- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Despite most restaurant menus' lack of foams or flash, Portland has quietly become a formidable food presence. The city fields a respectable number of chefs and restaurants that garner national attention and win major industry awards.
While temples of fine dining are few and far between, Portland offers a lively mix of memorable food in casual digs, like popular Thai spot Pok Pok, and the famed street carts clustered around town. Portland also has plenty of restaurants, like the venerable Jake's Famous Crawfish, that celebrate its proximity to the sea by offering oysters, tuna, and other fare that was swimming off the Pacific coast the previous day.
Popular destinations like Bluehour, Fenouil, and Andina, have cemented the reputation of Northwest Portland's Pearl District as a restaurant hot spot. Otherwise, new restaurants tend to open on the east side of the Willamette River, where rents are cheaper.
For a famously vegan-friendly city, Portland chefs love their meat—all parts of it. Locals love dropping in to Le Pigeon for the towering burger, or nose-to-tail plates, including pig's foot served with watermelon and feta cheese, beef cheek, lamb tongue, and sweetbreads with potatoes and capers, which also appear on the menu. 738 E. Burnside, OR. 503/546-8796. www.lepigeon.com.
The national craze for street food is reflected in a proliferation of carts dishing out increasingly exotic or high-end fare. or go to local blog, Food Carts Portland (www.foodcartsportland.com), and Twitter thread @pdxfoodcarts, for more information on the food carts around town.
bloop oatmeal cart : The oatmeal dished up here weekday mornings bears no resemblance to those just-add-water microwaveable packets. Chunky oats come sweetened with almond milk and topped with combinations like peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon. SW 3rd Ave. & Washington St., OR. www.bloopoatmeal.blogspot.com.
Nong's Khao Man Gai. There's really just one menu item at Nong's, but it usually sells out by the end of lunchtime. Reminiscent of the street foods of Thailand, the steamed rice with chicken gets its horsepower from a sauce of garlic, ginger, fermented soybeans, and Thai chilies. >SW 10th Ave. and Alder St., OR. www.khaomangai.com.
Potato Champion. This colorful trailer sells heaping paper cones of Belgian-style frites, with an array of dipping sauces, including pesto mayonnaise and rosemary-truffle ketchup, into the wee hours of the morning. S.E 12th Ave. and Hawthorne Blvd., OR. www.potatochampion.com.
Tabor. This Czech spot sells goulash, potato pancakes, sausages, and spaetzle-like halusky worthy of a sit-down restaurant. However people come in droves for the schnitzelwich, a horseradish-smeared ciabatta roll holding a perfectly breaded and fried pork loin or chicken breast. SW 5th Ave. and Stark St., OR. www.schnitzelwich.com.
The Grilled Cheese Grill. Located in a converted school bus, the grill offers playful variations of the classic sandwich. Get "the BABS," bursting with bacon, apples, and both blue cheese and Swiss. 1027 NE Alberta Ave., OR. www.grilledcheesegrill.com.
Portland Pizza Picks
Two east-side spots have earned a cult following among people who swear the pies are worth the consistent one- to two-hour wait for a table. Hungry diners often line up outside Apizza Scholls (4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503/233-1286) 45 minutes before the doors open. Try a truffle-scented Tartufo Bianco, with mozzarella, pecorino Romano, and sea salt, or devise your own toppings, but exercise restraint—Apizza Scholls limits you to no more than three toppings to let the quality of the ingredients shine through. The popular Monday-night pizza at Ken's Artisan Bakery (338 NW 21st Ave.503/248-2202www.kensartisan.com) prompted the opening of Ken's Artisan Pizza (304 SE 28th Ave.503/517-9951) in the Laurelhurst neighborhood in 2006. The wood-fired oven at the heart of the restaurant delivers a modern take on Neapolitan pies, with memorably chewy crusts and the perfect ratio of toppings.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $140* & up -- Nationwide Flights on American, R/T American Airlines