If you fancy dining out somewhere a little bit different, Portland has plenty of truly awesome stand out places to choose from. Whether you looking for a trendy Middle Eastern fare, a hip Asian fusion, or a fun spot serving up American dishes with an upscale twist, here are the best cool and unusual hotels in Portland, Oregon (in no particular order)...
1. Tusk – a stylish and trendy modern restaurant serving creative Middle Eastern fare and craft cocktails
Tusk is a Middle Eastern restaurant located in the Buckman District. Choose from various mezze dishes including a mezze platter, mezze with chicken, and another option with falafel. There is even a mezze & salad option or a mezze family meal.
For dessert, have an exotic Moroccan pancake. It includes kewra grapefruit confit, rose-apple preserves, candied kumquat, and ricotta.
On Valentine’s Day, they have dinner-for-two specials to select an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert at a discounted price.
Address: 2448 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
2. Mucca Osteria – a chic and hip spot serving organic fare and handmade pasta in a contemporary space with a Gothic flair
Downtown Portland’s Mucca Osteria offers organic Italian food in a Gothic-themed restaurant setting.
Choose from a long list of half bottles, sparkling wines, white wine, red wine, and Piemonte Barolo.
For food, choose from antipasti, primi piatti, dolci (homemade desserts). Most are pasta dishes with vegetables and herbs with an example being Tortellini ai Funghi. It features mushroom and ricotta-filled tortellini that is homemade, almonds, Brussel sprouts, and glazed shallots submerged in a white wine cream sauce.
Address: 1022 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205
3. Departure Lounge – one of the hottest restaurants in town with Asian-fusion go-to serves creative fare with incredible city views
Departure Lounge is another cool and unusual restaurant in Downtown Portland at the Nines luxury hotel Taste Asian fusion at its finest in a chic restaurant setting as you enjoy the local Downtown views.
Pan-Asian cuisine includes Northwest Oysters, sweet shrimp spring rolls, pork belly, steam buns, chicken tenderloin, kushiyaki eggplant, and so much more.
If you have a private event coming up, request Departure Lounge to provide you with indoor or outdoor space as well as catering. They can host a private event for as few as 12 people with a maximum of 125 people accommodated.
Address: 525 SW Morrison St 15th Floor, Portland, OR 97204
4. Melting Pot – a unique fondue restaurant chain offering a fun and sociable way to dine
Downtown Portland’s Melting Pot is an American restaurant specializing in fondue. You can also enjoy salads and tasty meat-based entrees.
Choose from four-course dinner menus for two or an a la carte menu for dinner. You start your meal with an appetizer that’s a cheese fondue with food for dipping such as fruits, vegetables, and artisan bread.
Fondues include classic alpine, Wisconsin cheddar, fiesta, spinach artichoke, Wisconsin trio, and Quattro Formaggio.
Address: 1050 SW 6th Ave #100, Portland, OR 97204
5. Lechon – a cool and vibrant, rustic-chic haunt offering creative South American meals
Lechon is a South American restaurant that specializes in tapas and hosts great value, delicious happy hour specials.
Tapas options include pastel de choclo, pork belly baocitos, pork anticucho, lomo saltado, and smoked bone marrow.
Happy hour meals start as low as $5 and go as high as $12. Their $5 cornmeal fried olives are vegan while their $5 small farmers’ green salad is vegan and gluten-free.
Address: 113 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
6. Han Oak Restaurant – a hip minimal-chic Korean spot with upscale tasting menus and drink pairings
If you want Korean food, try the funky Han Oak Restaurant in the Kerns District. The restaurant hosts dumplings and noodle nights for patrons that love such popular Korean dishes.
Two dining options are available. You can get shaved meats to dip in broth and enjoy with their hand-pulled noodles and homemade dumplings. This is $75 per person.
A 5-course Mexican-inspired menu is yours for $55 per person. This menu includes dry-aged fish tostadas, red rice croquettas, charcoal-grilled pork loin tacos, masa colada, and for dessert: bay leaf and Canelo churro ice cream.
Address: 511 NE 24th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
7. The Observatory – a stylish and hot neighborhood eatery with a creative take on American classics
Swing by the Montavilla District to try The Observatory. You can count on American classics and unique cocktails when you visit this restaurant.
For a lighter meal, you can have an entree salad such as apple and beet salad and chicken salad with crispy bacon.
Try the Capricorn, Lavender Gin Lemon Drop, Pink Cloud, Blood Orange Negroni, the spicy Tom Kah, and many other options to indulge in their signature cocktails.
If you are in a different alcohol mood, try one of their white or red wines or draft beers.
Address: 8115 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215
8. Arden Restaurant Portland – a trendy and stylish rustic-modern outpost offering seasonal Pacific Northwest cuisine
Pearl District’s Arden Restaurant is located in the Gregory Lofts. Serving up Pacific Northwest cuisine, this wine bar offers upscale appetizers and entrees to go with your favorite wines.
If you are a party of 4, consider the Chef’s Prix Fixe, which is $65 per person and also includes wine pairings for an extra fee. Sample fancy dishes such as truffled potato leek pierogi with chive creme fraiche or the Dungeness crab tagliatelle with crab butter and preserved lemon.
Address: 417 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
9. Doug Fir Lounge – a cool and trendy spot with futuristic log-cabin decor hosting indie music shows, with an eclectic diner menu & bar.
Doug Fir Lounge is not only a unique dining establishment but more importantly a live music venue featuring Indie hits.
Open show nights are from 7 pm to late closing hours, so be sure you arrive a little later during the dinner hour to catch the musical performance.
While enjoying the music, you can indulge in small plates such as togarashi popcorn, waffle fries with rosemary and sea salt, Fir Burger, steak frites, and happy jackfruit tacos (vegan and gluten-free).
Address: 830 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
10. Punch Bowl Social Portland – a fun and funky American gastropub fare with a giant bar and lots of games
Punch Bowl Social is a gastropub situated in Downtown Portland inside Pioneer Place. It’s known as the biggest Punch Bowl Social location. Indulge in various punch bowls and modern American eats while playing fun games. Choose from karaoke, table games, and bowling.
Try sriracha and peanut fries, chips and guacamole, or a pulled pork sandwich in between your games during their Happy Hour. Sip on a margarita, whiskey sour, or beer of your choice to wash it all down.
Address: 340 SW Morrison St #4305, Portland, OR 97204
11. G-Love New American Kitchen – a hot new and modern restaurant serving dishes with a unique twist
Northwest District’s G-Love New American Kitchen is located inside the Carson Apartments parking lot.
This New American restaurant fabricates its dishes using locally grown produce and it’s known as the nation’s first reverse steakhouse. This means that fruits and vegetables are the main part of the dish as meat is a supplementary component rather than the other way around with usual American food.
Try their Crunchmaster Crisp, Chirashi Bowl, charred hanger steak, or fried chicken with avocado rank.
Address: 1615 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
12. Mediterranean Exploration Company – an upscale trendy restaurant serving Mediterranean-Middle Eastern and cocktails in a cool industrial-chic setting
The Pearl District’s Mediterranean Exploration Company is a Middle Eastern restaurant.
They up house favorites such as radicchio salad, roasted eggplant dip, Turkish delight, Hummus Abu Hassan, and falafel all during their Happy Hour for $10. Enjoy these prices Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 5 pm.
Alcoholic beverage selections include American whiskey, international whiskey, agave, vodka, and so much more.
Address: 333 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
13. Clarklewis Restaurant – a locally sourced Pacific NW dishes served at an upscale, energetic restaurant in a converted warehouse
The Clarklewis Restaurant is stationed at the Eastbank Commerce Center in the Buckman District.
Their Italian dishes are exclusively farm-to-table made with local ingredients. What’s unique about Clarklewis is that their menu offerings change daily contingent upon the chef’s discretion.
Most dishes say where the ingredients were from such as Carlton Farms pork sausage, Montecucco Farms beets, and Topaz Farms carrots.
The wood-burning in their establishment fashions delicious pizza options including the Siri and Sons Honeynut Squash pizza.
Address: 1001 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214
14. Noble Rot – a cool 4th-floor wine bar offering city views and small plates featuring ingredients from a rooftop garden
Noble Rot is an American restaurant and wine bar located on the 4th floor of a building so that you can enjoy city views while eating your meal.
Indulge in regular American favorites such as a hamburger or indulge in one of their upscale dishes. Try their soup of the day or pasta of the day for a surprise dish. Unique dishes include Idaho Rainbow Trout, Grilled Octopus, Stuffed Squash, Burrata, and Tuscan Kale Salad.
Address: 1111 East Burnside Street, Fourth Floor, Portland, OR 97214
15. Palomar – a trendy hangout with a Cuban vibe offering sharing plates and cocktails
Palomar is a Cuban restaurant located in the Hosford-Abernethy District.
Taste their signature cocktails such as the Americano, Moscow Mule, 20th Century, French 75, Violet Fizz, and others.
The Harina Con Camarones include Creole spiced shrimp, squash polenta, pepitas, and carrot sofrito. The Frita Cubana includes a beef and pork chorizo patty, garnished with onion and julienne potatoes, and topped with cheese. Choose from 4 appetizers, 2 types of sandwiches, and 5 entrees for lunch and dinner.
Address: 959 SE Division St #100, Portland, OR 97214
16. Broder Soder – a unique and popular Scandinavian restaurant
Broder Soder is a Scandinavian restaurant in the family of Broder Cafe and Broder Nord throughout the local area.
They serve the biggest selection of aquavit throughout the West Coast such as Krogstad Festlig from Portland, Krogstad Gamle from Portland, and Holen from Astoria amongst others.
Try Danish pancakes, smoked trout eggs benedict, Swedish hash, or classic corned beef to get a delicious taste of Scandinavian fare.
Their Swedish meatballs are in a sherry cream and accompanied by a lingonberry jam, pickles, potato pancake, and levian toast.
Address: 8800 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, OR 97223
17. Blossoming Lotus – a 100% vegan/plant-based food featuring local farms and organic ingredients whenever possible
If you are a vegan, you will appreciate the vegan fusion at Blossoming Lotus in the Irvington District.
They use only the best locally sourced plant-based ingredients and feature organic ingredients when possible from their suppliers.
While Blossoming Lotus on NE 15th Avenue is a full-service restaurant, their Portland/Slabtown location is a cafe and juice bar.
Try the full-service restaurant’s Chickpea and Kale Salad, Pesto Pasta, Yakisoba Noodles, Cheeseburger, Bibimbap, Tempeh Bacon Sandwich, and so many other plant-based dishes.
Address: 1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland, OR 97212
18. Tope – a hip and stylish eatery serving Mexican food and cocktails with sweeping city vistas
Tope offers delicious Mexican snacks and tacos along with mezcal-inspired beverages. Located at Hoxton in the Old Town District, enjoy their rooftop bar views as you sample Oregon Bay shrimp ceviche, pozole Rojo, carnitas tacos, pollo pibil tacos, and pollo con mole.
Their signature cocktails include the Top Margarita (blanco tequila, lime, and agave), the Michelada, the Either/Or with Dickle Rye, and other house favorites.
Wines, beers, mocktails, and soft drinks are also available to refresh you after your meal.
Address: 15 NW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
19. Picnic House Portland – a unique spot inspired by picnics, this American eatery offers sandwiches and other casual fare in elegant surroundings
Picnic House is one of the cool and unusual restaurants in Portland in the Downtown area. Hence its name, it’s inspired by picnics and features American dishes.
They feature charcuterie boards with crostini, small bites like house nuts and deviled eggs, and entrees including artisan mac and cheese and meatballs and marinara.
Picnic House offers 5 areas to dine whether private, semi-private, or in the thick of the crowd. Each area has its specific seating and standing quantities, so check their private events page for more information.
Address: 723 SW Salmon St, Portland, OR 97205
20. Miami Nice – a fun, funky and very Instagrammable spot serving Vegan Cuban eats
Buckman District’s Miami Nice has fun names for its menu categories. Just the Munchies is the name for their appetizers menu. Super Hangry is the name for their entrees. Side Hustle is for side dishes and Gimme the Goodstuff is for the dessert menu.
If you are “super hangry”, try the Sloppy Bro, 305 Bowl, Miami Chop, El Jefe, Spicy Cowboy Bowl, or the Cubanito. The most popular out of this list according to the menu ordering online application is the 305 Bowl, El Jefe, and Cubanito.
Address: 727 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214
21. Pine Street Market – the city’s first food hall, located in downtown Portland
Old Town District’s Pine Street Market includes various restaurants under one roof headed by 9 famous Portland chefs. Try the Pine Street Taproom or the Pleasure Burger.
Only the Pine Street Taproom has a link to their website while the other available restaurants do not have a link from the Pine Street Market website. Get an idea of the overall nature of the other restaurants in Pine Street Market by visiting the Pine Street Taproom link on the home website.
Address: 126 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
22. Oma’s Hideaway – a fun and quirky chic place which serves playful food and drinks inspired by Southeast Asia and China
Oma’s Hideaway used to be known as Oma’s Takeaway.
Located in the Richmond District, you can enjoy food and cocktails as a dine-in customer or order for takeaway just like their old name suggested. If you order delivery, it will come from a bike courier affiliated with Cascade Courier Collective.
Select from coconut rice, the Oma-Zing Burger, Coulotte Tartare, sweet potato dumplings, and other unique dishes.
Address: 3131 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland, UK and the US but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and great football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @scottbalaam