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hip, off-the-radar PDX recs

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Will be in Portland this weekend and would love any chowhound recs for great, somewhat under-the-radar places to eat. Staying downtown but we'll have a car so can go anywhere. Looking for amazing restaurants with lots of personality (cozy, fun atmosphere, hip but not obnoxious). Any kind of food is okay (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), just looking for places that are truly spectacular and not ridiculously overexposed. Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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  1. Not possible. This is a small city. If something is hip and spectacular, the word gets out in a hurry. (And the mainstream media all read the food blogs and food forums.) Spectacular divey place, otoh...

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    http://www.extramsg.com
    http://www.portlandfood.org

    1. If you are looking for good food, but don't care about seeing and being seen...you might try Lovely Hula Hands on N. Mississippi. They use local ingredients with a variety of ethnic flairs. I also have had good food at Sagittarius on N. Killingsworth (and N. Denver, not too far off I-5), they do simple, homestyle, comfort really well.

      1. okay, fair enough. How 'bout just places that are really good but not all pumped up with PR hype (if you're familiar with Seattle, I'm looking for places like Sitka & Spruce, Dinette, or Boat Street Cafe--as opposed to Boka, Qube, or other obnoxious flashy modern spots).

        4 Replies
        1. re: scout78

          try Grolla in N Portland very small and fabulous food and service

          1. re: scout78

            Okay. I honestly don't think Portland has that many places that are all smoke and no fire. But some that really lean towards fire rather than smoke (ie, aren't putting their money into fancy digs) are: Clyde Common, Toro Bravo, Country Cat, Le Pigeon, Biwa, Simpatica, Lovely Hula Hands, Park Kitchen, Pok Pok, Alberta St Oyster Bar, Apizza Scholls, Podnah's, Pambiche, and plenty of others. I won't promise that ANY of these places won't be busy; some will be insanely so.

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            http://www.extramsg.com
            http://www.portlandfood.org

            1. re: extramsg

              For all smoke and no fire, how about Aquariva? I haven't been, or talked to anyone who has been there, but I would think if the food were remarkable they'd have pictures of it on their website rather than the pictures of attractive young women that appear there now. I'd love to hear a review from anyone who's gone there!

          2. new CORNMEAL CRUST pizza on ne glisan and 28th....(near bars and wine stores, etc)...fresh ingredients....creative and mouth watering......go go go!!! oh yeah, it's called DOVE VIVI (prounounced dough-vey vee-veee). i recommend it for lunch. have fun!