I will be in Portland Friday October 12-Sunday 14th. After reading so much about all the great food in Portland, I am more than a little excited to try it. Trouble is, with so many options, I don't really know how to decide where to go! Particularly on Friday, when I will be alone most of the day. (If any Food52ers out there would like to meet for lunch, let me know!) I would love to hear from some local Portland folks on what I should not miss on my first visit. Thanks!

Cristina Sciarra


Cristina S. October 5, 2012
I want to thank you all so much for your suggestions; I really trust this community's opinions, and it's clear that I'll need to make many more visits in order to try everything I want to!

At the moment (and I fully comprehend this might be too much/some might consider it silly to plan a trip to a new city entirely based around food), I'm thinking:

Breakfast: Gibassier from the Pearl Bakery
Lunch: Tasty and Sons
Before dinner drink: Tear Drop Lounge
Dinner: Little Bird

Morning: Farmers Market
Lunch: Food trucks (SE 2nd and Oak OR SE Washington and Alder and 9th and 10th?)
Before dinner drink: Horse Brass Pub
Dinner: Laurelhurst Market

Brunch: Bunk Sandwiches
5pm meal before running to the airport: Clyde Common

In between, I will run in place and do a bunch of pushups...
hardlikearmour October 5, 2012
Sounds like a good trip! One tiny piece of advice - order brunchish food at TnS, as their lunchish stuff is not as good IMO.
Cristina S. October 5, 2012
Will do! Thanks for all your great advice, hardlikearmour!
ChefJune October 5, 2012
Well, Pok Pok is in New York too, now. So where is Andy Ricker?

So much wonderful food in Portland! Cathy Whims' Nostrana; Naomi Pomeroy's Beast; Janis Martin's Tanuki are just three of the fantastic meals I had last visit.

And then there are the food trucks. There's a huge concentration of them downtown so you don't have to worry about transportation.

Who's cooking at Castagna now?
pierino October 5, 2012
Le Pigeon for sure but then you might want to try the Gilt Club http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2LBICPEK6w&feature=relmfu
Cristina S. October 5, 2012
Ha, I actually exclusively eat chickens named Colin, but of course I also enjoy waiting no less than five hours (outside in the rain, if possible) to eat marionberry pancakes.
drbabs October 5, 2012
You have great advice! I just read this article by Andrew of Eating Rules and thought I'd share:
JustSomeCook October 5, 2012
Portland is one of my fiance and I's favorite getaway cities. We will stop in for a weekend and spend the entire time eating or in Powell's. My best suggestions are:

Ned Ludd; A fantastic little farm to table joint that will be deep into the throws of fall harvest season when you are in town. Their wood fired meats and their house made charcuterie are exceptional!

Olympic Provisions; Speaking of charcuterie, this is portland's little-big hero on the charcuterie scene. You should catch a lunch at their southwest location and get a taste for the pdx's finest dry cured treats.

Teardrop coctail lounge; This is the bar where most all of portland's great bar tenders cut their teeth. Right near the heart of the pearl district, this is a great place to stop on your way to dinner.

Oven and Shaker; Is a great pizza and small plates restaurant a block away from the teardrop and two away from Powell's. If that wasn't enough their cocktails and food [did I mention the small plates?] are spot on as well.

Higgens; Man, this place is old school. It will restore your faith in the classic bourgeois cuisine that others have beaten to death.

Pok Pok; If you are doing a whirl wind tour to really get a taste of what is portland I would leave this one off of your list. Don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic restaurant. JB award winning no less, but it isn't a good reflection of the portland food scene.

Le pigeon; Is my favorite restaurant in portland. They really do it right with their fine dining food in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Beast; Another skip in my book. The food is very inconsistent. Swinging from sublime to mediocre from course to course. As well, if you draw the short straw, as we did, you will have the misfortune of sitting next to some oafish gas bag who will ceaselessly expound upon how the current meal stacks up against every other high class fine dining experience they have had [better than per se, worse than TFL].

Cheers and have fun!
hardlikearmour October 5, 2012
Obviously there are a ton of places to eat in Portland, and for the most part it's hard to go wrong. Here's my list of ideas. Feel free to message me if you have questions or want more suggestions.

1. I implore you to get a Gibassier from the Pearl Bakery. Either go to the bakery or go the Portland Farmer's Market at PSU on Saturday where they have a booth. In either case go fairly early so they're not sold out.

2. If you like tea, Steve Smith has a tea room over on NW Thurman at about 16th. You can do a tea tasting of 4 flights for 8 dollars - you chose what teas you want to try. The tea room is right next to Olympic Provisions, which is a great place to stop for a sandwich or to pick up charcuterie. They make fabulous salami (my current favorite is their Loukanika with garlic, cumin, and orange peel). They also have a booth at the Farmer's Market, but don't sell all of their varieties there. The NW downtownish districts have alphabetical order to their streets, so for instance Thurman is 3 blocks west of Quimby which is helpful when figuring out walking distances!) You may want to head over to Salt and Straw for ice cream while your at it, though it'll be a bit of a walk (NW 23rd and Kearney).

3. You pretty much have to stop at Powell's books (between Burnside and Couch and NW 10th and 11th). Might as well walk over to the Oven and Shaker for pizza and cocktails (between 11th and 12th on NW Everett). If you're into oysters, then stop at the Parish first (11th and Everett) for the best raw oysters in the city (but still go to O&S afterward).

4. Laurelhurst Market may be my favorite restaurant ever. Even my sister (who's vegetarian) loves it, so it's not just about the steak. They have great starters and sides, as well as moules frites. They sell sandwiches from the butcher counter at lunch. It's a bit of a hike from where you are on 32nd and E. Burnside (Burnside is the N-S divider for the city, and the Willamette river is the E-W divider. N Portland is east and north of the Willmette, but is west of NE Portland.) If you are looking for dessert after supper, head over to Pix/Bar Vivant on 22nd and E. Burnside. Try a chardon if they have them and you like booze (they take liquor and pour it into a mold somehow made of cornstarch and sugar, the sugar crystallizes around the liquor, then they dip it in chocolate). They also have great macarons and other pastries.

5. Tasty n Sons is great for brunch. Expect a line. If you like omelets, some of the best I've ever had are at the Bijou (on SW 3rd, just a couple of blocks south of Burnside). Another place to check out is the Sunshine Tavern (SE Division and 31st). I've not had brunch there yet, but vvvanessa and vrunka really like it, and I trust their judgement. I've also really like the brunch at Irving Street Kitchen at NW 13th and Irving.

6. Definitely stop at a food cart pod. How can you not? There's a good mix of stuff at the pod(s) located between SE Washington and Alder and 9th and 10th. The People's Pig (though it may be called something else now, or still be unnamed) is at the corner of SW 10th and Washington. Nong's Khao Man Gai is at SW 9th and Alder. Both are good, depending on what you're in the mood for.

7. If you're into alcohol there are some options. I love sour beer so I have to recommend Cascade Brewing Barrel House. Food is meh, but the beer is great. There are numerous other local brewpubs. If you're into spirits you kinda have to go to Clear Creek Distillery. It's open 7 days a week and offers free tasting (though each person only gets 5 tastes per OLCC rules). It's on the corner of NW 24th and Wilson. Nearby is Bull Run Distillery (btwn 22nd and 23rd on NW Quimby). They make a white rum that is amazing. Check the website for hours, though, as its hours are more sporadic. The East side has distillery row that is comprised of 6 distilleries. You can do tastings and even a pedicab tour if you want. My favorites are House Spirits for their Aviation Gin and New Deal for their Mud Puddle Vodka (a not sweet chocolate vodka).

8. Pok Pok is another great option. Tasty, tasty, Thai food and drinking vinegar sodas.

Portland Monthly magazine is a good spot to look for info on the local food scene.
I'm sure I'm forgetting things, and will try to add more later.
NealB October 4, 2012
Here is the tour I usually give people:
Bunk Sandwiches for lunch (there is a downtown location)
Coava for coffee
Pok Pok for Thai food
Tasty and Sons and Broder for breakfast/brunch
Clyde Common for cocktails
There are a lot of good options for fancy dinners I've taken people to DOC, St. Jack, and Ned Ludd (very portland).
You should probably stop by at least one food cart as well.

is a good reference point.

ATL October 4, 2012
I know Portland very well. You will find that getting around is easy. Distances in the city aren't great; it's easy to get from Downtown to NW to SE. North and NE Portland are on the other side of the river (Willamette). You might want to save your N/NE restaurants for the days when you have a car. So much to choose from! The Laurelhurst Market Restaurant is excellent if if you like beef
For brunch: Tasty and Sons

Veritable Quandary on SW Main is a local hangout close to City Hall that pulls in local politicos, students, downtown types, and a real mix for a lively bar scene with a great bar menu ( (great burgers and handout fries) and imaginative
I'm not a food cart person, but Portlanders love their food carts so check them out.
That's a few to get you started. Good luck!
paseo October 4, 2012
You will love the Portland, OR food scene (lived in the NW for years). Now am in Maine and our Portland has some wonderful food places as well, but somewhat more seasonal - and we are heading into the definite down time.
Cristina S. October 4, 2012
Oh yes, Portland, OR. Sorry not to specify! I think we will be saying between Downtown and Goose Hollow?

Ha, my interests are food! But specifically I trend toward Italian, French, Spanish, American/local, markets, etc. (But I will honestly try anything, which I guess is not to helpful as far as narrowing down recs.) I will have a car the second two days I'm there, although not the first.

Thanks all!
em-i-lis October 4, 2012
i don't know if it's open for lunch, but we went to Laurelhurst Market per hardlikearmour's suggestion and it was definitely our favorite meal in portland. FABulous.
skip higgins! if you head out to newburg find the Uprooted food truck. wish we'd had time to hit Pok Pok!
paseo October 4, 2012
Maine or Oregon?
hardlikearmour October 4, 2012
Oh, good question! I assumed OR, since it's pretty well-known for it's food scene.
hardlikearmour October 4, 2012
What are your general interests? Will you have transportation, and if not what general area will you be staying? I will gladly give you advice, but would love a bit of direction. I'm working in Salem on Friday, so sadly won't be able to join you for lunch.
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