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Sep 16, 2011 08:06 AM

Family dinner for 6 including one vegetarian - please help with my list

I’m visiting family in Portland coming up and as a gift I wanted to take everyone out to dinner. There will be six of us including one vegetarian so somewhere like Beast is out. I have narrowed down my list to the following:

Irving St. Kitchen
Gilt Club (Looks like they do special dinners for groups of 6 or more)
Castagna (Heard the chef changed does anyone have an update about any changes in quality?)

Any insights or recommendations are much appreciated. I love Le Pigeon and Pok Pok but have been there numerous times and want to try something new.

1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

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  1. I have a good friend who is a vegetarian but still a big foodie, so this comes up a lot.

    Gruner usually doesn't have a vegetarian main. Sometimes they will do an appetizer as a main, sometimes they won't (waitstaff can be a bit flakey) but they always have a lot of vegetarian apps, and two or three makes for a good meal. We always have a good meal here.

    ISK we have only been to once together and it was a while ago, and there was one veg main, but it was really boring and not a patch on what I ate. I'm sure the menu has changed since, but no idea whether the veg options are any better.

    DOC we both love, and they will do the whole tasting course vegetarian (and if you're going with six people, you'll get to try a lot of different dishes)

    Gilt we've done a few times and it has been mixed - sometimes there are a lot of veg options, sometimes few, although the kitchen and staff are always really nice and accommodating. However, though I would say I like Gilt for atmosphere and drinks, the food isn;t quite on par with the other places on your list.

    Nostrana obviously has lots of vegetarian options and it is delicious. I personally don't go there a lot, though, because it is so big and loud and the service can be pretty shaky, but YMMV. Others I know have no problem with this.

    Castagna is amazing (havent been since the new chef, others I know have an say it's still the same, for now at least) but have never been with vegetarian friend, because the one time we called to ask whether they could accomodate, they said they could, but didn't sound very positive about it (it was a while ago now, but it was something along the lines of "we can probably put something together") but that could have just been the staff member who answered the phone. We really should ask again.

    Genoa is a very good option, because it is both excellent food and has a vegetarian menu now, too. Although there is no real fine dining in Portland, Genoa comes closer than most. However, if I were to compare the price fixe menus at Genoa and DOC, I would probably lean towards DOC. It's a little less fancy, but more interesting and the completely open kitchen is so great and they don't give anyone the same dish. I think it's a more memorable dining experience.

    1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

    1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

    2 Replies
    1. re: chalmers

      Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed response. It was very helpful. I just called and left a message for DOC. I really like the idea of everyone getting different dishes and the concept sounds perfect.

      1. re: chalmers


        Sorry I took so long to report back. The dinner with my family close to Christmas at DOC was really fantastic. They had never been to DOC and we were all impressed with the food, service, and unique setting of the restaurant. Not everything hit perfectly but that is to be expected when having so many dishes. The wine recommendations were also quite amazing and the server made sure to always recommend a couple things at different price points.

        The whole family was impressed.

      2. If you all want to try a great vegetarian meal try Natural Selection on Alberta. Amazing food and interesting along with healthy. I like Tabla on NE 28th, they have a nice 3 course for about 25 bucks and a favorite in sellwood is ACena, signature dish angolotti with fresh lobster is a real treat. Both have vegetarian dishes to pick from

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