Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Aug 25, 2009 02:24 PM

1 night in Portland, where to go?

Ok, I've been to Portland a few times, but have never really had the chance to really try out the dinning scene. The last time I was there, we went to Screen Door and really liked that. Now I'm planning to head to Portland for 1 night and was wondering where I should go to get a quintessential Portland foodie meal. We're looking for a place (fancy or casual) that screams Portland food scene.

I look forward to all your recommendations! Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Clyde Common, Toro Bravo, Tabla, Davis Street Tavern, Le Pigeon, ten-01, Laurelhurst Market, Beast...

    4 Replies
    1. re: JillO

      Thanks JillO,

      those names keep coming up on the board and I was wondering if I could cut those recs to just 1. If you only had 1 night in Portland and you weren't going to be back for awhile, which restaurant would you go to get that quintessential Portland meal?

      1. re: excel

        My gut says Toro Bravo, though it is a really hard choice as they are all great.

        If you feel you must make a reservation, almost all the others take them, TB does not (but you can always leave your number and go upstairs to the Secret Society Lounge for a very well-made drink).

        I don't care for communal dining, so Le Pigeon isn't as high on my list...

        1. re: excel

          You ask ten people you'll get ten differing replies. What kind of food do you normally like? Are you a huge meat eater, do you like spicy, what level of grunge factor do you enjoy, etc?
          (For what it's worth, I wouldn't go anywhere near Tugboat or Union Jack's, but that's just me.)

          1. re: Leonardo

            Why wouldn't you go anywhere near Tugboat or Union Jack's? Just curious

      2. I think Toro Bravo. They do local, seasonal, and do it very well!

        1. Le Pigeon- By far the best meal I have had in a long time. And very Portland. If you are feeling good after dinner head up the block to Union Jacks, the best strip club ever. For lunch I would suggest Ken's Bakery. Better bread I have not had outside of Europe. For a light Lunch a beer and plenty of atmosphere try the Tugboat in downtown.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PurpleTeeth

            Le Pigeon is a great Portland meal. I agree with purpleteeth, you could hit up Union Jacks and also the Doug Fir for some live music while in the neighborhood. I do the trifecta all the time.

          2. I'll eat anything, any where. As long as the food is good and in this case, as long as the food represents Portland's best. I will admit that I'm not looking for Asian fusion, so pok pok is probably off the list. I'm really big on comfort food - hence going to screen door last time. But, this trip, I just want to experience a place that best represents Portland, and it's food movement.

            Please keep all the recs coming.

            5 Replies
            1. re: excel

              For what it's worth, Pok Pok isn't Asian fusion. But I digress.

              I'd say Laurelhurst Market followed by drinks at Beaker & Flask followed by a fried pie at Whiffies.

              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Ping is fusion, Pok Pok is not. Same co-owner.

                I'd say Tabla.

                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  Yes you're right, Pok Pok is thai not fusion. Either way I'd prefer to have something more "Portland", unless pok pok is quintessential Portland?

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Well, the reason why I say Laurelhurst Market is because the whole "local sustainable ingredient-driven and chef-driven menu" thing is fairly universal, which is why you're getting a whole slew of suggestions, but Laurelhurst Market also has the added bonus of being a butcher shop, so you'll also get to partake in that growing trend.

                    Beaker and Flask likewise allows you to go someplace where not only do they celebrate the local breweries, but local distilleries as well.

                    And Whiffies on the corner of 12th and Hawthorne is a great example of the food cart scene.

                    So really it's a matter of what you're trying to accomplish in terms of your one night in Portland. If the character Portland really could be distilled in one meal or one place, believe me, it would have been suggested, but perhaps you should note that Portland really isn't that "distillable".

                    One more note regarding Pok Pok. It's quintessential Portland in the sense that a Thai joint *doesn't* have pad thai and yet has a long wait list. We're really a city that embraces pretty much anything as long as the idea is followed through with vigor. That's why seemingly simple ideas develop into places with huge followings. Whiffies might be just a fried a pie to the casual observer, but it's a really damn good one, and served out of a space no larger than some trucks. Nong's Khao Man Gai and HaVL Sandwiches sell out by, say, 1pm at the latest. And have fun waiting at Apizza Scholls or Toro Bravo on a Friday night.

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      re: Pok Pok

                      Went to Portland 2 weeks ago from San Diego. A friend had recently been in Portland with the expressed purpose of dining at Pok Pok. So my two Portland friends and I went. It was the most fantastic thai food I have ever had--period. The catfish, the noodles, the shrimp, the pork, the soup, the minced duck salad (was THAT terrific!), the drinks...Ahhh! If only we had anything at all like it in San Diego. I would not have traded it for any other restaurant experience in Portland. It's crowded, and there's a wait--but so what? The food is sublime.