This Northwest city, with its wildly eclectic population, has managed to foster an equally unique food-obsessed culture – one that rivals that of big-time food destinations like New York City and Los Angeles. Swarming with ethnic fusion, farm-to-table cuisine, and a staggering array of food carts, Portland is where food culture reigns supreme.
Le Pigeon has been named one of the best restaurants – if not the best – in Portland time and time again. Two-time James Beard Award-winning chef and co-owner Gabriel Rucker, along with co-owner Andy Fortgang, bring French-inspired fare that is both flawless and inspiringly inventive. The rotating menu features creative dishes like ‘quailducken,’ dry-aged pigeon with persimmon miso and black garlic oyster sauce, and seared foie gras with black pepper buttermilk pancakes; or opt for a tasting menu (with a pairing) – a culinary adventure of your dreams.
Toro Bravo is Portland’s little slice of Spanish heaven. Inspired by bold Mediterranean flavors, restaurateur John Gorham’s modern technique and ingenious twists bring new-age flair to otherwise traditional Spanish recipes. Using only local and seasonal produce, Toro Bravo features a daily-changing menu of pinchos, charcuteria, tapas, and raciones. Diners can expect things like prawns a la plancha with Calabrian chilies, caldo verde with chorizo, and boquerones with fried capers, alongside a lively atmosphere, epic selection of sherry, and ruby-red walls.
Bakery, Bar, Butcher, Deli, Restaurant, Pastry Shop, American, Pastries, $$$
Old Salt Marketplace is not as much of a restaurant as it is a haven for lovers of food and drink. Supper club and bar, deli, butcher, pastry shop, event space, and classroom – there really isn’t anything Old Salt doesn’t do. Set in an industrial-style loft space, the marketplace is an obvious choice for the finest meats in all of Portland. But it also boasts a list of top-notch gourmet fare and wood-fired dishes: hearth-roasted beef with romesco, beef tartare with pickled peppers, and crab boil-spiced pork rinds – best paired with a perfectly crafted cocktail.
OX is where Argentina and Portland cuisine collide. Fueled by the fire of the traditional Argentineparrilla, or wood-fired grill, OX showcases the best in meat, fish, and produce that the Northwest has to offer. Start with an empanada (or three), before moving on to the asado: choose from prime cuts of beef, lamb, pork, seafood, or house-made sausages, served with classic chimichurri. Plus, there’s a hefty selection of vegetarian options, so green-eaters fear not.
You can’t talk about Portland’s food scene without mentioning Pok Pok – a small, modern space dishing out Southeast Asian-inspired eats. Pok Pok has had so much success that it now has four locations in Portland, as well as one in New York and Los Angeles. Chef Andy Ricker, the mastermind behind Pok Pok’s celebrated Thai street food, showcases creative family-style dishes – fish sauce wings, Thai herbal salad with coconut dressing, charcoal-grilled boar collar with mustard greens – alongside an innovative cocktail menu. And with a long selection of veg, Pok Pok is highly acclaimed by both carnivores and vegetarians.
Brought to you by baker and restaurateur Ken Forkish, Trifecta is where diners can cozy up in a booth while sipping on tastefully made cocktails. The menu encompasses a range of flavors, from wood-fired dishes and American comfort classics – deviled eggs, cheesy grits – to more elevated plates like duck confit, fried cauliflower with smoked farro and pickled sour cherries, and crispy pork shank with bacon broth. And don’t forget the bread and fresh-churned butter.
Coquine, a Mt. Tabor neighborhood café by day and fine dining destination by night, represents both remarkable technique and simplicity. Whether it’s the pecan-raisin bread with fresh ricotta and figs or black cod with chard green cabbage and ancho chile-spiced winter squash, this cozy space never disappoints. There’s no need for extra fluff or shock factor here. Chef Katy Millard, dedicated to sustainable practices and locally sourced foods, thoughtfully crafts each item on the menu, using seasonal ingredients that shine on their own.
Tucked inside The Rockin’ Crab Cafe (formerly Block + Tackle), Roe is fine dining-meets-speakeasy. The space is small with limited seating, optimal for achieving that intimate experience. The seafood-focused prix-fixe menus, designed by Chef Trent Pierce, change according to what’s in season and available, but expect nothing less than perfection – such as wild Hawaiian walu topped with shiso leaf, a black truffle ponzu, and shaved frozen foie gras. There’s also a full bar with sake, optional wine pairings, and caviar service.