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Sep 16, 2007 11:09 AM

Best pizza in Portland?

We will be visiting Portland after a 4-day hike on 3 Sisters and thought we'd reward ourselves with a pizza. However, coming from DC, we are pretty spoiled and pretty particular about pizza. We like a thin crust, nicely blistered and charred, with top quality, fresh toppings. In essence, a real Italian tomato pie. NO deep dish, NO greasy, sliding blobs of cheese, NO powdered garlic. Can anyone steer us in the right direction?

On the non-pizza front, we'd appreciate suggestions for good fish (not seafood) restaurants, good Mediterranean. Doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. To the contrary, we like crummy but good. Finally, good pho is always a treat for us.


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  1. You might be very surprised. Portland has several EXCELLENT -- as in as good as ANYWHERE -- pizza places: Apizza Scholls, Ken's Artisan, and Nostrana. If you add Apizza in Stayton to the list, that makes four world class pizza sources.

    Fish: Halibut's
    Lebanese: Karam
    Pho: Pho Oregon

    11 Replies
    1. re: extramsg

      Big yay for Apizza Scholls & Ken's; you will not want to return home. Also at Ken's try the roasted seasonal vegies. Nostrana not so much, especially considering the service or lack thereof; I don't like extra helpings of attitude.
      Having visited my GF in Adams-Morgan many times DC has left us pizza-unfulfilled, so perhaps you can enlighten us as to what's so magical about it.

      Halibut's is outstanding but it is a fish & chips place, if that's your mood.
      Lebanese: Nicholas - cheap
      Mediterannean - not at all cheap but fantastic
      Great feel of local flavor & cheap: Portland Farmers' Market

      1. re: Leonardo

        I don't know what's magical about Adams-Morgan since I never go there. Too much noise, too much drinking, too much too much. No nearby Metro and no parking. It's really mostly a bar scene with a couple of decent restaurants. The places to go for pizza here are Two Amy's (near the Cathedral) and Pizza Paradiso (Georgetown) plus Red Rocks. Some people like Comet but I haven't tried it, turned off by the reports about the attitude, bad service, and astonishing range of results (from superb to crappy, in a matter of days - reported by the same people, i.e., so it isn't just a matter of taste). Plus I avoid this particular chef, having read that she's a real prima donna who rages out of the kitchen to yell at customers who ask for modifications, even when they are trying to deal with food allergies. Too many good places to eat in this town. No need to patronize places like that. Hope you venture out of Adams Morgan on your next trip to DC.

        1. re: Just Visiting

          Thanks. I was speaking about DC in general for pizza, not just A-M. GF lives on Woodley/Conn to be precise, that Red Line stop is called Adams-Morgan. We weren't impressed with the much-ballyhooed Amy's. We'll try Pizza Paradiso.

          Answer to your MAX question: no there are no good places outside of downtown accessible from it. Take the #19 on 4th or #20 bus on Burnside to Ken's Artisan Pizza or Tabla. #14 to Apizza Scholls. Easy walk from hotel to Farmers' Mkt.

          1. re: Leonardo

            L - thanks again for the info. I have heard (actually here on CH I think) that 2 Amy's has gone downhill, the pies flabby and/or soggy and the guy who started Red Rocks came from Two Amy's having left after a disagreement about how hot to fire and how charred/crisp the pies should be (Tim Carman in City Paper). They say his pies are crisp and charred and blistered but I haven't tried them yet. So I gather that riding buses is a done thing in Portland? As you probably know, not so much in the DC area. Is any of this walkable from the Portland Hilton? Mostly question of safety - we enjoy very long walks.

            1. re: Just Visiting

              These places are NOT walkable from the Hilton--they are several miles away. Buses in Portland are fine, especially in the neighborhoods of the pizza places (Nostrana, Ken's, Apizza Scholls). As a woman, there are other neighborhoods in town in which I would feel uncomfortable riding a bus alone in the city at night, but even in those neighborhoods I would feel OK during the day or with someone else.

              1. re: Nettie

                That's your opinion, Nettie, and you're certainly entitled to it. I walk such distances daily and the OP enjoys "very long walks".
                From the hotel to Ken's is 2.3 miles and is mostly flat, so it should take about 45 minutes.
                Safety is not an issue, IMHO, unless we're talking 2 am.
                On the way, use the River Esplanade for something a bit scenic. Nicholas mentioned above is on eastside close to river (Willamette divides east from west side).

                JV, thanks for the scoop on Amy's. We were way underwhelmed.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Leonardo - Check out Rocks and DCist did a one-night, four-pie testing - Comet, Amy's, Red Rocks, and Bebo's. Surprised they included Bebo's as people can't say enough bad things about the service, and most think the pies are soupy. And indeed the pie in the photo looks soupy. And they left out Pizza Paradiso. Sorry to take up PDX space with this stuff, but I can't figure out how to p.m. off this board.

                2. re: extramsg

                  Not that I'd recommend Nostrana over any of the others (haven't had their pizza but won't return because of the service), but it is definitely walkable from the Hilton. I used to live a couple of blocks from Nostrana and walk to my downtown office every day...Nick is right on, it is just over a mile and only the last 5 blocks or so are uphill (and not that big of a hill). Ken's is about another mile and a half away, Apizza about another 2 miles away.

                  1. re: JillO

                    It's been a while since I've lived in Portland, but isn't the Morrison bridge closed to foot traffic? If walking from downtown to Nostrana (which was a sketchy supermarket when I used to live down the block) I believe you need to take the Hawthorne bridge.

                    1. re: chickenlover

                      No it is not closed. It is the most pedestrian unfriendly of the central bridges, but as long as you plan ahead you can easily cross it and and up on the right course to where you are headed.
                      BTW: Burnside bridge is closed for repairs the next few weeks.

                      1. re: chickenlover

                        The Hawthorne Bridge is a much more pleasant walk and I recommend taking it and walking north when you get to the east side. That's how I used to do my commute. It's worth walking an extra few blocks...especially if you are a visitor to our fine city.

        2. For Pho, I recommend Pho Van on 82nd near Division.

          1. Also since you asked for Med: Tabla. Just outstanding, lots of use of local organic ingredients.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Leonardo

              Thanks, everyone! I have this notion of Portland and Oregon generally as organic/locally grown heaven (thanks to programs like Endless Feast and thanks to a Portland trip report posted here a couple of years ago by another DC hound). So I"m really looking forward to this. We'll be at the Portland Hilton. Are any of these places MAX accessible?

              1. re: Just Visiting

                I am also visiting Portland from DC this weekend. My first stop will be Le Pigeon. I'll also be checking in on some of my haunts from back in the day. As far as Max accessible restaurants, the Max is not the Metro and there aren't too many good restaurants near stations. You could take the street car or a short cab ride to the Pearl District/NW Portland where you'll find lots of bars and restaurants. I've read a lot of buzz about a place called Clyde Common, which I believe is walking distance from the Hilton.

                1. re: Just Visiting

                  There are decent restaurants near MAX, but for some reason, not the pizza places mentioned. To figure out how to get somewhere using public transportation, try the TriMet website--it gives both MAX and bus options:

                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    If you can find a #14 bus stop downtown, it will take you up Hawthorne. At 34th is a Pho Van outpost and at around 48th is the one and only Apizza Scholls. Both are excellent!

                  1. re: lilfoodie

                    we have been to hotlips three times and its just not clicking with us. what to you recommend?

                    also, the service is a bit lacking. each time we have ordered food at the cash register we get the oddest attitude. i think thats why we continue to go back to scholls. still willing to give it another try....let me know what your favorite pizza mix is at hot lips.

                    i will say that the garlic bread is one of the most lethal ive ever had. its great! its more like garlic with some bread.

                    1. re: soilchem

                      I am not that into hot lips but I will tell you--if you dip your pizza into there house-made ranch it tastes much better!