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Portland-One Nice Dinner

My husband and I will be in Portland in late July and plan to have one nice dinner out. We're in our late 30's and love all types of food (fish, seafood, beef etc.). Food quality is important, but great service and nice atmosphere are also important. Price isn't a huge issue, but only if the food quality and experience are worth it. We are staying at the Hotel Monaco (old 5th Avenue Suites), and will not have a car, so someplace walkable or with available public transportation would be nice (we could cab - are cabs readily available in Portland?). I'm a wine lover, but my husband is a beer guy. The places I'm thinking about are:

- Higgins
- Park Kitchen
- Bluehour
- Caryle

Any thoughts or advise would be appreciated.

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  1. Higgins is a pleasant stroll from the Monaco, and your husband will go gaga over the beer selection. You might also take a peak at Southpark and the Heathman, which are both on the way, and represent fine alternatives if for some reason Higgins is closed or you can't get in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AlbertaHound

      As the spouse of a pretty serious beer drinker, I'd say that if you want good food AND a very good beer selection, Higgins is your best bet. They have far more beers, local and otherwise, on tap than the other places that you mention, plus they are downtown. There are places with better food. But to get a better beer selection you'd have to go to a bar or brewpub with lower-quality food. Plus, several places have a good selection of obscure European beers, but if you order one of them at Higgins you'll get it in the correct glass as well.

    2. I'd suggest Wildwood as a possibility. It has been Portland's restaurant of the year twice! The food is fresh Northwest cuisine, and our favorite restaurant in Portland. It is not very close, but easily accessible by streetcar.....which is also a great way to see the city! Most hotels give free streetcar passes. If I had one dinner in Portland, that is certainly where I'd go!

      Keep us posted on what you decide and what you think, okay?

      salemjan

      7 Replies
      1. re: salemjan

        My vote goes to Andina. Wildwood is good, but to my palate and based on just one visit, not very original or especially interesting. Andina is fun and different and delicious.

        1. re: Abra

          I think it's a good list, however none are truely walking distance. Of the four you are pondering, I would suggest Carlyle. I'm not sure about Carlyle's beer selection (wine drinker here), but we love the food, and the service is first rate. Second choice would be Park Kitchen. A bit more casual, but the menu is creative. A few not on your list would be Le Pigeon, and the recently opened Toro Bravo. Enjoy your visit!

          1. re: Kim D

            Two great streetcar selections are Paley's & Wildwood.
            Paley's is my favorite "special occasion" place.

            Don't forget the eastside though. Tabla is an easy bus ride on the 19 or 20. Simply outstanding. Just had a lovely dinner there last week. Chef came out and was very accomodating about our special requests & questions.

            Don't even think about taxis.

            1. re: Leonardo

              I ate at Paley's place last night (sat in Bistro section) - I thought the experience was exceptional - food (I had smoked duck breast followed by warm chocolate souffle) was perfectly cooked, presented and served. I was dining alone but was made very welcome by the owner. The cost was very reasonable for such a high class but relaxed meal

            2. re: Kim D

              Not sure what you're talking about...Higgins is a short walk from Monaco, great food, best beer selection.

            3. re: Abra

              I had a similar impression of Wildwood as Abra (based on one visit), thought Carlyle and Andina more interesting imo

              1. re: barleywino

                After spending a long weekend in Portland I am very excited to return, mainly because of the impressive restaurants. I had dinner at Southpark, Oba! and Bluehour, and my favorite by a long shot was Oba! in the Pearl District. Delicious Latin American food, great atmosphere and decent service (I was told the service was unusually off that night). Southpark was great food, Pacific Northwest specialties, but the service was lacking for sure. Bluehour was wonderful all around, very upscale, but Oba! was the standout. Go get dessert at Papa Haydin's...wow.

          2. There is also the Bridgeport Brew Pub in the Pearl Recently remodeled with a brewpub or restaurant dining. Also has a bakery and outside seating in good weather.
            Located a few blocks from the Street Car on 14th. Also a nice walk from your hotel.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mochathedog

              Have you actually been there? Terrible service, so-so food.

            2. I agree with what has been said about Higgins, best beer list at an upscale restaurant - by far, but there are better choices for food. My first choice for a great dinner would be Carlyle (not that bad a cab ride at all, and well worth it). If you will be in town on a weekday, I'd suggest hitting Higgins for lunch and enjoy the beer list when you can enjoy many of the entrees (most of which will be on the dinner menu) for $10-15 less than at dinner.

              Park Kitchen has gotten a lot of mixed reviews recently. bluehour is OK, but I have had much better meals at Carlyle.

              1. I would def. suggest Southpark. Great atmosphere and awesome seafood/beef selection. And for your benefit they have an extensive wine bar, one of the largest in Portland. The food is great and service is exceptional. Maybe not as sophisticated and pretentious as some other places listed below but it is fine dining with great atmosphere. Check it out even for lunch.

                1. I would say a lot of these claims of "great" or "exceptional" food should be measured.

                  Of the ones mentioned, I would suggest Wildwood and Carlyle. Wildwood is more local/seasonal. Near your hotel, I like Clyde Common best, but note it has mostly family seating. Pazzo is often overlooked in recs but is at least as good as other downtown restaurants mentioned.

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