One of the best ways to experience a city is to chow down on some of its favorite foods. The city of Portland has plenty of talented cooks and plenty of people willing to try their dishes. From colorful baked goods to international cuisine that the Oregon city does particularly well, here are the must-try foods and dishes in Portland…
The famous pink boxes from Voodoo doughnuts have become an iconic part of Portland culture and with good reason, they are still stiff competition for wacky shapes and flavours, however they also started a trend for these sweet treats in the city.
There are plenty of alternatives for amazing donuts, Blue Star serves up gourmet donuts and coffee with all the flavour and less of the gimmicks. Get Berliner style donuts in Fills Lake Grove, extra crispy donuts in Donut Palace or delicious vegan donuts in Small, female-owned Doe Donuts. For something a bit different try NOLA, who use laminated dough such as you’d find in croissants for an extraordinary flaky treat.
Who doesn’t love Brunch? Be sure to factor in plenty of it if you visit Portland, its forward-thinking, sustainable attitude has spawned many amazing Brunch spots which utilise delicious locally sourced produce in their dishes.
Try amazing vegan waffles at Off the Griddle, delicious and hearty traditional brunch at JAM on Hawthorne or decadent donut inspired brunch at Hunnymilk. There’s also TOAST, Besaw’s, Screen Door… so many Brunch spots, mostly serving between 9 and 2, be prepared to queue.
Anything from a food cart
Food carts are the thing here, with pods of them citywide serving up gourmet food as good as any restaurant! Try Vegan Soul Food at Fatsquatch PDX, amazing hand-stretched noodles and Asian cuisine at Stretch The Noodle. Or amazing Scandinavian comfort food at Viking Soul Food or Celtic soul food at Skidbladnir.
Try savoury Chinese crepes at Bing Mi, seasonal, regional delicacies at Farmer and The Beast and amazing Senegalese and Gambian specialities at Kabbas Kitchen. Last year’s winning cart was Baon Kainan with its delicious Filipino fusion food. This isn’t even scratching the surface, there is a world of food out there for the discovering, let us know if your favourites!
Portland is an ultra-hip and progressive eco-city and there are plenty of great vegan restaurants to choose from. No fear of a dried-up nut roast or bland baked mushroom here!
Try delicious Pan Asian cuisine at the well established Jade Rabbits, Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese at Vtopia, vegan pizza at Virtuous Pie, beer and Taco’s at Modern Times, brunch at Blossoming Lotus, baked treats at Sweetpea Bakery and everyday whole food delights at Canteen.
For those unfamiliar with Dim Sum, it’s basically Chinese Brunch. A variety of little dishes are usually brought to you on carts which you can enjoy and top up at will. It’s quite hip and getting hipper, so of course Portland is on to it!
There’s an ever-growing selection of decent Dim Sum joints to choose from, one of the best being Ocean City Seafood, a favourite amongst chefs in the know. Close by in South East Portland is another popular choice for Dim Sum, Wongs King Seafood. Get amazing vegan Dim Sum at Jade Rabbit, go trad at HK Cafe or enjoy Chinese comfort food at Master Kong.
We all know by now that Portland was at the forefront of the craft brew revolution, with beer nerds brewing up in their garages and garden sheds left, right and centre. The rest of the world caught on but Portlanders didn’t rest on their laurels, pioneering brewers in Portland continued the search for exciting new brews which can be sampled at a plethora of independent breweries across the city.
From standard-setting Breakside Brewery through all kinds of strangely named contemporaries; Little Beast, Great Notion, Ruse to enigmatically experimental LABrewatory the city remains a dream for beer lovers!
Anything from a hipster hangout
Yeh, I know sometimes it seems a bit like style over substance but hipster joints like Doug Fir Lounge are so worth a visit. The old world leather booths and long bar take you back to gentler times and the food, cocktails and tunes are a trailblazing contrast. Hit Sweedeedee’s for exceptional Coffee and Brunch in a cool laid back environment.
Go for an ultra-healthy juice or Buddha Bowl with the yummy yoga mums in Harlow’s or kick back with a craft beer at rustic-industrial Rontoms.
Largely thanks to Thai Chef Nong Poonsukwattana Portland is at the forefront of America’s Thai food renaissance with places likeThai Peacock Restaurant, a staple on the foodie scene for more than 20 years. The restaurant offers stand out, affordable, Thai comfort cuisine with a bit of NorthWest flair in hip industrial surroundings.
The unpretentious Sivalai is also a great play to satisfy your PadThai Craving! Kinara has an amazing menu which includes delicious Kinara Rolls, hard to find anywhere else. If you are pushed for time grab a takeout at Zaap Thai, the eponymous dish from Nong’s Khao Man Gai or give yourself some time to enjoy incomparable seafood dishes at popular Langbaan.
Honestly, Portland should already be a bucket list destination for vegans as the city is full of amazing vegan cuisine, but if you’re just after a sweet treat then you’ll find some of the best vegan ice cream too! Kate’s Ice Cream uses Cashew and coconut milk to create amazing flavours like salted peanut brittle or Marionberry Cobbler. Kate focuses on local seasonal produce for her flavours and works with women and minority-owned businesses to provide her supplies, so it’s not just ice cream, it’s ice cream with a heart!
Cool Moon is a city favourite serving all-natural ice cream that they make in small batches, so they have a set of staple favourites and then a long list of ever-changing specials. The sorbets are all vegan and the chocolate sorbet… to die for! Fifty Licks Ice Cream specialise in exotic and unexpected flavours and their vegan ice cream is no exception, try the Coconut Lemon Saffron or the Mango and Sticky Rice and prepare for your taste buds to explode!
There’s plenty of options for pancakes in Portland but some are more delicious than others from delicious, traditional buttermilk, to Mexican blue corn to more experimental offerings, they are all here.
Try a corn cake plate at Sweedeedee, hit The Original Pancake House for amazing blueberry pancakes or combine with amazing coffee by ordering the Ricotta hotcake with citrus syrup at Proud Mary’s. For something a bit more unusual try a German Pancake at Sanborn’s.
Like it’s rival Seattle, Portland is full of coffee connoisseurs. Grab a gourmet cup at any number of independent roasters and savour the flavour. Proud Mary is a local favourite and you can sample it in the flagship store or snug hipster joint Cathedral Coffee.
Head for Albina spin-off Coava Coffee for an eco-friendly brew or get a cup of pioneering Albina Press from one of the many coffee houses that proudly serve it throughout the city.
Still hip as the day it left Japan there are numerous tasty sushi joints in Portland. Yoshi Sushi is an amazing food truck and Nimblefish is a good cosy spot to sit and enjoy your favourite rolls.
Get amazing Tempura rolls at Koya Sushi, standout Japanese staples at Ki-Ichi, refined sushi at the long established Masu or cheap and delicious creations with a craft beer at the down-to-Earth Fish&Rice. There’s plenty more, but these will give you a running start!
You can get everything from cocktails in cans, a positive symptom of Covid, to classic classy drinks in secret speakeasies in Portland, so whatever your tipple be sure to schedule in a cocktail crawl…
perhaps include the traditional leather booths and mahogany of Vintage Cocktail Lounge, Pioneering Teardrop Lounge, rhapsodies in gin at The Botanist or low key Wise Head at Sante.
Portlanders order more waffles than any other city in the USA and if you want to know why, try these amazing waffle joints. Batter, Griddle and Drinkery for an interesting twist on classic waffles, try Asian Fried Chicken with Garlic Sauce or a sausage and egg waffle sandwich!
Choose from a long and innovative menu of sweet and savoury waffles at Waffle Window or go for the one delicious waffle dish at Screen Door. Go Dutch at Smaakken Waffle Sandwiches or go for anything at the wittily named Off The Waffle.
Anything from Tusk
You’ll have to book ahead at this highly praised restaurant serving creative Middle Eastern fare and craft cocktails in a bright and bustling environment. Flatbreads, Falafel and amazing hummus and mezze. Whatever you order it will be delicious!