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European visiting Portland

hi all! I will be in Portland over the holidays this year. I've never been there or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest as a matter of fact. I'd love to check out a few typically Portlandian (is that a word?) restaurants - could you guys make some recommendations? if there is another thread for this already, my apologies and please link me over there!
What I'm looking for in particular is mid-price, seasonal, authentic, unique food with really awesome ingredients and carefully thought out dishes! main requirement is that it is NOT Chinese or any kind of Asian food as a week later I will be heading there myself and I'd rather eat it while I'm in the area ;)
Thanks for any tips!

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573454
    There you will see our prolific comments on this question.

    What you want sounds as if it would describe countless places here. Have fun. Please report back!

    1. Portland centric would be Le Pigeon.

      But I'd also note that New Portland also has much to offer, in the way of Carlyle and Ten-01. They are two of my favorites with very remarkable food and great ambiance. Also very Pacific NW is Wildwood, maybe stop by for lunch, you could ride the very euro streetcar there. Made by Skoda in fact.

      If Sauce Supreme chimes in, take heed, typically thoughtful and spot on recommendations.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mallory

        Oh yeah, a very Portland thing is going to Apizza Scholls and standing in the rain to wait for a table. They don't take reservations but if you get there early you can get seated first, it means eating at 5pm, but it is very Portland.

        Also Toro Bravo is excellent.

        1. re: Mallory

          ...or you can go to Ken's Artisan Pizza, my favorite. Also well worth the wait. And also screams "Portland"!

      2. OK, Mr Resistor:
        I like Fife for local, and seasonal offerings, and since it specializes in American food it might be particularly appropriate if you're visiting from another country. Some others that are local and seasonal: Lincoln, Lovely Hula Hands, and Navarre.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Nettie

            We just ate at Lovely Hula Hands last weekend and it really was great-especially the arugula, date, parmesan salad and the dungeness crab with paprika butter (we only had appetizers). Their fruit-based cocktails are amazingly good, and prices are reasonable.

          2. Whatever you do, don't miss Paley's Place. I've been in Portland quite a lot the last two years, have eaten at many wonderful restaurants, but Paley's not only personifies Pacific Northwest cooking, but it is the most consistently excellent restaurant I tried, and I tried quite a few a number of times.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Tom P

              Paley's was awful, absolutely awful the one time I ate there. The food was unpalatable and the appetizer in particular was inedible. The service was sincere but inept. Nonetheless it was expensive. There are much better places to eat here. Nice setting. Grossly overrated. None of my foodie friends has bothered eating there in years. I can provide more details on request.

            2. "What I'm looking for in particular is mid-price, seasonal, authentic, unique food with really awesome ingredients and carefully thought out dishes!"

              Alba Osteria... Toro Bravo... Clyde Common... Ten01... Nostrana... Le Pigeon...
              Some of these might be a little higher end in price than you might be looking for, but I have no idea how hard a budgetary ceiling you have.

              1. One big thing in Portland these days is cocktails and mixed drinks. For the best of those, and great food as well, you'll want to consider Clyde Common and Ten01.

                4 Replies
                1. re: chefguy

                  if you are going to have a discussion about cocktails and mixed drinks(and I will gladly have one......), you cannot leave the place that does it like no one else in the city.....Teardrop Lounge! The Cocktail Trifecta that is Teardrop, Clyde Common and Ten01(Kelly is probably the single best bartender in town, no hyperbole here!) are all fine choices!

                  1. re: nkeane

                    Lucy Brennan at Mint/820 is also a cocktail master.

                    I would say local beer and wine are much more "Portland" than cocktails though! Try any of the brewpubs around town - Bridgeport, Deschutes, Henry's, Bailey's Tap Room, Laurelwood, Lompoc, Roots, Lucky Lab, etc....

                    1. re: downtownbrown

                      Actually, the cocktail wave is huge is very Portland. The New York Times wrote on Wednesday that "nine craft distilleries operate within the city limits of Portland, and it’s a point of pride for some bartenders there to fashion a drink around local spirits." Of all the bars recommended in their article on cocktails, three were in Oregon: Bel Ami in Eugene, and Clyde Common and Teardrop in Portland.

                      This is not to say that craft beers, pinot noir, and pinot gris are no longer Oregon specialties, but if you like cocktails, you'll want to hit at least one of the aforementioned places.

                      1. re: downtownbrown

                        to be fair, Lucy started the Portland cocktail scene and for that she is owed a large and deserved pile of gratitude!

                        That being said, the next generation of cocktails and cocktail alschemistists have arrived on the scene! they are doing things that even people in NY, Miami and Chicago have yet to see(save a place or two)! they are truly cutting edge

                  2. Screen Door is a big hit, it is southernish but very Portland too. Is the Saturday market still going? Wonderful biscuits with sausage gravy at a stand there, Basha's falafel is great. And the market is wonderful. For a quick eat, not to amaze you but to fill your tummy if perhaps you have a big dinner planned, would be a stop at one of the Laughing Planets. Totally Portland, sustainable, they even recycle foil, and the burritos are always delicious and fresh and satisfying. I like the black bean and spinach. Man does not live by fine dining alone.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: cbguivernau

                      By "Saturday market" let's be painfully specific, lest you be sorely disappointed.
                      The "Portland Saturday Market" is a a kraft fair that has little in the way of edible food.
                      cbguivernau hopefully means "Portland Farmers' Market", an entirely different creature. A definate must go! But its last day of the season is Dec. 20. There you'll find the biscuits mentioned. If you aren't here by then don't fret. Pine State Biscuits has a brick-and-mortar shop on SE 38th & Belmont.

                      1. re: cbguivernau

                        I certainly don't live by fine dining alone but I would not recommend Laughing Planet to a visitor traveling a great distance. If you're going to get a cheap burrito, at least get it from an actual taco truck.

                        The food carts off of SW 10th and Alder would be a better alternative to eating cheap while still rubbing elbows with locals. Lunch is always a cool mix of office workers, construction guys, and culinary students, and the breadth of options of the carts are staggering. There are other food cart zones around town (notably SE Hawthorne and 12th) but none would be as interesting for a visitor as 10th and Alder.

                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                          I agree with SauceSupreme. Unless you're a hardcore vegetarian/hippie, I probably would say to pass on Laughing Planet.

                          I went once and it was fun, but I wouldn't take a guest/friend there unless they fit into the description above :)

                          Old Town Pizza is an interesting experience. The decor isn't very Portland, but the culture of how your food gets served is pretty cool.

                          Also - make sure you have Stumptown coffee. :) Portland people love their coffee!

                          1. re: TThea

                            Also agree with SS.

                            Here's the food cart site:
                            Carts not to miss at SW Alder/9th: Spella Coffee, & Sugar Cube for baked on-site sweets!

                          2. re: SauceSupreme

                            +1 on Laughing Planet being overrated hippie fare.

                            The best burrito in town (in this humble burrito expert's opinion) can be had at Lindo Michoacan, a burrito cart at the corner of 33rd (or so) and Division. Across the street from Lauro.

                            The Chorizo burrito is my favorite. $4!

                        2. Anytime I see a question about Portland restaurants, I have to push for Park Kitchen. It is completely delightful and fits your objectives perfectly!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lisa329

                            I think that used to be true, but based my last visits there during the summer everything from quality to service has dipped below what is acceptable. Are they back on track these days? It'd be nice if they were, I used to really enjoy Park Kitchen

                          2. Lots of great suggestions...my vote goes to Park Kitchen and Navarre.

                            1. hi guys! i appreciate all your replies SO much! unfortunately because of the crappy weather here in portland i haven't had a chance to really get out of the house much at all, so i think today will be the first day i can actually visit the city. will report back after this weekend! :)