Affordable Awesome in PDX?
Okay, I'm sure this topic gets addressed at least monthly, but there are so many topics to wade through that I'll never find it, so I'd love folks' help on this:
What is your absolute favorite combination of stellar food and won't-make-me-commit-harakiri prices in Portland? I'm taking the new boyfriend (who seriously appreciates good food) out for his birthday, and while I'm not looking for ultra-cheap, I don't want to pay Paley's Place prices for a guy until I know he's going to last, you know? He's only been in Portland a couple of years, so either old-skool or latest-hot-thing could be equally novel and exciting. For reference, we did the bar menu (not the dinner menu) at Higgins for my birthday last month.
Toro Bravo has fantastic food at great prices. It's a great value for the food you get. Small plates so you can order as much or as little as you want. They don't take reservations and it gets very crowded (though you can always go up tot he Secret Society Ballroom for a drink while you wait).
The place that I think has the best food a reasonable price is Clyde Common--and during happy hour you can do even better there.
I've only been there once, but I thought Firehouse on NE Dekum had pretty fair prices for their food. I was pretty happy with the food I got there, but it's not quite as exciting for me as Clyde Common.
You can see the menus (with prices!) for these places here: http://pfmenus.com/
Quote: What is your absolute favorite combination of stellar food and won't-make-me-commit-harakiri prices in Portland?
Here's a couple of places that we like when our wallets are feeling flat but when we want to eat well:
http://www.vindalho.com/ Interesting food and drinks, we like to sit at the bar and peoplewatch
Country Cat: I'd call it Northwestern soul food. The chef use to be at Wildwood and this place is his own spin on regional food/comfort classics modernized. Not exactly cheap, but not quite as pricey as Higgins, Paley's or Wildwood.
And I second the opinion of JillO about Toro Bravo. We've had scads of great meals there.
You might also see if you like the look of Tabla on NE 28th. On certain days they do a prix fix dinner that is about $24-25.
Agree with previous recommendations: Toro Bravo, Vindalho, Country Cat and Biwa. You might also consider Fife on NE Freemont. Marco Shaw (Chef/Owner) does a great job sourcing and preparing foods from growers, ranchers yada yada locally. Prices for entree's are generally in the $18-$22 range and almost always include a Vegetarian option, Poultry (currently I believe both duck AND chicken), Buffalo, etc.. with seasonally appropriate vege's and greens.
4440 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213
The Ringside is a great birthday place and their happy hour menu prices are amazing. If you can come in late enough for the HH (I think it starts at 9), this might just be your ticket.
I agree with the suggesstions for Toro Bravo and Clyde Common for newer restaurants that are great. I've been to both several times and never had a less than great experience. Toro Bravo will tell you they have an hour plus wait but don't let it scare you, it never takes that long. Clyde Common's happy hour is one of the best in town, which could save $$.
One older place that I love to visit, especially in the winter is Gino's in Sellwood. The food is great and I like the atmosphere (especially the bar). It does get busy so be prepared to wait but I think it's worth it.
Clyde Commons is a great rec, but try Le Pigeon. I eat there often, and menu prices range from $9- mid $20s. The wine prices are a little on the steep side, but the food is, in my opinion, the best in PDX.