Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Apr 13, 2008 02:38 PM

Planning trip to OR - need recs!!

My hubby and I are going to Portland, Newport and the Wilamette Valley in June. I would love restaurant recs for each area, if possible. I would say all types of food, especially little hole in the walls that locals love to frequent. Thanks so much for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. - You will see every aspect of Portland at this well known donut shop. It is the place to go later in the evening for the best donuts in the world and people watching!

    If you love Thai then stop by Pok Pok. It is a small street vendor that grew into a small restaurant. - This is also a local favorite "hole in the wall".

    Oddly enough, Portland has great soul food. The Delta Cafe is in the Woodstock neighborhood and only accepts cash or check. Decorated in garage sale chic, it is awesome!

    Finally, if you want a little nicer place to go, try Le Pigeon ( The food is innovative and typical of the growing Portland food scene; the atmosphere is also typical Portland in that it is gourmet food in a casual atmosphere.


    5 Replies
    1. re: honeybeepdx

      I had perhaps the best meal of my life at Le Pigeon. Although I was at first a bit wary of the communal tables, they turned out to be great!

      1. re: teach

        The best seats at Le Pigeon are at the bar, watching Chef Gabe Rucker and his sous chef on the line.

        1. re: SauceSupreme

          I, too, had an excellent meal at Le Pigeon. I was just there about two weeks ago. If they have the scallops app (it had a green puree underneath; fava beans? I can't recall), I would highly recommend it!

        2. re: teach

          I hear such great things about Le Pigeon but won't set foot in there as long as they serve Foie Gras. I love an amazing meal as much as the next person, try Ten-01, they took Foie Gras off their menu!

          1. re: bhrigid

            no they didnt. its there, and in a lot of other places you probably eat. If you dont like Foie just dont order it. simple.

      2. honeybeepdx has done you right. one more recommendation would be some great local pizza. a pizza lunch was one of my favorite meals on the last visit. flying pie, old town, dante, hot lips all get raves.

        8 Replies
        1. re: zoogrrrl

          If we're talking pizza, then you've also got to mention Apizza Scholls and Ken's Artisan Pizza, if only so you can compare it with Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.

          You'll also find a pho shop around almost every corner, and so if you've never had Vietnamese food, that'd be a good way to start. My favorites are all on the eastside, close to 82nd.

          1. re: zoogrrrl

            What was the pizza place that Bourdain visited in Portland? Is it worth a damn?

            1. re: EJC

              Don't know don't care. But two incredible places, either would be worth a PDX trip alone, are Apizza Scholls & Ken's Artisan Pizza.

              1. re: Leonardo

                Looks like it was Apizza Scholls ...

                1. re: EJC

                  It was definitely Scholls. The chef sometimes posts here on the board.

                  The Bourdain Pacific NW episode didn't spend much time in Portland restaurants (he covered Apizza Scholls and Voodoo) but all in all I thought it captured the funkiness of the service industry scene.

                  There are certainly elegant and refined sides to Portland restaurants as well, but it's edited for television. And if it gets people to want to travel to Portland, then it did its job.

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Yes, it was Apizza Scholls, and yes, it is worth visiting. It's been quite a while since I've seen a posting from Brian Spangler on this board; I think he (like most of the other long-time posters) has moved over the (see, for example

                    That AB episode really bugged me because he spent so much time on that dang Portland Underground tour, which was a total waste. He certainly could have skipped that and gone to other restaurants instead (especially as he did have footage from le Pigeon--I think they had a shot of Gabe's pigeon tattoo in the promos). Then a few weeks ago we caught the Portland episode of that odious Rachel Ray show, and SHE went on the Portland Underground tour! We thought that maybe they used the same footage for both shows.

                    1. re: Nettie

                      I agree...what a waste of tape, with so many outstanding & unique places here.
                      And that whole underground "Shanghai-ing" (kidnapping) tunnel tour is a fraud...there is no credible historical documentation of it.

                      1. re: Leonardo

                        The Seattle Underground is far more fascinating (they built the city twice, one on top of the other) but I guess it all depends on who their local "fixer" is.

                        Insomniac with Dave Attell did a Portland episode, and at least that allowed you too see a bunch of local bars as well as other, um, establishments with no minors allowed.

          2. Here's a little secret hole in the wall, perhaps not so secret after write-ups in roadfood, NY Times, and AMEX's magazine: Sahagun Chocolates. Handmade artisan chocolates and drinks lovingly made of single origin ultra high quality chocolate. They use Stumptown Coffee, Portland's (and one of the nation's) finest roasters.
            What do you mean by Willamette Valley? It's a vast area. Are you going to wine country, and if so, which part of it?
            Don't miss Portland Farmers' Market.

            Have fun. Ask more specific questions. And please report back!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Leonardo

              We're staying in McMinville. THe B&B we're staying recommended Bistro Maison for dinner - we're going to celebrate our anniversary. We're going to be in that general area - Neuburg as well.

              1. re: Heyteacher

                Bistro Maison is very good. The chef is French and his wife is usually making the rounds/waiting tables. Their Coq au Vin is great and so are his pork rillettes (I love the charcuterie plate). Actually, I don't think I've had a bad meal there. He makes a point of using local ingredients too - which should be a treat in June. For breakfast in McMinnville, I'd recommend Crescent Cafe- you might have to wait but they are worth it. If you're staying a couple of nights, two other spots for dinner would be Nick's Italian Cafe (don't let the unassuming storefront discourage you) and Joel Palmer House if you're a mushroom/truffle fan.

                1. re: Sushiqueen36

                  I also recommend La Rambla for Tapas in McMinville.

                  1. re: sophiamaria

                    Yep- La Rambla is another great option! They are also open for lunch daily so maybe that would be a good time to try them out. The others aren't.

            2. Pastini's is a great Italian restaurant in Portland. The atmosphere is cozy & the waitstaff are great. The menu is authentic Italian, with an extensive wine list and their prices are very reasonable. It's one of my favorites!

              Pastini Pastaria
              1426 NE Broadway, Portland, OR

              2 Replies
              1. re: 2Wicky

                Surely you a joking. Pastini is not authentic anything, not even New Jersey Italian.
                I was there last week. The mussels were off, meaning I feared for my life were I to have eaten more than one. My date had linguini with chicken which was not close to being fresh. Yech. Cheap it is, and you get what you pay for.

                Everyone else's picks are great. For Viet try Banh Cuon Tan Dinh on 2850 SE 82nd, just south of Division. The real deal. And you'll be the only tourist!

                Whatever you do, don't eat at Pizza Schmizza, a local chain. Simply awful.

                Try this for ideas:

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Pastini works for me because the dishes are wonderful and the price point is quite reasonable....I think around 8-10 bucks if memory serves me. I have not had a bad meal there and I love the is affordable and good too, something like 5 dollars for a glass of Sangiovese. I also like the 3 cheese ravioli, plus they have a wonderful bolognese sauce that is even better than mine! Come to think of it, the carbonara is better than mine, too! The salads are good, we always have the bistro salad and share it. Service is always very friendly, the atmosphere is nice and the food comes pretty quick. They seem to be growing, there are stores on: 23rd, Division; Broadway; Downtown and Bridgepart as far as I know. Oh yeah, I like the tiramisu too.
                  Oh, and I agree with Leonardo on Pizza Schmizza, it seems overpriced for some pretty bad pizza. The store in Wilsonville looks like it's going out of biz and the staff is scary.

              2. The Oregon Coast ain't no great shakes--you might try Blackfish Cafe in Lincoln City or Tidal Raves in Depot Bay--nice view!

                2 Replies
                1. re: portpig

                  Try the Drift Inn in Yachats - good pub type atmosphere - best razor clams I've had in a long time - decent wines - live music

                  1. re: portpig

                    I'll second the vote for Tidal Raves, but we were kind of disappointed at Blackfish. Perhaps our expectations were too high there.