The Best Restaurants In Portland, Oregon image


The Best Restaurants In Portland, Oregon

There’s simply too much good food to eat in Portland. Start with this list of buzzy sit-down spots, the best food trucks, and much more.

Portland has been experimenting with fermentation, foraging, and whole animal butchery long before the restaurant world decided those things were trendy. The city gained a reputation as a food destination in the early 2010s, and that spirit is still part of Portland’s DNA. Even high commercial rents couldn’t keep ambitious cooks down: a large group of chefs now skip storefronts altogether in favor of food carts, even more so here than elsewhere in the US.

There are plenty of great places to eat all over the city, but some of the best restaurants in Portland are east of the Willamette River, the city’s natural dividing line. Head to Inner Southeast to get a taste of food pod culture or sample small-batch spirits along Distillery Row and discover there’s more to Northwest life than hoppy IPAs. North Mississippi is also a hub for indie shops, breweries, and Prost Marketplace, the popular food cart collection with an on-site pub.


photo credit: Zach Lewis



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Kann is by far the biggest Portland restaurant opening in the past couple of years. Maybe that has something to do with a former Top Chef contestant in the kitchen, or the fact that they smoke their own meats over a live fire. We think it’s because a meal here always feels like a party. It’s the kind of place where you make a group reservation for a month in advance because your friend is in town or you just want to celebrate your astrological season of choice. 

Get Haitian-inspired dishes like crispy taro fritters and coffee-rubbed bone-in ribeye and hang out at one of the long communal tables while pretending you’re in a Kinfolk magazine spread. Reservations are no longer as hard to nab as they were when Kann first opened, but don’t count on being able to waltz in on a weeknight—you definitely want to plan ahead.

Jeju, from the team behind Han Oak, is not your average Korean BBQ spot. They do a $75 set menu and butcher whole animals in-house, so depending on the night, you might find sausage made from off-cuts or glazed pork belly, grilled behind the counter on your plate. While sliced meat, eaten bo ssam-style, is the main attraction, the banchan, including blistered padron peppers with candied anchovies, smashed cucumbers, and chile crisp, are Scottie Pippin-level sidekicks. The high wooden ceilings make the chatter and vintage hip-hop echo, so while there’s lots of room to spread out as you split a bottle of soju or a round of makgeolli cocktails, it’s definitely not the place for estate planning.



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This kappo-style restaurant seats only 15 people, doesn't take reservations for more than two, and flies in high-quality seafood from Japan while still keeping things relatively affordable—almost everything on the menu is less than $20. Book a spot for a semi-special weeknight meal or even an anniversary. Rotating specials like golden-eye snapper and half beak will satisfy the sushi nerd in your life, while the saba battera, a house-cured mackerel served in a square-shaped roll, is buttery enough to win over that friend who always sticks to California rolls.

Câche Câche is a hidden seafood raw bar behind Fracture Brewing that shares an outdoor patio with the Lil’ America pod. It’s a sort of secret experience that’s good for a date fueled by seafood towers overflowing with raw oysters, beautifully plated scallop crudo drizzled with chamomile oil, and hamachi garnished with green apple. You also need their lobster roll, which comes with hunks of meat doctored up with sauce gribiche, topped with brown butter, and served in a small hollowed-out brioche loaf. Câche Câche has a tight list of reasonably priced wine to pair with your seafood, and thanks to the neighboring taproom, you can sip a petite saison or rice lager if you’re more into beer.

The owner of Gracie’s worked in some Brooklyn pizzerias, which might have something to do with how perfectly charred and bubbly the crust is here. That’s where the comparisons end, though, since its toppings are all Portland eclecticism—you’ll find stuff like Mama Lil’s peppers, shishitos, and lemon oil in the mix. You can’t go wrong with the margherita if you’re the type who likes to let a few quality ingredients do their thing, but if you go with a group, add on one of the daily pizza specials that combine a bunch of toppings in wonderful ways. Hazelnuts, fennel, calabrian chilis, green garlic, and fonduta? Pizza Hut could never.


Nong’s Khao Man Gai started as a food truck in 2003, and the local legend has since expanded to a couple of brick-and-mortar locations on both sides of the river. They mainly serve their namesake dish: deceptively simple sliced chicken poached with ginger, garlic, and pandan, served with jasmine rice cooked in aromatic chicken stock and a spicy-tart sauce that’s sold by the bottle. Stop in for a casual lunch while exploring Inner Southeast, and make sure you order some crispy fried chicken skins on the side if they aren’t sold out yet.

There are a few things you can count on when you eat at Kachka: the room will be lively, a silly amount of vodka will get passed around, and you’ll be wowed by the Belarusian food. This Southeast spot is a great place for dinner before a night out, where you can fill up on stuffed dumplings with farmer’s cheese or pelmeni with three different types of meat. They also have a wide variety of infused vodkas—including birch, sea buckthorn, and marionberry—that are perfect for taking shots with the table next to you.

If you want to celebrate that new job or just splurge a bit on dinner, go to Le Pigeon. This East Burnside restaurant serves some of the best French food in the city, in a space that has bare brick walls and a tiny open kitchen. The tasting menu (with a vegetarian option) changes daily, so you might see things like halibut with kimchi glazed pork belly or beef tartare with saffron pickled potatoes. The restaurant’s iconic foie gras profiteroles with caramel are always served as a meal-ender, and we now refuse to eat duck liver with heated sugar any other way.

Portland has no shortage of spots to grab a steamy bowl of phở, including Rose VL Deli. However, this Vietnamese spot on Powell has an always-changing rotation of two daily soups (which might not necessarily include phở). The options change every day, and could include bún riêu with shrimp cake and sliced pork on a Thursday or bún thang with shredded chicken and shredded fried egg on a Friday. To prevent any broth-based heartache, go early if you’re set on a particular soup, because they will sell out by lunch.

You can find Salt & Straw in Seattle, LA, and the internet, but this ice cream spot started in Portland, and it’s still worth the wait to get inside. While you can certainly go with chocolate or vanilla and leave happy, the more unusual and rotating seasonal flavors—like rose petals and molé or pear and blue cheese—are where the real action is. They have three locations around the city, but we like the original on Alberta, since you can walk around the nearby Arts District while you enjoy a scoop or two.


Similar to how Vin Diesel loves Dungeons and Dragons, the Thai food and Texas BBQ mashup at Eem might seem unexpected at first, but the more you think about it, it totally makes sense. The combination of smoked meats, birds eye chilies, and handfuls of herbs go perfectly together, and a meal here is worth the (inevitable) wait. They don’t take reservations, but put your name on the list before heading to nearby Migration Brewing or The Box Social to buy some time. After one bite of the creamy white curry that’s studded with chunks of burnt-end brisket, you’ll get why it’s on everyone’s table. Add some smoked pork belly krapao, topped with a fried egg and a fun slushie drink, and soak up the party vibes before heading to your coworker’s gallery show you keep flaking on.

Magna Kusina, a boisterous space punctuated with reds, blues, and yellows borrowed from the Philippines’ flag, is a great place for modern takes on Filipino food. Start off with a few grilled skewers to share—we like the diver scallops, wagyu, and shishitos—then focus on dishes like Mom’s Crab Fat Noodles made from squid ink and local dungeness crab or the duck legs with squash, long beans, and dirty rice. The restaurant is pretty casual, but you still need to make a reservation for a table. Otherwise, plan on eating takeout on the couch while reruns of Bar Rescue play in the background.

Portland doesn’t have a history of strong pizza traditions, which means you’ll never be subjected to a Chicago deep dish vs. NYC slice debate (though everybody here seems to love eating pizza with ranch). If anything could represent Portland-style pizza, though, it’d be Lovely’s Fifty Fifty on N. Mississippi. This is an ideal place for a casual dinner in one of the big wooden booths. Expect tangy sourdough crust, no sauce, and seasonal toppings like cherry tomato confit, summer squash, and orange-infused olive oil. Don’t be surprised to see a rainbow of edible flowers sprinkled on top, which is prettier than sliced basil anyways.


Even if you're just visiting and only in town for a few days, you should make it a point to check out the Pearl District. Not only to waste four hours in Powell’s rare book room, but to also experience Republica’s seven-course tasting menu for dinner. There aren’t many places in town to try food highlighting Mexico’s culinary history, while also managing to be fun, modern, and delicious. 

You’ll get small bites using Mexican and Indigenous ingredients like annatto, palo santo, and plenty of corn, alongside dishes that draw from ancient Mayan times. Come here for a special occasion and add on a wine pairing that features pours exclusively from BIPOC, female, and LGBTQ winemakers, with a focus on Mexican and Mexican-American producers.

This small spot from the same team behind Le Pigeon reminds us of a Parisian wine bar because of the incredible small plates and quality by-the-glass pours. Except nobody who’s hanging out and having dinner at 10pm in the 11th arrondissement would be eating the kind of food you’ll find here. We’re talking about things like the duck stack—pancakes topped with a duck egg, smothered with gravy, and topped with an optional slice of foie gras—and the delicious mini steam burgers, Portland’s answer to White Castle. Canard is small on space but big on charm, so it’s best for solo diners who want to hang out on a window-facing bar stool or couples kicking off their evening at one of the banquettes that line the wall.

There’s nothing else quite like Berlu in Portland. The restaurant recently won a ton of awards, and it’s also the only place in town you’ll find Vietnamese dishes like pink shrimp with lychee and fermented flowers or black cod with durian. While the space gives off serious fine dining energy (let’s just there’s a lot of neutral tones and blonde wood), it’s not stuffy at all and still works for any kind of special occasion. Definitely make a reservation, especially because they only serve dinner on Friday and Saturday. If you can’t, they often do bakery pop-ups, serving Vietnamese sweets.

Despite being located near multiple bodies of water, Portland hasn’t always been known for high-end sushi. That was before Nimblefish came on the scene in 2017 with edomae-style nigiri presented one at a time like small jewels. This Hawthorne spot serves some truly excellent sushi, with plenty of local shellfish, imported ingredients like saba mackerel that’s cured in-house, and always perfectly cooked and seasoned rice. They have an omakase menu for $95, and it’s worth snagging one of the 12 seats at the counter for a special night when you want something a little more lively than a formal fine dining spot.

Langbaan takes over Phuket Cafe on weekend nights, and it’s perfect for a big night out dinner when you want to spend a small fortune on excellent Thai dishes. The ever-changing tasting menu starts with a parade of sweet, spicy, and funky one-bite dishes before moving on to plates like gaeng luang, a soupy curry, with King salmon and roe that wouldn’t be out of place at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Bangkok. Just know that there are only six seatings per week, so reservations go fast.


You might not think your panang curry is crying out for summer squash and fried kale, but that just means you haven’t eaten at Phuket Cafe. You’ll see those kinds of flavor pairings often at this Northwest spot where PNW ingredients shine—maybe it’s beet root in the cheese roti, or albacore in the Thai-style ceviche. Come with a date, sit outside in the pink and green structure that resembles a train car, and share the paella with octopus and chili jam.

Oma’s Hideaway is the perfect spot to show off Portland’s penchant for fun Asian-influenced mash-ups. There’s char siu and longan chimichurri, curry fries with salted egg yolk aioli, and Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispie treats kissed with lime leaf and lemongrass. All of it’s perfect for sharing, and the space, with cool wallpaper, disco balls, and ‘70s light fixtures, is where you should catch up with friends when you need some serotonin after a long week. Much of the menu is inspired by the chef’s Chinese-Malaysian grandmother, and somehow it all just works.

If we had to nominate one dish to represent the Pacific Northwest, it’d have to be jojos. These fried potato wedges are usually served with a side of ranch, and nobody does them better than this SE Powell food cart. They’re not relegated to just a side here, though, as you can get them loaded with cheese and one of their ten different sauces (go with the jojo sauce, a blend of Duke’s mayo and ketchup). Their chicken sandwiches and burgers are also worth checking out, if for some reason you don’t want a meal consisting of only potatoes and condiments.

Even though some people like to compare us to Austin, Portland can’t really compete with cities in Texas when it comes to BBQ. That said, the smoked brisket at Matt’s BBQ could get a cautious nod of approval from any Lone Star state transplant (and that’s saying a lot). Lines can be long and the cart does sell out, so if you have your heart set on a pile of burnt ends or spare ribs, order ahead online. The best part about this truck’s location in the Prost Marketplace pod is that you can stage a mini-food crawl that includes breakfast sandwiches from Fried Egg I’m In Love and a pho’rench dip at White Elephant Asian Fusion without leaving the block.

This Mexican food truck is the place to find birria quesatacos served with consomme for dipping, but you should also get some tostadas with a toasty layer of cheese topped with birria, chopped onion, and cilantro. The truck is located in a grocery liquidator parking lot, but if you have a car, you can keep the braised meat party going by driving five minutes to Birria PDX and ordering an overflowing cup of birria ramen.

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photo credit: Christine Dong

The Best Restaurants In Portland, Oregon image