Restaurant Recommendations for Portland, OR
5 of us are planning our first visit to Portland at the end of the month and will be staying in a hotel on Oak Street. I have been searching the board for good restaurants for dinner, but there seem to be an overwhelming list of them. For our first night, we plan to explore the city within the walking distance of our hotel. What would you recommend in the area near Oak Street?
One of the restaurants that we came across is Todai. Is the buffet worth it?
So I'm back from my trip and would like to share with you all the places that we ended up going.
For dinner, we went to Dan & Louis' Oyster Bar. We were going to go for Happy Hour, but they couldn't seat us in the bar area that offers the happy hour. Since it was 530 already, we decided to just stay for dinner on the restaurant side. As appetizers, the group of us shared a dozen of oysters on half shell. It tasted really fresh. I can only comment that much since it's my first time having fresh oysters. I had a broiled version of mixed seafood ( you can choose to have fried) with with lemon, white wine and maitred' butter. It was a rather generous portion and i don't think I could finish it on my own ever. So I'd say this one is a place worth visiting.
For lunch the next day, we were going to try for Chef Naoko. Sadly, it was closed for the day due a large catering order. Boo! We ended up having McD's cuz we were on our way to Woodburn.
Dinner @ Toro Bravo. Best Spanish food ever. We ordered bread&butter with olive oil (it's alright, but good compliment to the spicy food we ordered), Seared Scallops with romesco (thumbs up!), Squid Ink Pasta with hazelnuts, anchovy syrup & egg yolk (it was an interesting flavoured...wasn't what i had expected though). Overall, I think it's definitely worth trying. The flavours were really rich for me though since I'm more of a light eater, the kind of person that doesn't like to add too much salt & pepper to my meals. But my other friends definitely loved it!
Hey overseastar - I've been eating my way from Portland to Vancouver (I just arrived in Vancouver today). When I actually have some time, I'll post my experiences (all good), as I think we're from the same Albertan vicinity...
My thread is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/625251
In short - Toro Bravo, Pok Pok and Screen Door has stuff you just won't see where we're from (not mention the hot chocolate from Sahagun) - I'll try to post later this week when I have time to upload some photos as well if you aren't going till the end of the month...
For walking distance (from, I assume, the Marriott on SW Oak), I'd say:
Davis St. Tavern (great drinks, food and happy hour)
Clyde Common (great drinks and food)
Kenny & Zuke's (Jewish-style deli - awesome pastrami, open for B & L as well as D) Dan & Louis (old time Portland Oyster Bar - nice for an oyster happy hour stop)
ten-01 (great happy hour food and drink)
Karam (terrific Lebanese)
Oh, and Pok Pok's sister restaurant, Ping is walking distance too...
If you are into craft beer, there's Bailey's Taproom (but there's little to no food there).
If you are looking for local wines, there's OR Wines on Broadway (very little food here too).
I adore Toro Bravo and Tabla and the rest, but if you only want to walk to places, you would be doing just fine.
I just had a fantastic meal at Clyde Common last night. Great drinks, great food (with smaller portion size options as well, if you're the types that like to order a bunch of food and share). Ten01 is strong as well, if you want something a little classier.
Heading to the east side, these days I've been hunkering down at Beaker & Flask quite a bit, which has excellent food options to go with stellar cocktails. I'm also a fan of Pok Pok for Thai, whose chef was recently featured on the Today show.
And another restaurant that always gets mentioned in the discussion of Portland's top 3 restaurants would be one of my favorites, Toro Bravo. The tasting menu is an excellent way to go if you can't quite decide what to get off of their voluminous menu. Upstairs from Toro Bravo is a great bar with a speakeasy feel to it, Secret Society. That's a nice place to go while you're waiting for your table at Toro Bravo to come up; I just leave my cell phone number with the host downstairs.
Todai is just terrible, an overpriced waste. Was that reviewed on Chowhound?
That aside, why on earth would you come to Portland and eat at a chain? We have so many outstanding and unique locally-owned and operated places.
Downtown Portland is highly walkable and mostly flat. Remember that blocks are half the size of most cities'. Review past threads about hints for downtown visitors and it all applies to you, being very central and easily accessible to all the top places mentioned.
Which places caught your eye? What kind of food do you like? What is your budget?
Didn't see Todai in any of the posts in this board, but came across it while googling it, didn't even realize it's a chain. But thanks for the heads-up on that one :)
We are coming from Alberta, so we wouldn't be aiming for steaks. We would definitely be aiming for locally-owned restaurants. As our first night in Portland, probably something not too heavy since we will be arriving in the afternoon. Second night is wide open for suggestions. Budget-wise anything under $35 per person would be reasonable for us.
The ones that I've came across on this board that catches my eye include:
Toro Bravo, Pok Pok, Tabla, Chef Naoko Bento Cafe (lunch only), and Tanuki.
All of those are my favorites! It all depends on what you call walking distance. Do you have a car?
Chef Naoko is less than a 15 minute walk from hotel, or you can take the streetcar for free on 11th.
Pok Pok would take about an hour to walk, but there's an easy bus ride on the #4, catch it on 5th Ave. Well worth it!
TB is a universal favorite of both locals and visitors. That would be quite a walk too but bus goes there.
Tanuki is walkable but is uphill. Or get the #17 on 6th. It is a true bar in that no one under 21 admitted. It is tiny, so be prepared to wait if you come at a peak time with a party of 5.
Tabla is also easily accessible by the 19 or 20 bus. It is on NE 28th which is one of our premier restaurant streets. Also there are Alma Chocolates, Staccato Gelato, Pambiche, and Ken's Artisan Pizza.
So in other words, most of the interesting worthwhile food is out of downtown. For dinner near your hotel all I'd recommend would be Ten 01, Karam, Kenny & Zuke's, and Typhoon.
You are awesome! That definitely helps us with picking out where to go. We don't ahve a car, so any places less than an hr would be reasonable for us since we plan to "explore" the city along the way. I've checked out Ten01 previously and as i remember, it was a little pricey. But Kenny & Zuke's might make it to our lunch list :)
Thanks a lottt!!!
Clyde is a great idea. They and Ten 01 have worthwhile happy hours for the price conscious such as I.
Here's a good HH guide. Close to your hotel are downtown, pearl, and old town.
Here's the public transportation. It's excellent by US standards and free within downtown. If you will be knocking about all day beyond downtown, best to buy an all-day pass. Our other outstanding food streets would be Alberta & Division, both more in the bus realm as far as getting there.
I had the opportunity to eating at Kenny & Zuke's and Bo Restobar on our last trip to Portland last weekend. The pastrami hash is very good for breakfast. Being on the dry and lean side, I wondered if the pastrami would be good enough for a great pastrami sandwich. The best kinds are fatty and moist, like they are in NYC and, on the West Coast, at Johnnie's in LA. Bo's is run/owned by the same at Typhoon. In fact, they are right next door to each other. The food there is more Asian fusion. The small plates we had were inventively prepared, some good, others unremarkable. My recommendations: Seafood Cigars and Paper Moons. Be sure to check out all the food stands in the downtown area; they are ethnically diverse and great bargains for your money.
Although it was a favorite of mine before the bean-counters did some cost reductions, Todai still isn't bad if you're after massive sushi and you like the basics. It's all-you-can-eat and is a particularly good deal on your birthday because you get a free meal. For a quality sushi dinner, however, there are much much better around. Todai is good if you're really hungry for food "fast" and is better than a sushi-go-round place (when hungry) which the PDX west side has in mass quantities.
Last time I went to Todai in Las Vegas they were MUCH better than the Portland one has ever been. Really long line at opening though -- it's at one of the strip hotel shopping centers (desert oriented one that I recall).
Anyway, I agree it's not for you on your trip, but Todai has it's niche that it does well in.