend their steamer clams and fried calamari with house-made chipotle aioli to accompany a local microbrew.
11505 NE Yacht Harbor Dr, Portland, OR 97217
Located on the opposite shore of Hayden Island from The Island Café, 3 Sheets at the Harbor is a charming contemporary American restaurant and cocktail bar overlooking the Columbia River and Hayden Bay Marina.
Its secluded location, sleek design, and affordable yet gourmet menu make 3 Sheets at the Harbor a hidden gem.
Their creative New American menu features unique takes on classic dishes from around the globe like avocado pesto linguine.
I loved their dirty fries, topped with pork belly, herbs, parmesan, and truffle oil.
It was a decadent appetizer that I followed with the main dish of orange glazed salmon.
1510 S Harbor Way, Portland, OR 97201
Led by Peruvian native Chef Alexander Diestra, King Tide Fish and Shell is a Japanese and Peruvian Fusion restaurant using Pacific Northwest seafood.
Located on RiverPlace Marina in a fashionable, urban-chic space, King Tide Fish and Shell offers sophisticated meals that combine classic Peruvian dishes, Japanese cooking methods, and modern takes on Pacific Northwest dishes.
You can see the Japanese and Peruvian influences in the appetizer menu with dishes like ceviche or steamed clams with pork belly.
The plating was exquisite. I had the Grilled Branzino with fresh herbs, olive oil, chermoula, garlic rice, and sweet soy sauce.