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Saturday Night in Portland for PHX Chowhound

I am going to be in Portland in a month or so. A group of friends (all male, 30ish, mostly married) and I need a nice place to eat, money is not really an object.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. The wine bars and brew pubs are obviously great (unless you're talking about Portland, Me., in which case just the brew pubs are great). Bridgeport's cask-conditioned IPA is about the best beer I've ever had. And the Kobe burger at Rogue is (like the beer) not to be missed. Jake's Grill (an M&S restaurant) in the Governor Hotel serves excellent married-thirtysomething fare.

    1. Why don't you tell us what kinds of things you like to eat, and what constitutes "nice"?

      Suggestion: spend a few minutes going over reports from other visitors over the past month, tell us what you are looking for, and ask about specific places you read about.

      You could go to a McCormick & Schmick (M & S) restaurant anywhere in the country, so if you want uniform predictability, go to Jake's.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Leonardo

        I certainly understanding that my post didn't contain a lot of information. I apologize for this. What tends to happen in these get togethers is that I try to convince the other guys to try something interesting. A few of the guys in the group are not that gastronomically adventurous, so I tend to compromise, or default to a local Steakhouse. What I would like to try is something uniquely "Portland". I certainly want to avoid any chains.

        1. re: Random987

          Thanks for clarifying--that's very helpful. For occasions like this, I like Fife--it has meat and potatoes for the non-adventurous eaters, but it's still interesting for foodies. They're pretty committed to local, organic food, which is typical of Portland. Website: http://www.fiferestaurant.com

          I disagree with the brewpubs being great--they might have great beer, but Portland is sadly lacking a brewpub with really good food.

      2. If you end up at a steakhouse, El Gaucho's is somewhat local (one other location in Seattle) but excellent. Le Pigeon would be looking itnto as well, particularly if they would take a reservation.

        1. I was in Portland last week and had dinner at Le Pigeon. I really enjoyed it. You guys could probably all fit at one table (it's a family style seating situation).
          Lots of delicious and unusual options. The dessert, however, was the stand out. Maple ice cream, atop a hunk of apricot cornbread, sprinkled with smoked bacon. Yowza.

          1 Reply
          1. re: paternite

            Only problem for you guys might be that they don't serve hard liquor...or do they?

          2. While I don't think Le Pigeon has hard liquor, it's a short walk from there to Ron Toms, a really cool bar on Burnside. It's easier to start classy, though I should point out that while Le Pigeon is certainly one of PDX's most celebrated spots serving top-notch faire, it's not stuffy in the least.

            In fact, if you can arrange to have all of you sitting at the bar, you'll get to watch Chef Rucker work his magic since you're sitting right on his station. I think that sort of proximity to the food might even help the less-adventurous in your group to open up a little.

            Here's the NY Times article that came out last summer, talking about the Portland food scene. Le Pigeon is the headlining picture. You can see that the right side of the bar in the picture are table-settings, and the left side of the bar is where the chefs are working.


              1. Biwa is great, but it takes a little adventurousness to give it a shot. It depends on the OP's boys and whether they'd be willing to try something a bit out on a limb.

                Why not just go get the bar food at somewhere like RonToms? Or Noble Rot is another "come for the drinks, stay to learn about food" joint. Ken's Artisan Pizza or Apizza Scholls should make everyone happy, foodie and grubber alike.

                I got one of the best burgers I've ever eaten at the bar at the Veritable Quandary. I also think Dan and Louis' Oyster Bar can satisfy people with a pretty broad range of tastes. I figure the best situation for the OP is a cozy, friendly bar that also serves some top-notch food, and those aren't hard to find in Portland. Full Sail seems to have a bar downtown, near the river, and the menu looks lovely though I haven't eaten there. The Laurelwood can feed everyone from toddlers to...well, me, and I love both macaroni and cheese and a great fish dish. They've also got locations all over town. Any other recs for pub food that satisfies foodie sorts?

                1 Reply
                1. re: lpfaf

                  I beg to differ on Laurelwood--I think the food there ranges from mediocre to bad (I had just about the worst fish and chips of my life in their northwest location, and I don't think it's asking too much of a brewpub that they not screw up fish and chips). Besides, the OP asked for "a nice place to eat, money is not really an object"--I don't think Laurelwood is quite what he's looking for.