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Fun dinner spots in Portland

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I am coming to Portland for the weekend to take out my long-time friend from college. We want to have some "girl time" before she gets married next month and I am looking for a place with good food and a fun atmosphere for the two of us. Unfortunately, I don't know the food scene there.

Any ideas? We are pretty adventurous with food, so any type of food works. Nice but not too expensive, though. ($10-$15 entrees are fine)

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  1. Not sure what part of the city you would want to be in, but try Chaba Thai on 58th and NE Sandy, Pambiche (Cuban) at 28th and NE Glisan, La Buca (Italian) on NE 28th near Burnside or Noble Rot(Small plates) on SE Ankeny.

    1. For just a little more money, you can do a lot better. I'd suggest a mid-priced place with a youngish crowd and bar like Toro Bravo, Clyde Common, or Andina in the bar for Peruvian tapas. A few of the nicer ethnic places might be good choices, too, like Silk, Pok Pok, Pambiche, Nuestra Cocina, Autentica, etc.

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

      5 Replies
      1. re: extramsg

        ExtraMSG has listed some very good and well received places. But, many are very crowded and hard to get in on weekends and go well beyond your entree limitations.
        Andina is one of the most expensive places in town. Clyde Commons is wonderful but one small plate can be $10 and unless you eat like a bird, your wings can be clipped.

        1. re: Sir EatsAlot

          My husband and I rolled into town last night and went to Clyde Common for dinner. It was open late, it was close by, and I read about it here. We sat at the bar for dinner. The half chicken was sensational -- crispy, succulent, and yummy. Husband had the burger and I snatched some fries. Again, very yummy. What really knocked my socks off was their gin and tonics. It was the best I've ever had! (This, on the heels of the worst gin and tonic I've ever had at the Adobe in Yachats. I think they mix it with household cleaning product. The ocean view was lovely, though. But I digress...) The G&T at CC was complex and refreshing. It also came bearing the garnish trifecta -- lime, mint, and cucumbers! That may sound crowded -- but they worked perfectly off of one another. The tonic looked like it was added with an old fashioned medicine dropper. Much to my surprise, I'm still thinking about that drink almost 24 hours later. When in Portland and you're hankering a drink, I'd head over to Clyde Common. The food is quite good and the folks behind the bar know their way around a cocktail shaker. Go!

          1. re: Sir EatsAlot

            That's not really true, though, SirEA.

            Note that I said to stick to the tapas menu at Andina. Yes, the dinner menu is spendy, but the tapas menu is rather reasonable and I think more consistent. Some of my favorite dishes are there. And the bar has a nice atmosphere.

            Clyde Common has a lot of small plates and usually has several decent-sized dishes for less than $15. They even have a burger for about $10. Plus, they have happy hour before 6pm and after 11pm with lots of cheap eats. On both of my trips to Toro Bravo I spent just under $30/person and got absolutely stuffed, and I eat like a pig. Other than the paellas, which are very filling and big enough for two light eaters, there's nothing over $15, I don't think. I'm not even sure if their coppa steak is over $15.

            btw, another good choice that I didn't suggest because I don't think the atmosphere is quite as "fun" as these others is Biwa. But being able to order by the skewer and having the giant bowls of ramen for less than $10, etc, makes for a great meal easy on the pocketbook.

            (Also, I don't want to pile on you too much, but I don't think your choices are any less busy than my choices.)

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

            1. re: extramsg

              There's no right or wrong here, just suggestions from our experiences.I guess as my moniker implies, it is awfully hard for me to stick to a small plate or two. These are appetizers for me. Never an entree. And, the evening winds up spendy. But, I concur that others can
              CC is good and a fun place. The first 2 times I went to TB, I couldn't get in. From the description of your choices, you'd make an excellent eating companion.

              1. re: Sir EatsAlot

                Try Clyde Common. Their large plates are rather large and all under $20 and very good. The pork shank that's back on the menu right now is one of the best dishes I've had this year.

                I haven't had a problem at TB yet. Last time I was there was a Sunday, I think, and it wasn't really that busy the whole time I was there. The coppa, a smoked beef shoulder steak, is a sizeable chunk of tasty meat for $14. Split a paella and you'd be set at $22 for your part. The fideo paella with mussels and sausage is terrific.

                And you're welcome to eat with me anytime. I'm always asking for dining partners over on PortlandFood.org and have a goal of hitting every BBQ joint (twice) in Portland by the end of the month.

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