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Mar 27, 2010 12:14 PM

Good food/drink destinations for foodies on a budget in Portland

Hey there!

My beau and I will be spending 3 or 4 days in the Portland area in June, most likely staying in or close to downtown. We love ALL kinds of food, and have no dietary restrictions. We both work in restaurants (Bartender and Waiter), and thus also love good wine, beer, and innovative cocktails!
We don't like sterile, fine-dining atmospheres. We would like some suggestions on where to go for good, solid food/drinks in a cool/casual and/or eclectic/funky atmosphere, where we won't drop a ton of money. We always sit at the bar 'cause we're laid back people. We like to try a variety of things, so shareable small plates/tapas are always very enjoyable for us.
There are so many restaurants and bars in the area that I've reviewed, and I'm getting dizzy! Live music and cool patio hangouts are also a plus!
We are in our early 30's and would love to hear some feedback from you fun-loving locals.
Thank you for your help!


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  1. You'd really be hard-pressed to drop a lot of money anywhere here. Even the high-end places in Portland aren't that "high-end" $$$-wise, relatively speaking.

    One place I'd highly recommend that sounds like youze would enjoy is the Mississippi Marketplace food cart pod (N. Mississippi & Skidmore), where you can pick up a great, inexpensive street food meal from one of the bunch of food carts there and take your food into the German pub next door for a drink -

    It's a bit of a distance from downtown, but there's very easy bus access via the frequent service #4 St. Johns-bound line from downtown.

    I'm a huge fan of Garden State, myself...

    1 Reply
    1. re: JayinPortland

      Thank you for your feedback! Will heed your recommendations as we venture into Portland. We are no strangers to public we'll see what we can do in relatively little time. Cheers!

    2. A couple of places that have smaller and less expensive portions are Clyde Common (particularly the pastas) and Olympic Provisions. Toro Bravo has tapas, of course--while it isn't inexpensive, if you watch what you get you can eat really good food for a reasonable price.

      Tabla has a very good deal on a three-course dinner for $24. Another place where I think you get a great deal is Firehouse.

      Of all of these, only Clyde Common is downtown. I think most of the rest of them are accessible by bus (

      Toro Bravo
      120 NE Russell St Ste A, Portland, OR 97212

      Clyde Common
      , Portland, OR 97201

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nettie

        Thanks for the Gilt Club recommendation! I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, so I am intrigued. Cheers!

        1. re: Nettie

          I would hit some happy hours for great food at a great price. Here are three good ones to try:

          Davis Street Tavern:

          Davis Street Tavern
          500 NW Davis Street, Portland, OR 97209

        2. I would check out the Happy Hour at the Gilt Club on Broadway. Great food- and a giant drink menu.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sexysheep

            Good call on Gilt, sexysheep. For a "keeping it real" atmosphere but some of the best pub chow downtown, Cassidy's is killing it. During Happy Hour (which is I believe 4-6pm and 10pm-2am), the items on the bar menu are $5.75. The Chicken-Fried Pork Belly is insane!

            1. re: sexysheep

              Thanks for your feedback! We're all about keeping it real, and will follow suit with your recommendations. We want to get a good taste of Portland. We've been told by a former resident that it's like our little liberal town of Carrboro, NC...times a thousand. Cheers!

              1. re: sexysheep

                You really hit it on the head with the Gilt Club. I checked out their website, and know we're gonna love it. The description of all their employees is f'in hilarious. Cheers!

              2. will get you updated on what is happening, and the cart pods are a scene onto themselves..Whiffies and Potato Champion @ SE 12th and Hawthorne ( which is open late) are great places to meet folks and have fun conversations.
                Alberta St is worth checking out for live music...Al Forno is opening a bar next to the pizza place and I am sure it will be a fun eclectic place to be.
                The happy hour is an institution here and one of my faves for good food is Davis Street Tavern..and you can check out Ping across the way. Tanuki is further out, but they also have great deals at happy hour.
                Happy eatin...let us know what you liked!

                413 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

                Potato Champion
                SE 12th and Hawthorne, Portland, OR

                1 Reply
                1. Thank you for your feedback! Am definitely interested in the food cart scene in Portland since I've heard so much about it. Just tryin' to get the local vibe as much as possible and get a taste of Portland with all its offerings. Can't wait!