Need dining tips in Portland!
- Pepe C.
I'll be in Portland for about a week and would love for some local Chowhounders to point me in the direction of some great food. I like all sorts of cuisine, especially Chinese and Thai. I'm looking forward to my Pacific Northwest adventures! Thanks for any tips you can share,
It has been a year since we've been in Portland, but my husband and I really enjoy Caffe Mingo. Its address is 807 NW 21st Ave. About four years ago we were walking by the restaurant, chatted with a chef who was taking a break and were talked into having dinner there. Every time we go to Portland, we stop there! Good Italian food in a warm, friendly atmosphere. It is very popular, so get there early or you'll have to wait for a table.
Also - in that same area is a very fun small grocery! The first time we were there, they had an entire roast pig in the deli case! Two blocks over (I think it is on 23rd but you'll need to ask someone) is a crepe stand that makes our favorite crepes with nutelle!
Have fun - Portland is a fun place to visit!
Lisa--just a quick note to point out that we have many thousands of users. So rather than be "just another Lisa", if you'd include a last name or use a "handle" (anything to make your nametag distinctive), it'd allow everyone to get to know you and not confuse you with other Lisas, past or future!
of course, your nametag is your business, so if you'd prefer to be just plain old "Lisa", that's totally your perogative!
Caffe Mingo is still very good, but go early since it's small, popular, and doesn't take reservations. Serratto, just down the street on the corner of NW 21st & Kearny, is owned by the same guy and not bad either. In the same neighborhood (one of our gentrified, semi-upscale districts with lots of cool little shops), I also like Bastas (NW 21st & Flanders). The owner is Tuscan but likes to experiement a little...everything I've eaten here has been good (reasonably priced, too).
For Asian food, check out the dim sum at Fong Chong (301 NW 4th Avenue, 503-220-0235), especially on the weekend when the place fills with Chinese families. Portland has many good Vietnamese restaurants, but My-Cahn (1901 NE 39th Avenue, 503-281-0594) is a notch better than most (try the eggplant, stuffed with pork or chicken, battered and fried, and served with a sweet-sour chile sauce).
One of the hottest spots in town is Bluehour (250 NW 13th Avenue, 503-226-3394). It's in the trendy Pearl District in the rehabbbed warehouse that's the headquarters of Weiden and Kennedy (you know, the Nike ads) and the scene can be a little intense, but the Mediterranean-style food is really, really good. Go early or on weeknight if you want to focus on the food, on Friday or Saturday to check out Portland's movers and shakers. Reserve early!
Other classically northwest places where you can't go wrong include Higgins, Wildwood, and Paley's Place....more quirky but very good are Pambiche (Cuban), Esparza's Tex-Mex, and Il Piato (Italian).
Avoid at all costs the new Dragonfish, downtown in the also new Paramount Hotel. As soon as I finish reading the message boards I've got to write up my review, and it won't be pleasant. Basically overpriced and mediocre versions of the same Asian food available all over town.
I have reviews of some of the restaurants I mentioned on my web site. Portland's a great food town...let me (and the rest of the chowhounds) know if you discover anything fabulous.
You should definitely focus on the NW section of town where there are truly 3 exceptional restaurants...my favorite is Paley's Place--excellent continental/French but fairly reasonably priced. Very nice ambience. Second place that I love as well is called Lucy's Table...very good appetizer portions that could serve as dinners (pasta dish and ribs, for example)...finally, Genoa is an outstanding Italian restaurant, but be prepared for a long evening here as it is a 5-6 course experience.