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anniversary dinner - PDX

looking for recs for anniversary dinner next monday - although we're willing to postpone to tuesday if the restaurant of choice isn't open. In our normal lives we're more the yummy hole-in-the-wall type, but am wanting to splurge on this special night. We're open to all types of food, but must be great food, not loud (nix to clarklewis, which we really like-food wise), and friendly service. We're not huge fans of wildwood, bluehour, or roux (much prefer acadia). We considered paley's place, but reading another recent thread it sounds like an "underwhelming" experience. Also considering carlyle and hurleys. What about fife? where do you go for a romantic, special night out?

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  1. Of the places mentioned I'd do Hurley's if they're open Mondays.

    1. Had our 1st anniversary dinner this summer at Hurley's.Very special. Beautiful presentation, quiet, romantic atmosphere, very professional service.

      1. I've compiled a list of Sunday and Monday restaurants that should be relatively up-to-date (though if anyone sees an error or omission, PLEASE notify me). Hurley's, eg, is not open Sunday or Monday. My top few would be: Carlyle, Paley's Place, Fenouil, or Olea. However, it's hard for me to get a feel for if you like the style of the places. Not sure if you don't like Roux, Wildwood, and Bluehour because you had bad food there or if it's just the type of food and place you don't like.




        B = Burbs
        D = Downtown
        N = North Portland
        NE = Northeast Portland
        NW = Northwest Portland
        P = Pearl District
        SE = Southeast Portland
        SW = Southwest Portland

        * Andina (P
        )* Basta's Trattoria (NW)
        * Cafe Castagna (SE)
        * Caffe Mingo (NW, B)
        * Ciao Vito (NE)
        * Gino's (SW)
        * Heathman (D)
        * Higgins (D)
        * Il Piatto (SE)
        * Jake's Famous Crawfish (D)
        * Nostrana (SE)
        * Oba (NW)
        * Olea (P)
        * Paley's (NW)
        * Pambiche (NE)
        * Pazzo Ristorante (D)
        * Pho Van (SE, B)
        * Porto Terra (D)
        * Red Star Tavern (D)
        * Rivers (SW)
        * Roots (B)
        * Roux (N)
        * Serrato (NW)
        * Southpark (D)
        * Sungari Pearl (P)
        * Tabla (NE)
        * Taqueria Nueve (NE)
        * Tuscany Grill (NW)
        * Typhoon! (D, NW, B)
        * Veritible Quandary (D)
        * Wildwood (NW)

        * Alba Osteria (SW)
        * Bar Pastiche (SE)
        * Lovely Hula Hands (N)

        * Acadia (NE)
        * Assaggio (SW)
        * Bluehour (P)
        * Caffe Allora (NW)
        * Carafe (D)
        * Carlyle (NW)
        * clarklewis (SE)
        * Fenouil (NW)
        * Karam (D)
        * Lucy's Table (NW)
        * Navarre (NE)
        * Noble Rot (SE)
        * Papa Haydn (NW, SW)
        * Pho Van Bistro (P)
        * Siam Society (NE)

        1 Reply
        1. re: extramsg

          Yeah, I guess i wasn't very clear about my dislikes . . . it's not the type of food. I was trying to pose a pre-emptive strike in case someone should recommend those restaurants. We're really open to any and all foods. Another question: are mondays bad nights for dining out? i.e. head chef has the night off?

        2. Carlyle, no contest, my number one choice.

          We really like Alba Osteria too.

          I have had a couple of dinners I really liked at Hurley's, but my partner (who liked the food) finds the service/atmosphere to be overly formal and it makes her a bit uncomfortable.

          I want to like Fife, but the few times I have been the food is always just "OK," never really even "very good."

          Tabla is a great place with wonderful food, but not necessarily a "big splurge" as they have a $24 for 3 courses deal (as if that should stop you ;o)

          1. Pay no attention to the detractors of Paley's. We have been going semi-regularly (at least 2x per year) since they've opened and the food and service has never been anything less than stellar.

            But, I will say that we were just at Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill on Friday, and the sign on the door says they are open every day except Tuesday. It's more chic than Paley's, less romantic, but great service and food. Prices are similar but the courses are smaller at ASOB&G.

            1. I love Paley's. Great special occasion place. Not trendy, if that matters to you.

              Mondays are bad for dining? Only if you want fish. Conventional wisdom says that most places take fish delivery Mon-Fri. But often on Monday they are getting rid of leftovers from the weekend, so stuff could be three days old. Just scuttlebutt I've heard.

              1. Just go to Alba on Monday or Park Kitchen on Tuesday. When chanterelles are in season as they are now, Alba's pasta rules. You can share it as an intermezzo.

                1. I second Alba. It hits all your criteria - great food, well chosen wines, quiet, romantic, friendly and helpful but unobtrusive service.
                  The only downside of this place is you'll like it so much you'll keep going back...and blow your budget.

                  1. Agree with Alba Osteria. A great hidden gem out in SW Portland.

                    Have to disagree with Paley's. Really underwhelming. What's all the fuss? Place seems to be living on its laurels.

                    1. A little contrary opinion on Alba: while I really like the food, the left-side room, the only place I've gotten to sit on two visits, is NOT romantic, imo.

                      I think Paley's food is comparable to any place in Portland. BUT ... that means that they have ups and downs, better dishes and worse dishes. I still have yet to have bad service, though, and I think the right-side room is very comfortable and the left side back room is somewhat secluded.

                      I like ASOB's savory dishes pretty well. They can be both interesting and tasty. Choose wisely by doing your research and you'll have a great meal. Personally, I would skip dessert, however, which still trails the better restaurants in town despite sound very good on the menu. They're probably romantic ENOUGH, slightly ahead, imo, PK or clarklewis, but clearly trailing a Fenouil, Paley's, or similar.

                      I can't emphasize this enough: there is not a restaurant in Portland where you can guarantee you will avoid a bad meal or bad service AND YET at the top restaurants if you choose well will likely have an excellent meal.

                      1. Re: Alberta Street Oyster Bar.

                        I would not regard it as "romantic". Booming blues music wailing about loss and typical blues topics really doesn't strike me as conducive to romance. But I hate loud music of all sorts at restaurants. I like to hear my conversation with my dining companions.