restaurants in Portland [moved from California board]
I'm going to be visiting Portland for a few days. I've eaten at some of the more high profile places like Higgins. Any ideas for good inovative food but maybe a little more low key atmosphere? I don't care what kind of food as long as it's good. Also any Portland chowhounds into bicycling? I'd like to go 20 mi. or so ride in or around Portland.
My recommendation would be Navarre-- on E 28th about two doors north of Burnside. Sorta tapas-inspired northwesty cuisine, in small or large plates. If you are alone or in a pair sit at the bar and enjoy the action. Good reasonable wine list and a high emphasis on local produce, house-made cured meats and pickles, that sort of thing. The food is good, the techniques sometimes surprising, and the atmosphere is about as lowkey as it gets. They recently opened for breakfast and lunch, too, though I've yet to try either of those.
I'm a cyclist and can give you some recommendations for rides. Drop me a line off-list.
Patrick at pdbd dot com.
I didn't get your post until after i returned from my trip but I will be sure to try Navarre the next time I'm up. I had my splurge meal at clarklewis and was pleased with that choice. On the subject of bicycling I may be accepting a job up there and if I do I will be in touch by email. I was blown away by the amount of biking. But what about rain?
You've pretty much described the heart of Portland's food scene: innovative but more low-key. Well, maybe "innovative" isn't the right word exactly. These would be my picks and there is plenty of comment on them if you search boards:
Alberta Street Oyster Bar (except the desserts)
Depends on if you have a car or not.
Alba Osteria is a good but hidden and undervisited Northern Italian. It is in SW Portland. Far away from downtown.
Park Kitchen is very good. Near downtown.
I like Olea and Fenouil but they may not be enough "low keyed" for you. The food is interesting. Not typical "Northwestern Cuisine"
Carafe is also a low-keyed French bistro with an interesting decor (or lack thereof).
Lauro is also good but it is also out on the SE side. So is Nuestra Cocina.
According to some, Saucebox is coming back from its nadir. It is on Broadway, across from the Benson Hotel.
I'd personally stay away from Paley's, Wildwood, and the other establishment places (including Higgins) that have been around for a while. Menus seem to be unexciting and the food rather bland
I disagree. I think that places like Wildwood are still putting out excellent food. In some ways it's more refined than places like Park Kitchen, but it's still top quality. In fact, I'd say my meals at Wildwood recently have been much more evenly good than mine at Park Kitchen. And they've hardly been "bland". (And I freely admit I don't have the most subtle palate, preferring aggressive seasoning and flavors much of the time.)
Gotham not Gothic. They closed for many reasons, ineptitude, arrogance & pretentiousness being chiefly among them. Certainly adds irony to the owners' slogan of "kill the restaurant", the claim that they are reinventing the restaurant.
The Korean is Be Won, which is very good.
Try Le Pidgeon.
Yeah, look at the PDX message board. I will say that Clarklewis is excellent for NW ingredients with a simple italian menu. The owners also ran the Gothic Tavern, but I think closed that because they lost the chef. Sushi is probably better down here. Also, Park Kitchen is great. There is a Korean place in the NW which serves a really unique and upscale experience - I think on 23rd NW.