From sprawling dining rooms to small patisseries hidden down the alleyways, if we start to wade through every eatery Portland has to offer, we’ll probably run out of time. Here are some of the best contenders in the list that may offer you a glimpse into the city’s culinary creativity. From power-charged wine bars like Arden’s to the obvious top winners like Tusk, here are 20 of the most exciting and best restaurants Portland, Oregon has to offer (in no particular order)…
1. Mucca Osteria – a stylish and intimate Italian spot that offers organic fare and handmade pasta in a refined space
Mucca Osteria brings the best of Italy to Portland. Their hand-crafted pasta, bread and warm hospitality are only some factors that come together to give you a casual yet fine-dining experience.
The caliber of service this eatery offers is unmatched by anyone else in the market. However, what’s good service without good food? So, if you’re wondering where to find decadent, authentic Italian cuisine, it has to be Mucca Osteria.
- 1022 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205, USA
2. Tusk – a buzzy, light and innovative Middle Eastern restaurant which also serves up craft cocktails
If we talk about the staying power of an eatery, Tusk certainly delivers. Over the years, this place has garnered a fair share of attention not only for its impeccable Mediterranean cuisine but also for its excellent infusion of a Californian vibe into the ambiance.
Years of attention to detail and a thoroughly crafted menu are only some reasons to keep Tusk at the top of your culinary bucket list.
- 2448 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214, USA
3. Jade Rabbit – a much loved vegan restaurant which serves up Pan-Asian food in modern surroundings
Since we’re on the subject of great vegan restaurants in the US, it’s only fair to bring Jade Rabbit (formerly called Ichiza Kitchen) to the forefront. Ask any visitor, and they’ll tell you how the essence of this place is certainly in its permeating ginger and sesame oil smell.
While most vegan restaurants have a very limited menu, this one will let you have a taste of every dish representing various corners of Asia. Some of the best items on the list should be their meaty wontons, mapo tofu, and noodle soups with a hearty pho. However, unfortunately, you can only taste their first-rate cuisine on the weekends through delivery and take-out at the moment.
- 1517 SE 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA
4. Lang Baan – a cool rustic-chic small Thai restaurant which was once Portland’s most exclusive restaurant
Rotating its menu on a month-to-month basis throughout different regions of Thailand, Lang Baan brings the best of the country to Portland. While in practice, it entails more seafood in the southern menu and more pork in the northern menu, in progression, it remains pretty much the same with about a dozen dishes altogether. Your typical blend of broth and noodles has a whole new meaning here.
Starting with soups or a few small snacks and landing on a rapid-fire procession of plates with curry, crudites, meat, and white rice, your taste buds will surely end up longing for more.
- 6 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA
5. Mother’s Bistro and Bar – a cozy cafe and bar with country-chic decor which specializes in hearty comfort-food classics
“It’s all about the love,” isn’t it? Mother’s Bistro and Bar truly lives up to its motto by paying tribute to mothers and their hearty meals everywhere on the face of this plant. It’s your ultimate comfort food spot that offers homemade meals prepared straight from the heart.
Whether you’re looking for some basic mac and cheese or something slightly more detailed like pot roast, you know where to come to for a hint of motherly love in every dish. The cherry on top, you can also expect to have freshly baked cookies at the end of your meal.
- 121 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
6. Grassa – a trendy spot which spins vinyl and serves handcrafted pasta
“We’ve had enough of pasta,” said no one ever, especially when you get to have so much handmade variety under a single roof. This brainchild of Lardo kingpin Rick Gencarelli does not believe in restricting itself to the concept of artisan comfort food.
With their meticulously crafted pasta bowls served with scrumptious appetizers and out-of-the-world cocktails, you should always be prepared to be treated like the king or queen you are.
- 1506 NW 23rd Ave. Portland, OR 97210
7. Q Restaurant and Bar – a family-owned restaurant in downtown Portland featuring imaginative, locally-sourced Pacific Northwest cuisine
The downtown of a city is always an interesting mesh of businesses, and Portland’s downtown is not any different. However, amidst the tech startups and vacant spaces, you also need fine dining to let some steam off, and this is exactly how we like to introduce Q Restaurant and Bar. When its warm and inviting atmosphere is topped off with two separate dining areas, you just know you’ve come to the right place.
Go to the first one, and you’ll have yourself a long bar, perfect for catching a drink or two with your coworkers. Go to the second one, and you’ll be welcomed with the smell of meticulously prepared mussels, clams, fish, and calamari, along with the fluffy chocolate souffle. A treat for your tastebuds and a vision to your eyes, Q Restaurant and Bar, is every downtowner’s go-to spot for a first-rate dining experience.3. Ava Gene’s – a popular upscale Italian eatery that includes family-style options
- 828 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204, USA
8. Ava Gene’s – a popular farm-to-table trattoria which offers family-style options
Who says vegetables have to be boring? If there’s an eatery that has the ability to convince you that they can be as interesting and satisfying as a cut of meat, it’s Ava Gene’s. This farm-to-table trattoria is a sophisticated yet hipster spot where McFadden, the chef, has his own way with the plant kingdom.
From their super famous zingy carrot-beet slaw to the celery salad with parmesan, almonds, and dates, you may just end up ordering their entire Giardini (garden) section, and the craft doesn’t end here. The restaurant also specializes in serving gorgeous proteins like wood-grilled pork steaks. So trust us when we say this, but as soon as you top it all off with the signature Italian vino, your dream dinner is sure to come to life. Easily one of the best restaurants in Portland!
- 3377 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
9. Arden Kitchen and Wine Bar – a contemporary restaurant, wine and cocktail bar which is one of the best spots in the city
A fairly young and new addition to the robust dining scene in Portland, Arden Kitchen, and Wine Bar is living proof of how hard the owners have worked to set the ambiance right. The eatery has one of the most talented young chefs who brings years of experience right from the kitchens of Spain to the table.
So, say goodbye to your hunt for a casual and unpretentious environment, as Arden is all about an affordable tasting menu in a comfy ambiance. What’s more? While there are many typical yet creative wine bar snacks on the left, such as radishes or bread and butter, the right side lets people choose from delicious formal full-course meals.
- 417 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, USA
10. Willow Restaurant – a homely farm-to-table restaurant which offers New American tasting menus
If you come to think about it, there are hardly any restaurants that take your dietary restrictions into account. However, with the launch of Willow Restaurant over seven years ago, people finally had an option to get the menu tweaked as per their liking.
The oozing charm and flavor of this eatery aside, you’re also offered 6-course tasting menus designed by both owners and chefs to ensure every dish is made carefully, using locally sourced ingredients.
- 2005 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA
11. LeChon – a rustic-chic haunt offering creative South American meals and a tapas menu
Over the years, LeChon has gained a reputation as a crowd-pleaser and for all the right reasons. Even though the restaurant is yet to materialize on its plan to cook most of its food over open flames, the idea is much closer to fruition now than in the past. As the restaurant hopes to host more receptions, brunches, private events, and wine dinners in the vicinity, we can resort to its beautiful menu in the meanwhile.
LeChon offers you a unique dining experience by blending various tastes from Patagonia, Chile, and Argentina. From grilled octopus and piquillo pepper to 28-day dry-aged ribeye and pork empanadas, this eatery has everything it takes to be among the top 20 restaurants in Portland.
- 113 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204, USA
12. Screen Door Pearl District – a stylish and popular spot with a retro vibe is one of the best restaurants in Portland
Screen Door has been a top spot for both Portlanders and Burnside neighbors alike and that too, for more than 15 years. It often stays at the forefront of the food scene in Portland due to its praline bacon and chicken and waffles, but this isn’t it.
The eatery also made it to the top restaurants’ category in Washington Post, and even though the operations had to slow down due to the pandemic, it has surely come a long way in recovering from the blow. Fortunately, the restaurant is back on its feet and is set to open its airport location in 2022.
- 1131 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
13. Tin Shed Garden Cafe – a hip small and dog-friendly eatery with a patio which specializes in American food
The Tin Shed Garden Café is a spot that has something for everybody. From grilled cheese to juicy pulled-pork barbacoa sliders, you’ll have a lot to bless your taste buds.
However, food is not the only reason this place witnesses a high influx of customers every day. It’s also one of the very few dog-friendly spots in the city for people to hang out with their pets while enjoying hearty meals.
- 1438 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, USA
14. Blossoming Lotus – a popular organic vegan/ plant based restaurant with a bar which serves up fusion dishes, including some raw foods
Founded first in Kapa’a, Hawaii, in 2002, Blossoming Lotus has been fully functional in Portland, Oregon, since 2009. As one of the top vegan restaurants in the United States right now, this place serves hundred percent plant-based food and other items using organic ingredients from local farms.
When locals crave vegan meals in a more laid-back setting, this is where they often head to. After all, it’s hard to find restaurants that use organic ingredients to the extent that Blossoming Lotus does.
Not convinced yet? You can enjoy their exotic food here both in the capacity of a café and restaurant with items ranging from juices and smoothies to more filling cuisines such as premium BBQ bowls.
- 1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland, OR 97212, USA
15. Nodoguro – a highly regarded Japanese restaurant with farm-to-table ingredients in a modern setting
With top-notch ingredients flown in straight from the markets of Tsukiji and Fukuoka in Japan, this traditional Japanese restaurant knows how to leave a mark on your heart. With multiple levels of omakase options on the menu, each dish is carefully cooked and crafted as miniature works of art. Dining in at Nodoguro means you’ll be feasting on sea urchins from Santa Barbara, albacore from Astoria, saba from Oita, and scallops from Hokkaido, all under the same roof.
Unlike many other restaurants that sometimes end up getting overbooked, Nodoguro maintains its authenticity by offering only 16 seats. It offers a one-of-a-kind experience where the chef Ryan Roadhouse is more like a performer, and the table is more like his stage. What’s more? You get to hear the best of 80s pop, making the ever more lively as it engages all of your senses.
- 2832 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214
16. Andina Restaurant – an upscale Peruvian tapas restaurant which also serves regional cocktails
Known for serving the best tapas, Andina had the honor of being the third-largest Hispanic business in the state of Oregon as of the year 2020. The restaurant has been one of the most sought-after spots for having lunch and dinner, thanks to its specialization in serving Peruvian cuisine.
Located right in the center of the Pearl District in Portland, Andina has both a casual and formal vibe to it. It may be your formal lunch spot during the day, but as soon as it darkens, the space turns into a casual bar with Latin music filling the air with excitement. Even though it’s generally considered a pricey spot, most people would agree that the attentive service and food are both worth the price.
- 1314 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
17. Nimble Fish – a modern and intimate Japanese spot for nigiri-focused sushi & omakase menus
Home to the Edomae-style sushi, Nimble Fish is your ultimate destination for salt and vinegar cured salmon along with wild bluefin tuna and maki filled with mackerel and crispy salmon skin. Moreover, chef Cody Auger has to be one of the most particular ones in the industry when it comes to serving customers in style and ensuring that their mouth is enriched with flavor before they step out.
So, unless you’re willing to let go of the restaurant’s stellar omakase experience, it’s time to get your hands on their limited reservations now.
- 1524 SE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/