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Portland Recommendations for First Time Visitors

We'll be in Portland spending just 2 nights downtown at the Westin. Our one full day will be spent visiting Portland State University in the morning and drive part of the Columbia River Highway in the afternoon, at least as far as Multnomah Falls.

Looking for good, solid, Portland restaurants that are moderately priced for 2 dinners and 2 breakfast or lunches. Traditional American, NW seafood, great burgers and places that do good breakfasts are what I have in mind. We'll also be in LA and Vancouver, BC so not looking for Asian, French or Italian food since we'll have plenty to chose from there. Places I've read about in the hotel area so far are:

The Roxy and Fuller's Coffee Shop for breakfast.

Dan and Louis' Oyster Bar for seafood, Huber's Cafe for traditional roast turkey dinner and Mother's Bistro.

Any comments on these places or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Mother's Bistro & Bar
212 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97204

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  1. Kenny and Zukes would be great for any of the three depending on your mood. An excellent deli.

    1. I'll second Kenny & Zuke's, for a breakfast, a lunch or a dinner.

      Burgers - try Slow Bar, just across the river from downtown on the east side, on SE Grand between Washington and Stark just a few blocks north of the Morrison Bridge.

      And if you have the time, don't overlook our food carts! They're great for snacking or meals, there's really no other street food scene quite like ours anywhere else in the country.

      1. +1 food carts--definitely not to be missed.

        You would probably enjoy brunch at Veritable Quandary. Great beet-infused vodka Bloody Mary and delicious crab benedict.

        Dan & Louis's and Huber's have kind of the same old fashioned, dark Victorian feel, but with different emphases (seafood v. turkey). I would pick one or the other and substitute in some place with a completely different feel. The Davis Street Tavern serves good contemporary American/NW and you might appreciate the change of pace.


        Veritable Quandary
        1220 SW 1st Ave, Portland, OR 97204

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

        1. Thanks for your suggestions. Kenny and Zuke's sounds good, as does the Davis Street Tavern. I went to the Slow Bar website and it sure looks interesting!

          I thought I read somewhere that there were some good food carts around PSU. Any particular favorites for a quick lunch?

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: curiousgeo

            As for PSU food carts, I like New Taste of India. I'm not vegetarian but I always get the veggie special and it never disappoints. That said, if you're visiting from out of town, I'd suggest you go to one of the aforementioned restaurants and leave the food carts for the locals. The food can be great, but it can be inconvenient to eat if you don't have an office to run to!

            Taste of India
            111 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

            1. re: MichaelG

              I'm gonna have to disagree about leaving food carts for locals.

              Besides the fact that many pods and individual carts already do arrange for seating, it's just as easy to take your food to a bench, park, fountain, wall, etc... and just enjoy the weather and the people watching. That's one of the things that make cities (especially ours) great to begin with!

              I have lunch at food carts about 3 times a week myself, and I always eat right there or at the nearest park or other public area. You don't need an office to enjoy our street food scene, especially downtown where parks and other public spaces are quite abundant.

          2. Lots of great ideas with links and pics here while our tip sheet is updated:


            1. Bijou Cafe for a lazy breakfast is great. 132 SW 3rd Ave.

              Recently I've been making potato onion hashes for supper with eggs, salmon, or whatever in memory of their great snapper hash!

              1. For Breakfast-

                Byways- its in the Pearl area. You cant go wrong with anything here. I found out about it from the Food Network. http://www.bywayscafe.com/

                The other well known yummy spot is Cadillac Cafe. Excellent food too! I tried to get the website- but some music site comes up.

                1. Thanks everyone for the additional recommendations. I am now being urged by my teenage son to find a good pizza place in Portland, hopefully similar to Serious Pie in Seattle. Two places which look promising and a short taxi ride away from the Westin are Ken's Artisan Pizza and Apizza Scholls. Has anyone eaten at either place? How were they and would they be worth one of our precious meals in Portland? Thanks.

                  Apizza Scholls
                  4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

                  Ken's Artisan Pizza
                  304 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: curiousgeo

                    Well, I would say that you've narrowed it down the right two, but choosing between them is pretty difficult. Both of them have their proponents, and I expect that you'll hear from fans of each of them. Myself, I might give a very slight edge to Ken's because I think their menu is a little bit more extensive (not so much in the pizza area as in the other food that they serve), and I think the wait might be slightly less at Ken's (although you could have a very long wait at either). I know that Apizza Scholls has been known to run out of dough and I haven't heard of that happening at Ken's, so if you're taking a cab from downtown and not on the early side of dinner, you might be safer at Ken's.

                    You can find some very detailed reviews of both (and of Serious Pie for comparison) here: http://thisispizza.blogspot.com/

                    Apizza Scholls
                    4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

                    1. re: Nettie

                      Thanks for the link Nettie. Although I disagree with the review of Serious Pie, those pictures of the pizzas at Ken's and Apizza Scholls look absolutely delicious. You're right about the difficulty of having to choose between them!

                      1. re: curiousgeo

                        I say apizza scholls. Seattle has pies that are similar to Ken's style and approaching on his quality. Apizza scholls has no match. The pizza's are really amazing. Get a half sausage half tartufo.

                  2. I think you'd prefer the Bijou to Fuller's for breakfast.

                    Davis Street Tavern would be great for dinner. Great burger, great food, usually wonderful oysters on the menu. Do this instead of Dan and Louis'.

                    You might have fun at Departure - Pan Asian with an outstanding view of the city!

                    Instead of Mothers, I"d go to Gruner.

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