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Heading to Portland and looking for a good place for dinner on a Friday night

alexandra20001 Feb 20, 2008 06:30 AM

Hello Portland Foodies - I am headed to Portland and know nothing about the restaurants in town. Can someone make a recommendation? I was not planning to pack too fancy, so great food with a casual atmosphere would be ideal. Thanks.

  1. JillO Feb 20, 2008 07:57 AM

    How about a bit more info?

    Kind of food, price range, what part of town...what are you looking for? Refuse to wait/don't mind waiting? Going alone? Hate communal seating?

    If you have time look at some similar postings and ask us questions...

    Help us help you!

    1. n
      Nettie Feb 20, 2008 10:16 AM

      Portland isn't a very formal town, so it would be easier to name the restaurants with great food that AREN'T casual. I'm thinking that if I showed up in a tshirt and jeans at Bluehour, Sel Gris, and Carlyle I wouldn't feel very comfortable. On the other hand, I would feel very much at home at Clyde Commons, for example. CC would be a good bet for downtown, but if you're willing to go to other parts of the city there are many options: Le Pigeon, Biwa, Toro Bravo, Ken's Artisan Pizza, Apizza Scholls, and Nostrana all have great food with a pretty casual atmosphere. Most of these places are going to be plenty busy on a Friday night, though.

      1. a
        alexandra20001 Feb 20, 2008 10:44 AM

        JillO - You ask good questions. I would like to do something that is unique to Portland - not what I can get in DC. Price is not an issue, but dress is. A good wine list is a serious desire, though. We are open to all sorts of cuisines. A good wine list might actually be the highest criteria.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alexandra20001
          Roy Feb 20, 2008 12:11 PM

          Many of the restaurants listed above focus on fresh local ingredients and are great suggestions. I'd add Whiskey Soda Lounge (Pok Pok Thai) to the list. Most all don't take reservations and will be busy on Fri night.

          I had dinner last night at Plainfield's Mayur an upscale (but not too dressy) Indian restaurant. They have a huge wine list - 6 legal pages long.

          If you're more interested in a Pacific Northwest oriented menu Wildwood or Higgins may be good choices.

          Don't worry too much about dress. I spent 17 years in Fairfax before moving here in 2003 and I can assure you that Portland is by and large much more casual than the DC area.

        2. d
          duck833 Feb 20, 2008 12:39 PM

          NW unique:

          1. Wildwood
          2. Jake's Crawfish
          3. Sel Gris

          1. SauceSupreme Feb 20, 2008 01:36 PM

            Casual attire is the norm. Even at Sel Gris, I've been there wearing a hoodie and jeans while eating foie gras and sipping on bubbly.

            I love Le Pigeon, and it's certainly a casual atmosphere with Chef Rucker at the helm. Le Pigeon has a distinct Portland feel where, you may be able to get comparable food and service elsewhere, but the vibe is quite unique. I've been quoted as high as a half-hour wait as a walk-in (the space is small), so make sure you call in advance and make a reservation for a spot at the bar.

            I like Ten-01 as a Friday night spot, too. Great food, great people watching, awesome cocktails and a stellar wine list, even the ones poured by the glass. You can see the menu (in PDF) on their website. Its central spot also makes it easy to head to other destinations.

            Ultimately, the spot where you're most likely to find me on a Friday night is Clyde Common. Love those salt cod croquettes!




            2 Replies
            1. re: SauceSupreme
              porky pine Feb 20, 2008 01:44 PM

              A good place that I like to go for appetizers and wine is Noble Rot. They usually have a good flight of Oregon wines made by small producers that might be difficult to sample in DC. Their food is good and it located in darkly lit, funky space I like as well.

              1. re: porky pine
                Nettie Feb 20, 2008 02:18 PM

                I also like Navarre in the same neighborhood as Noble Rot (they're less than three blocks apart). Both Navarre and Noble Rot have small plates of food and a lot of wines by the glass, so you could probably hit both of them if you want variety.
                You can find a review of Noble Rot with a menu here: http://www.portlandfoodanddrink.com/?...
                I don't see a menu for Navarre online, however.

            2. m
              MichaelG Feb 21, 2008 07:09 AM

              Just go to Le Pigeon. Or, make a reservation at Paley's Place, if you can get one. As long as you're not in a t-shirt you'll be fine. These two are both distinctively Portland, and offer some of the best food and wine you'll find anywhere in the USA!

              1. JillO Feb 21, 2008 08:03 AM

                Don't know where you will be staying and if you will have a car...so here are some recs all over.

                If price is not an issue and a good wine list is what you seek, I'd go with Sel Gris, Carlyle, ten-01, Wildwood. You can show up to any of these dressed neatly in jeans...which is true almost anywhere around here. ten-01 also has a great happy hour and they make fabulous cocktails there as well as having good food and a good wine list. Sel Gris is great food, awesome service and some of the best desserts along with a good wine list (with good prices). Carlyle is a bit off the beaten track but the food and cocktails are great and the wine list is good.

                Le Pigeon, as I recall, does not have a great wine list, but it is a good choice for a meal with local flavor. They, and also Clyde Common, do communal seating (though Clyde Common, which is in the Ace Hotel, does have some smaller tables upstairs that are not communal) so if that is not what you are looking for, be warned.

                Awesome food and a decent wine list can be found at Toro Bravo, a fun place to share tapas plates. This is a bit off the beaten path from downtown, though.

                If a great rice wine list is what you are looking for, and you like izakaya style food, biwa is a great choice for something different. Very good food, great sake list (which includes some interesting flights).

                For trying local wine alone (not really a place to eat), if you can't get out to wine country, go to Oregon Wines on Broadway (downtown): http://www.oregonwinesonbroadway.com/

                Search some other threads with recs, look at some menus online, and come back and ask some specific questions and we will be happy to guide you!

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