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Dec 6, 2006 05:41 PM

ISO unusual ethnic restaurants in Portland, OR area

We are from Southern California & plan to visit the Portland, OR area later this month (the week between Christmas & New Year's) and would like to get some recommendations on unusual ethnic restaurants in the area.

We truly enjoy all ethnic cuisines, but would like something more unusual than Mexican, Italian, Japanese or Chinese. Are there any good Afghani, Moroccan, Mongolian, Tibetan or other such ethnic restaurants around? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Lungta on Sandy (Tibetan) was recommended to me by a Tibetan friend.

    Also Pho Van (a few locations) serves fantastic Vietnamese food.

    1. I wouldn't think that unusual ethnic food is really Portland's strong point, but I can think of a few examples that are a little different and worth seeking out:

      - Andina (Peruvian)
      - Pambiche (Cuban)
      - Bewon (Korean)

      I don't know if you'd consider those unusual or not (I suspect that if you were coming from Florida, you might consider a Cuban place, for example, pretty ordinary).

      Although there are Moroccan places in town, I don't think they're very remarkable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nettie

        Those are three very good recommendations, all with very good food. Southern California, especially if it's LA, will definitely have Portland beat on ethnic foods, but maybe try some Pacific Northwest restaurants like Wildwood, for some local flavor.

      2. I suggest you search back on this thread for ideas.

        Northern Thai street food: Pok Pok
        Ethiopean: Blue Nile

        1. I'm going to echo some suggestions and give a few others. I'm sure LA has much more than us in every category, but these are all quite good, imo. There's some pretty interesting Mexican around town, too, but I won't make those recs since you're not interested.

          * Malay Satay Hut, Malaysian
          * Banh Cuon Tan Dinh, Vietnamese
          * Pok Pok, Thai
          * Andina, Peruvian
          * Pambiche, Cuban
          * Bewon, Korean
          * Siam Society, Thai
          * Cha Ba, Thai
          * Pho Van, Vietnamese
          * Yen Ha, Vietnamese
          * Karam, Lebanese
          * Aladdin's Cafe, Lebanese
          * Ya Hala, Lebanese
          * Arabian Breeze, Lebanese (you have to be careful what you order here, but there are some interesting items)
          * Blue Nile, Ethiopian
          * Podnah's, BBQ (I bet you don't have Texas style BBQ this good and it's a certain sort of ethnic ;) )
          * A Taste of Europe, Bosnian
          * Two Brothers, Bosnian
          * Roux, Creole (ethnic from this country and I don't know what your options are down there)
          * Lagniappe, Cajun (ditto)
          * Chinese Delicacy, Chinese (I know you said no Chinese, but this place is Korean-Chinese and you can find some unusual dishes, such as the Korean meatballs, that are fantastic, but the typical stuff is....typical)

          There are some other very good places in, eg, Vietnamese, but they don't have anything unusual on the menus. Also, there are places in the suburbs that I haven't mentioned, although a couple of these are on the outskirts of Portland.

          The only one I'm not a fan of that's been mentioned is Lungta, though I've only had buffet a couple times. And I don't have any reference to compare it to. I've only eaten at two Tibetan restaurants.

          2 Replies
          1. re: extramsg

            Thanks for the great list of options everyone :) We're sure to have some culinary adventures on our trip!!

            Note to: extramsg...could you explain a little more about the warning "you have to be careful what you order here, but there are some interesting items" at Arabian Breeze?! Thanks!

            1. re: socalqtpi

              The menu has lots of interesting stuff, items you won't find on any other Lebanese menu, but even some basics just fall flat or are mediocre at best. I'd have to look at a menu or go through some old notes to remember what exactly was good and bad. The others are much more consistently good, especially Karam and Aladdin, but you asked for interesting.

          2. I suggest you try Hapa Grill for excellent Hawaiian food in Beaverton. I'll direct you over to Portland Food for the complete review: