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Apr 12, 2007 02:04 PM

NY Hound visiting Portland & Eugene

My wife and I will visiting Portland and Eugene for four or five days next week. She's never visited Oregon, so I want her to get the best impression of the state. We both prefer seasonal, local, organic when possible. Here are a few places I'm looking for:

good sushi spot
good place for brunch
restaurant with a good local wine list
fun hole-in-wall place for lunch
favorite dinner places in downtown

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Sushi = Saburo in Sellwood on Milwaukee
    Brunch = Cafe LiLi in Sellwood on Harney and 17th or Genies or Simpatica, Daily Cafe in the Pearl
    Wine bar = Noble Rot
    dinner DT = Higgins, South Park or Park Kitchen

      Sushi: Murata for more traditional, Hiroshi for more creative
      Brunch: Simpatica on Sundays only
      Hole-in-the-Wall: Podnah's Pit BBQ
      Dinner Downtown/NW: Wildwood

      Sushi: Sushi Domo
      Hole-in-the-Wall: Aiyara Thai Cafe
      Dinner: Marche


      1 Reply
      1. re: extramsg

        Sushi: Yoko's, Hiroshi, or Murata. Saburo is not good at all, service is dreadful, & the wait isn't worth it. Most overrated. OK if all you care about is $/size ratio.
        Downtown dinner: Higgins
        Brunch hole in the wall: J & M Cafe.
        If there on Saturday, check out Portland Farmers' Market (NOT the "Portland Saturday Mkt...something else entirely).

      2. good sushi spot: Sin Ju in the Pearl, Saburos,
        good place for brunch: Wild Abandon, Zells cafe, Cricket Cafe, Besaws, Tin Shed
        restaurant with a good local wine list: Navarre, Noble Rot, Wildwood or Higgins
        fun hole-in-wall place for lunch: l'Astra, Old Town Pizza, Pho Van, Dan & Louis' oyster bar
        favorite dinner places in downtown: Higgins, Bluehour, VQ (Veritable Quandry)
        Have fun and happy eating!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: anhdeluxe

          As always Nick (extramsg) is spot on. I would only add:

          I don't know where you are staying in Eugene, but my recommendation would be to check out King Estate Winery's Restaurant which features produce from their organic garden. It is approximately 30 minutes from downtown, South on Territorial Road (W 11th to Bertelsen S, then 20 minutes). It was featured in BA a year ago or so.

          My only other recommendation would be to drive to the Coast which may or may not be in the scope of your trip. Nursing drinks at the bar in the Adobe Inn at Yachats is a nice way to watch the sunset. Old Town Florence is vaguely reminiscent of Mystic, Connecticut (in a pacific nw tourist trappy sort of way). By the way, had the coin flipped the other way, Portland, OR would have been named Boston.

          1. re: Andy Jacob

            King's Estate is the best on a sunny afternoon, when you can sit out on the patio overlooking their vineyard... be sure to set aside a few hours for the whole experience (doing the winery tour, tasting, having lunch, etc). Their wine is so-so, but, it's all about the experience there. On the way there (to and from) there are a number of really good (better?) wineries, such as Secret Garden and Sweet Cheeks.

            1. re: clearskies0810

              Agreed, though I was keying off of the stated interest in organic. I'll reserve my comments on the wine (momma said "if you can't say something nice..."). I like Sweet Cheeks, Sylvan Ridge and Lavell. My favorite is 30 minutes S of King Estate (exit 150 on the 5 South, then 3 miles East on Goodrich Hwy). MarshAnne Landing. All reds ~1000 case producer. No affiliation.

        2. Zenon Cafe in Eugene was good last time I ate there but that was ages ago.

          4 Replies
          1. re: anhdeluxe

            Zenon used to be excellent. In the past 10 years or so, though, they've gotten pretty bad. Some things are good, but the menu is a minefield--you never know what's going to be horrible. They use instant rice, for example. Breakfast/Brunch used to be good, but even that's a gamble now. I'd just stay away entirely.

            1. re: antrobin

              I believe they've switched owners which may be why you saw the downward slide.

              1. re: antrobin

                I think Zenon is excellent, if only for this: they know what rare means
                I also think that their staff is very agreable.
                That sai, I have noticed that their vegetarian dishes can be a little on the boring side

              2. re: anhdeluxe

                Cafe Zenon has never and will never use instant rice! They've also under-gone a lot of changes for the better... I can't stay away, and can't wait to see what they do next

              3. Agree, gotta go to Tin Shed on Alberta for breakfast/brunch. You won't regret it. If you like fish and chips, try Halibuts further down NE Alberta, great chowder there to. While extramsg recommends Podnahs as a hole-in-the-wall for BBQ, I'd recommend Clay's Smokehouse instead on SE Division near 30th. Concur on Higgins, South Park or VQ for dinner. Have fun!

                3 Replies
                1. re: djfpdx

                  Clay's is one of the worst BBQ experiences I've had in Portland:


                  1. re: extramsg

                    Well, you know I've come to believe that BBQ is truly a matter of individual palate for sure. I/we like the more vinegary, already sauced type rather than the dry rub kind. Whereas I realize there are those of the BBQ religion who think that is akin to eating a fine steak with ketchup. Anyway, so that's why I like what we have had at Clay's...basically just the wings and I think it was the pork ribs that my husband had. I guess I should have clarified that it was that palate perspective from whence I come. We live near, but haven't had Podnah's yet, but look forward to it soon. Just trying to add another perspective. Oh, and I guess I shouldn't have said, "instead of..." Podnah's, but "as another option...."

                    1. re: djfpdx

                      I eat BBQ with BBQ sauce sometimes. But for me it's more like eating a kobe beef tenderloin grilled perfectly medium rare with steak sauce vs eating Safeway choice boiled with steak sauce. You can add steak sauce to either, but give me the good steak.

                      If you like Clay's, though, enjoy.