48 Hour Food Guide: Restaurants in Portland

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Portland is weird…and rad! Over 3 days we ate at 15 of the best restaurants in Portland and one farmers market – we could have kept going if we had more time, Portland is a great city for food lovers.

Check out the video of food in Portland we made, you won’t believe all the places we visited:

Get the Portland Food Guide

This is a very long post. If you’re planning a trip to Portland we’ve created a FREE PDF with links to the best restaurants in Portland and other details you should know.

Portlandia

Portland is the kind of city you need to see to believe. Don’t be surprised to see that the absurd characters from Portlandia are based on real-life residents.

The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland, which makes it a great weekend getaway. A typical liberal West Coast city, Portland has great food, drink and enough people watching to keep you busy.

Bike courier punks, coffee-drinking hipsters and craft beer drinking tree huggers. Buying local and recycling is a serious topic here.

Cheap Eats – Portland’s Food Carts

If you’re on a budget or just want great food the food cart scene in Portland is unbelievable. With over 600 food carts in pods all over the city there is no need to ever step inside a brick and mortar kitchen.

Many of the most popular restaurants in Portland once started as food carts and we can see why. We loved People’s Pig porchetta. I previously wrote about Portland food carts in this post and still recommend. Nong’s Khao Man Gai (now also a restaurant), Koi Fusion tacos, The Whole Bowl vegetarian.
 
 

 

 
 
people's pig porchetta

The Best Restaurants in Portland

pok pok noi
pok pok wings

Pok Pok Noi

Our first night we met Dave’s mentor Francois de Melogue, who he hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. Little did we know that Francois and his wife Lisa had planned 3 dinners in one night.

The first at the original location of Pok Pok, which lives up to the hype. We would have eaten the entire menu if we hadn’t plans to eat two more dinners.

Ken’s Artisan Pizza

We LOVE pizza. We eat frozen pizza and dirty street slices when we’re on a budget, and we ADORE really good pizza.

The key to great pizza is really the fundamentals – great tomato sauce and crust that isn’t soggy in the center. Sounds easy but it’s hard to find.

Ken’s Pizzeria is the best pizza we’ve had in ages and it’s the real deal. A handful of guys work in the open kitchen with a large wood fired oven and they pump out so much delicious pizza.

 
 

 

 
 

le pigeon

Le Pigeon

This was the only mandatory on our list and we knew it would be one of the best restaurants in Portland. Dave had been following Chef Gabriel Rucker for years on instagram and wanted to try his food.

It was the highlight of our trip and well worth it. Get a seat at the bar where all the action is.

 

Bollywood Theatre
Bollywood Theatre

We haven’t been to India…yet so we can’t vouch if this joint truly serves authentic Indian street food but it’s popular enough to have two locations.

Bollywood Theatre is pretty straightforward, order at the counter and have a seat. We loved the gobi Manchurian, which I swore was chicken; it was so good Dave learned how to make it so we could eat it at home.

 
 

 

 
 

Portland Biwa
biwa ramen

Biwa

When ramen was new Biwa was king, dominating an unsaturated market. Now there are plenty of ramen spots but that hasn’t hampered Biwa’s reign.
 

 
Come for the ramen and stay for the innovative cocktails. The vibe is a dangerous kind of cozy because you’ll want to stay here all night.

 
 

 

 
 
Little Bird Bistro kitchen
bone marrow

Little Bird Bistro

The sister restaurant of Le Pigeon, Little Bird quickly won us over with its roasted marrow bones, beef tongue, mushrooms and rosemary flathead.

It satisfied Dave’s sweet tooth with the peanut butter chocolate terrine.

 

Tasty n Alder

cowboy baked beans

Tasty n Alder

From the family of restaurants that include Toro Bravo, Tasty n Alder is open all day but people flock for brunch.

We loved the cowboy baked beans with cotija cheese above, housemade cottage cheese with pineapple jam and the chocolate potato doughnut. If you’re not up for brunch the charcuterie board is solid.

 
 

 

 
 

lardo
lardo fries

Lardo

Another food cart that was able to transition into not one but three successful locations. The menu features great porky sandwiches, hand cut fries bathed in more pork.

We were so full we couldn’t make room for a sandwich but stopped in before dinner for lardo fries and craft beer.

 


ned ludd

Ned Ludd

We didn’t have time to eat here on this trip but I visited Ned Ludd a few years ago and it remains on my mind. Local, seasonal fare cooked in a wood oven, you’ll need a car to visit but it’s worth the drive.

 
 

 

 
 

salt & straw menu
Salt & Straw sampler

Salt & Straw

Friends nagged us to go for ice cream at Salt & Straw and with so much hype we wondered how good could ice cream be? Pretty damn good.

We tried the sampler and the Pok Pok Drinking Vinegar Shake, which was amazing. So now we’re on the bandwagon, you MUST try Salt & Straw, it lives up to the hype.

 

blueberry bourbon basil
Blue Star Donuts

This is no ordinary donut shop. With flavours like blueberry bourbon basil, Blue Star Donuts truly are donuts for grownups.

 
 

 

 
 

macaronut

Disappointments of Restaurants in Portland

Pix Patisserie

Despite proclaiming to have the best macarons, we found them soft. The deep fried macaroon was cooked at too low a temp and came out soggy and oily.

Olympics Provisions

My biggest disappointment as I loved it years ago. Now the charcuterie and plated dishes are decent but nothing to write home about.

Trifecta Bakery

Falsely advertised, written on the front window it read “bread at 4pm.” We arrived on time for what we heard was great bread and butter.

Sadly we were greeted rudely by a server who didn’t know what “bread at 4pm” was so we left.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Waiting in line for any kind of food seems ridiculous in Portland, where there’s delicious food on every corner. But waiting in line for an okay doughnut is lunacy.

The doughnuts aren’t bad, they’re pretty good. But they aren’t worth standing in line. If you really want a doughnut go to Blue Star and get the blueberry bourbon basil.

 
 

 

 
 
Maurice Restaurant

Best Restaurants in Portland We Missed

MÅURICE

One of Bon Appetits picks for Best Restaurants in 2014, we tried to make it to this pastry luncheonette but just ran out of time.

Acropolis Steakhouse and Gentleman’s Club

While Portland is also (oddly) known for its stripclubs we weren’t as curious about the all nude dance club as we were with $6 steak, which everyone raves about.

Microbreweries

We’re not fans of hoppy beer and so we didn’t seek out any of the 8 locals.

 
 

 

 
 

portland state market

Get to the Market

There are farmers markets every day of the week in Portland but the best is on Saturday. If you’re wondering what to do in Portland, start here.

The Portland State Farmers Market is several blocks with local farmers, food producers and foragers.

While you may not be picking up groceries for the week there are plenty of food stands and people to keep you amused.

 

church of robotron

Walk it Off

We spent most of our time walking, primarily to make room for more food:
Powell’s Books ( 1005 W Burnside St) has over 1 million books It’s easy to lose hours there.
2nd Avenue Records (400 SW 2nd Ave) is a crazy mess of boxes and surly staff but the vinyl selection is amazing.
Church of Robotron at the Diode Gallery for electronic art (514 NW Couch), strange and hard to explain but go play Atari games on the street

 
 

 

 
 

Portland Westin

Where We Stayed

The Westin Portland hosted us for the long weekend and we loved the stay, right next to a food cart pod and walking distance to everything.

Pet friendly, they have dog treats at the front desk and if you forget your gym clothes they’ve partnered with New Balance to provide a gear lending program for $5 per stay.

Don’t forget if you found this post about restaurants in Portland helpful and you want a PDF copy just click here for the 48 Hour Guide to Portland

Additional images (c) Umit Asian Kelsey Curtis, Kelsey Curtis, Slava Keyzman, Awar Meman, Kelsey Curtis, Carly Jane,

Join the Conversation

  1. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer says:

    OMG yum! This is an AMAZING food guide Ayngelina! Although I have no immediate plans to visit Portland, this post made me consider booking a ticket just for the food 😀

  2. I’ve always wanted to travel to Portland and this guide just reaffirmed I need to make that happen! I really like that you also share the disappointments. It is refreshing to get a balanced, honest account.

  3. GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth says:

    I’m not a huge traveller but when I do make it to somewhere new the restaurants are the first things I check out! Thanks for this list 🙂

  4. THE AVANTGUARDIAN says:

    ….This post made me drool!

  5. This is great! I’m hoping to make it there this summer, so this will come in very handy.

  6. Oh I love the food! I’d find time to visit and try all their dishes.

  7. Jennifer @ Emulsified Family says:

    How fun! The other night we restaurant hopped for dinner. (Oh the life of being married to a chef, right?) I was so full! I can’t even imagine doing what you did! We loved Powell books on our latest trip down to Portland. You could get lost in there easily and walk around forever!! I agree about Voodoo Doughnuts too. Fun doughnuts, but too long of a line. We’ll have to check out Blue Star next time we are there! Thanks for the tip!

  8. Will Hatton says:

    This is a really delightful and mouthwatering food guide. I can’t wait to try these myself!

  9. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    Portland is my favorite food city in the US. And I just ate at Tasty n Alder when I was there last week!

  10. Wasim Akhtar says:

    AMAZING Food guide for those Traveler who wish to take supper or required food any time , Thanks for sharing helpful post.

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