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Need help for group of 10 in Portland Orgeon

Manhattan Diner Apr 28, 2007 06:52 AM

NY Hound traveling to Portland this week and need an affordable place downtown for a group of 10 this Wednesday. The hotel we're staying at recommended Alexis (Greek) or Andinas (Peruvian), both of which seem to be only moderately liked on the Chowhound boards. Anyone have a better idea? Thanks!

  1. manya7 Apr 28, 2007 07:06 AM

    Depends upon your budget. I have had excellent meals at Andina (nuevo Peruvian---lots of seafood, sebiche) and believe they could accommodate ten. Other ideas: Higgins (NW cuisine and superb charcuterie), Paley's Place, Carlyle, Wildwood. I'd call ahead to make sure they could accomodate your group size; some of our best restaurants here are intimate and might not seat a group of 10. Check out extramsg's website on food; it's quite comprehensive, entertaining and informative. (www.extramsg.com)

    1. JillO Apr 28, 2007 07:21 AM

      Karam would be an excellent choice: http://www.karamrestaurant.com/

      1. k
        kosmonut Apr 28, 2007 12:34 PM

        In the Pearl area I would suggest Olea, Bay13 or Giorgios. The first two I know can handle a group of 10 though I am not sure about Giorgios. Other restaurants that would fit the bill, Wildwood and Fenouil.

        1. extramsg Apr 29, 2007 09:04 PM

          Remember that he said "affordable". Some of the suggestions here aren't really affordable by Portland standards, including Carlyle, Wildwood, Paley's, Olea, Bay13 and Giorgio's -- unless you go for happy hour at some of these. Higgins is not really inexpensive either unless you eat in the bar. By not affordable, I mean that all of these have entrees in the $20s and $30s. I consider "affordable" down below $15 for entrees.

          Karam certainly fits that. Andina can if you stick with the tapas/bar menu and stay away from the dinner menu. With Andina, I like that menu best anyway.

          Carafe is at the upper end of affordability in downtown, but could accomodate you, is casual, but still relatively nice, and has good food.

          Mama Mia's would do the job, but I suspect coming here and eating red sauce Italian would be disappointing.


          I don't like Alexis. I think it's mediocre to bad Greek. Better and not far away is Eleni's, but it's a little bit more expensive, yet a nice place whereas Alexis is a dank, noisy hole in the earth.

          3 Replies
          1. re: extramsg
            JillO Apr 30, 2007 10:02 AM

            I was also remembering that the poster said "downtown" as well as "affordable." ;o)

            Carafe is also not a bad idea, if Karam is not what you are looking for.

            1. re: JillO
              Manhattan Diner May 1, 2007 05:30 AM

              Thanks, all! We made a reservation at Karam. I'm also very much looking forward to sampling the wares at Ken's Artisan Bakery and his Artisan Pizza place.

              1. re: Manhattan Diner
                littleredbike May 1, 2007 01:45 PM

                Sounds like you already made a reservation but I thought I would add Park Kitchen to the mix. It is great for groups and they do a number of small plates that are perfect for sharing in the $8-11 range. www.parkkitchen.com

          2. m
            mlukewow May 1, 2007 06:52 PM

            Hey its a bit out of the way but try the StockPot Broiler. Short cab ride to Beaverton from downtown and well worth the travel settled in on the 18th green on the Red Tail Golf Coarse and great steaks and seafood. Big Mike

            10 Replies
            1. re: mlukewow
              extramsg May 1, 2007 11:14 PM


              1) They're not affordable. Their entrees are all over $20 with many in the $30 range.

              2) Short cab ride? This would have to be at least a 15 minute cab ride. Probably $25+

              3) NW Portland, including The Pearl, has the greatest concentration of good restaurants in Portland and it's just a modest walk or easy streetcar ride away from downtown (SW). Not to mention all the cheaper options in NE and SE that are truly short cab rides -- like 1 or 2 miles instead of 10 or more.

              1. re: extramsg
                Manhattan Diner May 2, 2007 11:52 AM

                Thanks again gang. We do have our Karam's reservation, so we're all set for the group dinner tonight. I'm now exploring lunch options as I wander the beautiful streets of Portland. Any yeas or nays on the following for lunch: Dan & Louie's Oyster Bar, Koji Osakaya, Mother's Bistro, Bijou, Maya's Taqueria, Jakes Famous Seafood.

                1. re: Manhattan Diner
                  mardy May 2, 2007 12:20 PM

                  The history of Jake's Famous Crawfish is far more interesting than their food is, and as an easterner, you'll be disappointed. I'd pass on the whole seafood scene. It's Portland, Oregon. Not Portland, Maine.........

                  1. re: mardy
                    JillO May 2, 2007 02:00 PM

                    I agree with ya on Jake's...blech.

                    But the oysters here are great, why not Dan & Louis? (I'm gonna try the happy hour soon - $10/doz. oysters!)

                    Higgins is overpriced for dinner ($10-15 more for the same entrees you can get at lunch) but I do like lunch there. While it will run you around $15 or so I think it is worth it for a lunch treat:

                    Another downtown spot is the French bistro Carafe which has very good food. It can be under $10 or over $20, depending what you order (and the foie gras (@ $15) is sooo worth it, but the mussels (@ $8.50) rock too): http://www.carafebistro.com/

                    Cafe Voila is great for a take to the park lunch (though you can eat there) that is inexpensive but doesn't taste inexpensive - I love their composed entree salads: http://www.voila-catering.com/cafevoila.html
                    Here's a sample menu (they send out e-mails every week) that changes weekly: http://www.extramsg.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2236

                    OCI (Oregon Culinary Institute) is across I-405 from downtown, but not a far walk and they have a 4-course lunch for $9 that is usually worth it:

                    Also a short walk from downtown in the Pearl (if you decide you want to investigate our up-and-coming answer to Soho) is Fenouil. Also around $15 for lunch, it is French and upscale and a very nice lunch (and I think it is another place that is better for lunch than dinner):

                    Park Kitchen is loved by many (not by me, but what can I tell ya) and is just a short walk out of downtown proper:

                  2. re: Manhattan Diner
                    extramsg May 2, 2007 02:33 PM

                    Jake's is more about seafood variety than anything. PDX for some reason doesn't have a lot of good seafood restaurants. (Though every decent restaurant has a few high quality seafood dishes focusing on local stuff like halibut, salmon, mussels, oysters, sturgeon, trout, etc.) If you've been to a McCormick & Schmick's, you've been to Jake's. Jake's just has more character, not better food.

                    Koji: Nay
                    Mother's: Yea
                    Bijou: Yea for breakfast
                    Maya's: Yea if you can't get outside of downtown and really want cheap Mex

                    Jill's given you a good list. To it I would also add Blueplate and Murata. Also, downtown has a lot of carts. You should do a search for carts here or at PortlandFood.org.

                    1. re: extramsg
                      JillO May 2, 2007 03:19 PM

                      I had Blueplate in my original post, but the 'puter monster ate it... ;o)


                  3. re: extramsg
                    mlukewow May 2, 2007 12:11 PM

                    they are from new york they are used to cab rides like that so just was a thought.
                    my bad Big Mike

                    1. re: mlukewow
                      Manhattan Diner May 3, 2007 08:26 AM

                      Karam was a big hit with the group. Very affordable and great service. Thanks, all! One of our group has asked if there's good Indian in the NW or SW sections. I did a search and nothing jumped out. Anyone have a recommendation?

                      1. re: Manhattan Diner
                        JillO May 3, 2007 10:17 AM

                        So glad the group enjoyed Karam! Thanks for reporting back.

                        I'm not a fan of Indian food, but from what I understand, good Indian food is one of the things that Portland lacks.

                        1. re: Manhattan Diner
                          extramsg May 3, 2007 11:29 AM

                          There's some serviceable Indian in that area, but not good: India House and Swagat. Plainfield's Mayur can be good with their more interesting items, but they're rather expensive. The best is actually just an all-veggie cart called India Chaat House on 12th. They do have a covered eating area and are open into dinner time.

                          To get good Indian, you really need to go out west into Beaverton, etc, and even there it can be hit and miss. There are some places along the Max line, though, if you're really eager for Indian. Someone from places like Chicago, NY, Texas, or California, though, are probably going to be disappointed with most of the choices if they've made any effort to find good stuff in their home towns. The one that does the best, imo, is Chennai Masala, though my last meal was a little bit worse than previous meals. But it's not near the Max line. For that, try Swagath.

                          For something a little interesting, you could head into SE and go to Vindalho. It's midscale/fusiony Indian and pretty good. Plus, since it's not the typical Indian it won't be as easily compared to the standards.

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