Two Nights in PDX
OK, we have two nights..one late Friday night and Saturday.night.where to go, where to go? We really like ethnic, so we are thinking PokPok and Andina..any other votes? We also have 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches and would really like to try something interesting. Thanks for your tips!
I'll tell you the most exciting restaurant around town right now for me is TANUKI, a Japanese restaurant on NW 21st.
It's an izakaya, meaning it's Japanese pub food, but it's taken to a whole new level, in the same way Pok Pok does for Thai. I've been going once a week for the past month since she opened her small shop and it's never the same menu. She should be open for lunch.
Another solid choice in that neighborhood is BEWON for Korean. You'd typically have to go out to Beaverton to get good Korean, and while it's a little polished to match the neighborhood, the food is still top notch.
If you're staying downtown, you should try and make it to KARAM for Lebanese. Great falafel, great stews, great hummus.
Other than that, I've been regularly making stops at TAMBAYAN, which is a Filipino restaurant on SE Foster.
Vietnamese is probably Portland's best ethic strength. On the way to Tambayan is AN XUYEN, a great Vietnamese bakery where you can get a banh mi sandwich for like $3.
Speaking of Vietnamese, pho is traditionally a breakfast item, and you'll find all the authentic places open at 9am. My favorite is PHO OREGON on 82nd.
And right by Fubonn on 82nd is BANH CUON TAN DINH, serving lots of rice-flour based dishes. You can see more of a recent outing to BCTD here on my blog:
Staying on 82nd, if you've had lots of pho and want to take the next step, try the signature dish at BUN BO HUE. It's still a bowl of soup, but it's a whole new spectrum of flavors; it's spicier and funkier, but also more aromatic. (And it uses vermicelli, which will put your chopstick skills to the test.)
Just had a meal at Tanuki yesterday. The restaurant setup is still a little rough around the edges but the food was interesting and delicious! We had chicken gyoza, marinated duck wings and the Osaka griddle cake with bay shrimp. I tried a drinking vinegar with apple juice and it was good. I like the tap water flavored with lemon, cucumber and celery. My only complaint is I really needed a wet wipe after eating the duck wing, even after licking the delicious sauce off my fingers. And it is impossible to eat the griddle cake with chop sticks--the dish is stacked in layers and really needs knife and fork action.
I see what you mean about the okonomiyaki at Tanuki. Honestly, I just picked it up with my hands.
Other ethnic places that are waaay off the beaten path (even for locals, let alone tourists)
NGOC HAN BUN BO HUE, on SE Harrison and 82nd. Of course the signature dish there is good, but I'm also a big fan of their hu tieu noodles.
LA CATRINA, a taco truck on 82nd and Woodstock, I think. Awesome awesome tortas, great buche and cabeza tacos.
DANG'S THAI KITCHEN in Lake Oswego. Great khao soi, great massamun curry. People who are fans of Thai but don't want the super exotic stuff at Pok Pok should go here, as it's where you can get all the classics done very well.
pok pok is good. i would only go for a drink and have a few tapas at the bar at andina. i wouldn't do a full dinner. if you like tapas, toro bravo is really great....but get there really early like 4:45 if you want to get in on friday or sat. may be really late on friday is okay but expect a 45min wait. pambiche is really good cuban food and reasonable prices to beat.