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Your hidden gems in SW PDX?

We have recently relocated to PDX from New Orleans, and are living in SW, near PCC. Would appreciate your recs for "hidden gems" in the neighborhood, places we can become "regulars". All cuisines welcomed. Close-by, is the key. Thanks, 'hounds.

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  1. La Provence on SW Boones Ferry was good last I was there, but it was a while ago. They had a prix fixe dinner deal that was a good deal, don't know if they still do.


    1. Definitely check out the Barbur Foods grocery at the corner of Capitol Hwy and Barbur for their middle eastern deli section. Killer lamb shank, fresh-baked pitas, hummous, etc.

      Alba's, in Hillsdale, is one of the best restaurants in Portland, and you can actually eat there reasonably if you avoid the Barolos and fancier dishes.

      1. I like Salvador Molly's...the food is pretty fun and it's a 3 block walk from my parents house, so we go a lot when I visit them. It's in Hillsdale next to the library. (www.salvadormollys.com)

        1. Living in the same general neighborhood, I look forward to the answers you receive. My own thoughts/experiences are thus: Alba Osteria offers excellent Italian dishes, very well prepared. Though not cheap, it is very fine cooking, excellent Italian wine list, and elegantly relaxed atmosphere. O'Connor's in Multnomah Village is interesting. It is not "fine dining" and many of the dishes can be clunky . . . but that said, their nightly specials (which can run to 6 or 7 items) can be quite interesting; emphasis is on spicy and somewhat heavy preparations, and some miss the mark while others can be surprisingly good. I am not much of a fan of Salvador Molly's: great place for a party or loud time, but don't look for much in the way of memorable food. There are a lot of places in Lake Oswego that have pretensions at fine dining; the only one I can recommend from personal experience is Tucci. Manzana Rotisserie is very popular, but I won't be back myself. Don't know exactly why there are so few good places in SW . . . there must be more that I just don't know about!

          1. To me Sal. Molly's is hit or miss. I've had a good meal, but I've also had undercooked chicken there...ouch!

            I second O'Connor's. Basic cooking - no frills, nothing will blow your mind, but the beer is plentiful and cold and the house salad that comes with the dinners also hits the spot.

            1. There is a really good Japanese restaurant in Tigard in the old part of downtown Tigard called Maki. Have you heard about Three Square in Hillsdale? It is also very good. It is comfort food with a somewhat southern influence. They are open seven nights a week now.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mcarms

                I don't really agree about Three Square Grill...I want to like it, but all 3 times I went, the food was bland and the service was rude. Maybe I was just unlucky.

                1. re: cate_cooks

                  Since I have had the same experience at Three Square Grill (have gone a few times, mediocre food and service every time), I am afraid that you weren't just unlucky. It's close to where I live and I really want to like it too (ditto Seasons and Regions, which similarly sucks), but I won't be back.

              2. So far, we tried, "Walter Mittys", which is bar food, ok, nothing special. The Old Barn, bar food also, no reason to return ever for any reason. Chopsticks, on Capitol Hwy, pretty good. I have gone into Barbur Foods a couple times, what a bizarre collection of grocries. They tend to have what I don't need, and not have what I do need, but the produce and breads are ok. Thanks for your recs. I will be checking them out. My best meal so far in Portland has been Caffe Mingo on NW 21st. We had brunch @ Mother's, and I don't see what the fuss there is all about. Too spendy, too crowded.

                1. Based on the past places you tried, you may like O'Connor's in Multnomah or Pepper Tree for Thai on Beaverton Hillsdale in Raleigh Hills. Good luck and God Speed.

                  1. Original Pancake House on Barbur is always good. Simple breakfast foods. Dont let the line scare you off it moves pretty quick if you're not in a group bigger than 4.
                    O'Conners has great breakfast. I've been for lunch twice and thought it was good too, but the service was really slow and it wasnt busy at all.
                    Shanghi Noble House on Macadam is great for Chinese. They are fast with your food, and its consistently good. There is a place next to it in the same building called Billy Bangs that I wanted to love because of the charming outdoor seating (yeah, it was summer), but the food was ok at best, & the service. Let's not get me started on that. If someone else had a different experience I'd love to know and might consider trying it again.
                    Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille on SW Carolina right off Macadam. I could just about drink their fantastic teriyaki sauce!
                    Marco's in Multnomah Village great breakfast
                    If you're looking for crazy strong drinks and bar food go to Tryon Creek Grill on Terwilleger. They have pool, darts and video game golf.
                    McMenamins has pub food and good mico brews as well as a couple descent wines. I recommend the hummus plate.
                    I've only had Salvadore Mollys artichoke & feta tamale at the farmers market, but LOVE it.
                    If you have kids (or not, but expect kinda loud) there is a great kid place called Peanut Butter & Ellies on Vermont right across from the Southwest Community Center.
                    Macadams Bar & Grill (on Macadam) has live music and a separate bar. My favs are the portabello burger with pear cole slaw and the black and blue salad.
                    Norms Garden on barbur (across from KFC)has a cheap lunch special as well as a lunch buffet both can be to go. They also have a drive thru if you call ahead. My favs are the sauteed green beans or lemon chicken on lunch special or the mu shoo pork for dinner.
                    Burlingame Pizza inside the Uncle Johns market is fantastic especially if you like something other than hawaiian or pepperoni! They have pizza by the slice and by the pie.
                    Humdinger across from Safeway on barbur has great shakes/malts and good diner stuff like burgers and chicken strips. If you need a swirl cone...go here!
                    last one
                    Chez Jose is kinda hit or miss (terwilliger/Taylors Ferry) but they have good chips & salsa & margaritas. Almost always busy. The store next door, while expensive, has some good stuff. The bakery has a black & white cake to knock your socks off. I dont care much for chocolate so that says something. I think.

                    1. there is a little place in multnomah village i liked. i forget the name but it was near the coffee house and serves many types of wine. Good for apps and wine at the very least.

                      Grand central is nothing too fabulous, but a standard place to get a cheap and tasty breakfast or baked bread. You should really try the fresh pita at barbur foods--it is awesome and so cheap. the same guy owns ya hala--my favorite lebanese resaurant in town.

                      good luck!

                      1. Have you tried Jopa on Beaverton Hillsdale Hiway? My favorite.
                        I have to agree with all of you about 3 Square. The service is so bad. I think you have to know the servers/owners to get decent service.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: oregongirl

                          What do you like about JoPa?

                          My last meal there was awful, but if you have recs, I might be tempted to try again...

                        2. I second the Alba rec. It depends how far of a trip in SW you're talking but a few other pix in the slim pix are:

                          Hakatamon (in Beaverton, adjoining Uwajimaya. Highly rec.)
                          Yuzu (izakaya restaurant in..Beaverton. Tiny little spot, really nice couple who run it, food is traditional and delicious)
                          Chennai Masala: a bit of a trek, but worth it. Incredible Indian food (get the ghee dosa)
                          New York New York Pizza (on Barbur Blvd. not too far from you. Some decent NY style pizza for a fix)
                          I liked 3 Square when they offered breakfast (they're shrimp and grits was tasty)...but they closed for breakfast. I did hear a rumor that they may open again for Sunday breakfast, which I would try if I were you if it's indeed the case.
                          SW Downtown:
                          Carafe: solid French bistro food, great wine list, great service
                          Murata Restaurant, right next to Carafe (both on Market, S. side, across from Kellar Auditorium)..excellent Japanese food
                          Higgins (I prefer eating in the bar)
                          The Heathman (an old standby, great bar and happy hour too)
                          Pazzo (inventive Italian, skilled chef to pull it off)
                          Clyde Common (excellent, inventive food and cocktails, great ambience)
                          Veritable Quandry (love this old restaurant, food is pretty good, at least solid)