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Aug 25, 2011 04:27 PM

Quickie plea for help - walking downtown Portland eateries 2 1/2 days

Hi everyone,

I throw myself on your mercy, because I just have realized on the eve of our trip to mid coastal OR that I forgot to do any research on Portland. We are passing through Portland on the way there (dinner, b'fast mid week) and back (probably lunch, labor day).

Please recommend some places for these meals that I've neglected.

Parameters: looking for northwest fare, continental us, possibly italian, seafood, sandwiches, bakeries, etc. Staying away from asian, indian, etc. because of one member of my group. We will be travelling with 2 kids (elem school) so no place that is too fancy, white linen-y, or long wait-y. Anyplace whose winelist is longer than the food list is a no go. I also want to avoid pubs and greasy spoon diners. Places should have a reasonable number of offerings under $15 (lunch) or $20 (dinner) pp.

Location: within walking distance of Hilton in downtown. I imagine when we all congregate there in late afternoon, we'll do some strolling and then walk to wherever dinner is. Ditto for following morning b'fast after checking out of the hotel.

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  1. Mother's Bistro, 212 SW Stark
    Bijou Cafe, 132 SW 3rd
    Both are very good. Mother's gets busy for lunch--I'm not sure about breakfast.

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

    1. Kenny & Zuke's Deli
      Clyde Common

      And there are lots of great carts, of which Tabor is one - the schnitzelwich is a sandwich which has no equal.

      Clyde Common
      1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

      Kenny & Zuke's Deli
      1038 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

      1. Just a note that Portland has great public transit, and the Hilton is in the quite large free zone. You could head 5 to 10 minutes in any direction and end up with many great choices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Windy

          Great lunch or dinner @ Little Bird, a French Bistro on SW Sixth between Oak and Pine. This is owned by the 2011 James Beard Winning Chef who also owns an upscale restarant on E Burnside called Le Pigeon. Good food.

          Le Pigeon
          738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

        2. As a guy with an 8 year old and a 12 year old, I wouldn't take them to LittleBird. It's a great restaurant, and they'd be welcome there, but it's just fancy enough and expensive enough that I'd be wishing my kids weren't there.

          Ditto on the street car. It's free, fun, and will take you right by a bunch of great places.

          Ditto also on Clyde Common (top of your price range, but great), blue plate and kenny & zukes. Also Cupcake Jones for some tasty treats off the streetcar line. Pearl Bakery.

          Clyde Common
          1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

          1. Thanks all. We already did the first and probably longer stint in Portland. Had dinner at Clyde Common. I would say generally a positive experience. The food was inventive and interesting. Most of the dishes were north of good. However, there are a few drawbacks to the place. First - huge wait for our food after we ordered. On the order of 50 minutes or so - not great w/kids. Then, communal tables which I would think were there to encourage mingling, but then they are so wide that in fact you have to shout to communicate with the person across the table. So we did alot of shouting. It is a very very loud room. Finally, the cooks are pretty heavy handed with the salt (and I like salt!). We were pleased with the fries, fideos app, sturgeon, trout, and duck confit dishes. The steak was a little over chewy (not overcooked, just a particularly sinewy piece I guess. Shared a lovely local pinot gris (I don't recall the vineyard.). We satisfied our sweet tooth at tartberry yogurt, which is a by the lb do it yourself place (fun!). Next morning breakfast was at Bijou cafe. Not bad. Sort of an upclass diner. Roast beef hash was peppery and generous w/meat. The pancakes were declared only average. The atmosphere was pleasant. We were full so didn't eat again until HH at Olympic Provisions. This was our favorite meal by far. We shared 2 chef's choice meat dishes, a rillete hand pie, olives, pickled veg, and a blue cheese plate. Little one had the sweetheard ham sandwich w/chips, a great! deal at $5. Favorite meats were the rillete, coppa, and pork liver mousse. We thought the salami, while fine, was cut too thickly to really get that melt in your mouth effect a good salami will provide.

            When we drive back through, we'll try a food cart - mom is very interested in that. Dad is a little afraid of roach coach. Can you all recommend a more "upscale" truck? Mostly looking not to turn dad off to the concept of carts forever.

            Clyde Common
            1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

            Olympic Provisions
            107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

            4 Replies
            1. re: sasha1

              D st Noshery has some really nice carts...the cleanest cart I have ever seen is the Big Egg @ Mississippi Marketplace.

              1. re: sasha1

                No difference in cleanliness between carts and restaurants. Dad needs to get over that irrational fear.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Not a super helpful reply. He doesn't need to get over anything. He's in his 60s and doing fine thanks. However, since I am the one pushing his envelope if you will, I'd like to get him to a place that doesn't raise his hackles right off the bat.

                  By the way for those who offered suggestions, we'll have to take those up another time. We've been back for a week. We never got to the trucks/carts because our trip was cut short. Next time!

                2. re: sasha1

                  I would say your father's fear is unfounded. Food carts in Portland are nothing like the hotdog vendors in DC (though I'm partial to a halfsmoke, myself).

                  However, for a more positive dining experience, I would recommend the food cart pods on the east side and not the food carts in downtown. The east side pods have more seating while the downtown ones don't.