The Best Restaurants in Portland

Portland has long been one of America’s culinary “it” cities and that won’t change anytime soon. The city’s cooks do so many things so very well: from doughnuts to dishes that focus on seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. Eat around the world without leaving the city limits with visits to the legendary food cart scene as well as top spots like Ava Gene’s, Kachka, and Hat Yai (their Thai fried chicken will make you want to move to Portland). Pull up to one of these restaurant tables and you’ll find yourself challenged and delighted and definitely eager for more.

960 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA
If you can’t say nyet to a convivial meal with all the trimmings, Kachka is the place to toast your fellow comrades. Surprisingly, Kachka isn’t Portland’s only Russian restaurant, but this Slavic stunner is certainly one of the best—not just among the city’s Russian restaurants but all of its dining options. There are hearty classics like beef Stroganoff, though the main draw here is the zakuski, Russian tapas that are ideally paired with many, many shots of vodka. You’ll find pickled items as well as the showstopping Herring under a Fur Coat, a Russian seven-layer dip with herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, and eggs. Reservations are essential.
6839 Southeast Belmont Street
An unassuming little neighborhood restaurant in the shadow of Mount Tabor, Coquine offers one of the best dining experiences in the city. Chef Katy Millard cooks what tickles her fancy, usually something seasonal, vaguely Continental, definitely Northwestern, and always interesting. (One constant, though, is the whole chicken to share, a crowd favorite.) Unlike at many fine-dining establishments, you can stop in for breakfast or lunch, too. Try the chocolate chip cookies, which are so popular that you used to have to call ahead and order them in advance if you wanted them at dinner. Ksandek Podbielski, Millard’s husband, oversees the regionally focused yet still surprising wine list.
1155 SW Morrison St #102, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Doughnuts are to Portland what coffee is to David Lynch, both essential fuel and calling card. While there are many pretenders to the title of the city’s best doughnuts—Voodoo Doughnuts certainly sells the most Instagrammable food products—Blue Star, from ubiquitous local restaurateur Micah Camden, is the most consistent. Flavors range from powdered sugar to maple bacon to passion fruit cocoa nibs, sold fresh daily until no more remain. The downtown location gets crowded early on weekends, so plan ahead. In a pinch, grab them at Blue Star’s airport location—which makes asking a friend to pick you up at the airport a sweet request indeed.
3936 North Mississippi Avenue
A leader in Portland’s vegetable-forward movement, Quaintrelle has quietly become one of the city’s best fine-dining choices. All this on a strip of Mississippi Street better known for bar crawls and brunch lines than for seasonal cuisine and killer cocktails. The eclectic American menu rotates based on what’s available and in season. Almost all of the food is local, from the tempura Meyer lemons to the carrot and raisin salad. Meals at Quaintrelle can easily double as a primer on what can be grown in Oregon, including wouldn’t-guess-this-is-local ingredients like quinoa and wasabi.
1605 Northeast Killingsworth Street
Portland’s only southern Thai fried chicken restaurant also happens to be the city’s best fried chicken restaurant, full stop. It helps to have one of Portland’s ambassadors of Thai cuisine, Earl Ninsom—of impossible-to-reserve Langbaan and takeout staple PaaDee—behind the counter-service concept in the cheery, narrow space where diners rub elbows with the cooks. The unique style of preparing the birds, which are rubbed with cumin, white pepper, coriander, and fresh garlic before they’re breaded with rice flour, fried, and served with fresh shallots, results in a crispy, spicy, just-light-enough flavor profile. Pair with the housemade curry and roti, mixing and matching and dipping as you go, for maximum enjoyment.
6424 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97206, USA
From an unassuming strip mall on Portland’s far east side, Rose VL Deli dishes out two types of pho daily. The rich, complex, aromatic broth is transcendent whether it’s made for a simple bowl of bun bo Hue or a flavor-palooza like the Vietnamese turmeric noodles. (The shop’s smaller, original location, Ha VL, also serves banh mi sandwiches.) Fans include local Asian food ambassador Andy Ricker, of Pok Pok, and other chefs around town who fancy themselves connoisseurs of Vietnamese cuisine. Slurp loudly, enjoy the soap operas playing on the TV, and plan on a nap afterward.
126 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204, USA
Wish that your one-stop shopping and dining location had high-concept ice cream, ramen, and New York–style pizza? Look no further than Pine Street Market, Portland’s first modern food hall. Home to some of the city’s best-loved restaurateurs, it counts among its popular food stands Wiz Bang Bar (featuring the nation’s only high-concept soft serve from the folks at Salt & Straw), Bless Your Heart Burger (done Carolina-style, from Toro Bravo’s John Gorham), and OP Wurst (from local wurst-meisters Olympia Provisions). The 10,000-square-foot space in the renovated 1886 Carriage & Baggage Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the site of the Old Spaghetti Factory until 1981.
2448 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214, USA
Chef Joshua McFadden is Portland’s “vegetable whisperer.” That’s no small accolade in a town where vegans roam free and farm-to-table is table stakes for most high-end restaurants. Tusk, his Middle Eastern–inflected restaurant on Burnside Street, turns out small plates under the watchful eye of his business partner, chef Sam Smith. Each dish is near reverent of its ingredients, with “Vegetables, Fruits, Grains” literally at the center of the printed dinner menu. Brunch at Tusk is a more eclectic affair, and also one of Portland’s hottest weekend seats. The bright space even makes the wait for a table a pleasant experience and one well worth the time it takes for the chance to taste the creations of one of Portland’s premier chefs.
2039 NE Alberta St
It’s nice to know I don’t need to get on a plane back to India to enjoy a plate of decent dal in PDX. The Bollywood serves the “people’s food” of India, simple, fresh and undeniably delightful. Most Americans think Indian food is all tandoori chicken and curry. Fact is, these are the banquet foods served only in high-end restaurants or wedding parties on the subcontinent. I was in Assam province in the Spring at a street cafe, eating whatever was being served on the banana leaf in front of me; no utensils, no problem. Except for the warm beer, eating in India is nothing like eating Indian food here, until Bollywood.

There is nothing pretentious about the physical plant. Amid the chaotic decor, aromas from the kitchen fill the place making it all the more homey and inviting. Lot’s of vegetarian options, with a focus on the standby beans and potatoes. The spicing is classic. The plates and cups are metal, much like you’d find on a corner eatery in Kolkata. Order at the counter and have a seat. Get a paneer, a chaat and a dal with a side of paratha to soak up the sauces. They have a short selection of beer and wine and the former is cold and cheap. There are always specials and you should just order them. The plates are small, so if you have a big group, order a bunch. Then sit back and enjoy the ride...
1438 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, USA
The Tin Shed is probably nowhere near wherever you might be in Portland but that matters not. Get a cab and go over there because the biscuits are so good they’ll make you wanna slap yo mama! You serve yourself coffee while you wait under the covered patio seating, they welcome dogs and their bloody mary is spectacular. This place rocks. Go check it out.
2035 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, USA
I was on a cruise in Italy when I heard about this place. I’d mentioned that I was heading to Portland, and a fellow cruiser, a native of the town, had told me that if they had one recommendation it would be the ice cream at Salt and Straw.

What she didn’t tell me was that the flavors are not your usual vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry ripple. In fact, the first thing I tasted at Salt and Straw was their new “Bollywood” recipe, which included carrot custard and cardamom, which sounds almost sensible when you considered that some of their most popular flavors include prosciutto and goat cheese.

There was a huge line, even on a Friday mid-afternoon, but it was worth it for the almond brittle with salted ganache, not to mention the apple pie with real chunks of cheddar cheese. They’re doing their best to “Keep Portland Weird” here...and it tastes good.
734 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214, USA
A slip of a restaurant on Burnside, Canard is the least formal of Gabriel Rucker’s restaurants (Le Pigeon, Little Bird) yet is easily the most fun. The burger is justly celebrated by local critics, publications and even local food notables like former Simpsons writer Bill Oakley, all of whom praise Rucker’s take on the White Castle slider, steamed with onions, pickles, and cheese for $6 apiece. More decadent types opt for the “duck stack,” pancakes with duck gravy and foie gras, topped with a duck egg; or the foie gras dumplings. Canard is open all day until midnight. Because of the limited number of seats and lack of reservations, popping in at an off-hour is a smart move.
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