Anniversary dinner Portland
hello, my wife and I will be in portland for 3 days from nyc in august. We are fairly big foodies and would like to experience portland NW cuisine or something we cant get in nyc. The first night i have a reservation at Roe, is this one of the better seafood spots in town? For our actual anniversary, i was hoping for somewhere with nice ambiance as well as food and it seemed like le pigeon and some of the other hyped places are super casual. Ox looked great but they dont take reservations, and waiting on our anniversary doesnt seem too romantic. I worry about beast as its tasting menus only with no flexibility. Does anyone have any other recommendations. Noisette seemed interesting and they have a small plates menu which is nice in case the tasting menu doesnt appeal to us. Also, with the amount of food i plan to eat that weekend, on the last night a big tasting menu might be the LAST thing i want. Thank you for any help!
Roe - there is no better seafood in Portland. We typically fly to SF/NYC for this quality of food and design. Thank god they opened here...with Portland approachable prices.
Beast - always a great experience and meal. I believe you can make the res, see the final menu and change your mind.
Yes, yes, yes to Roe. Not only the best seafood option but in my opinion some of the best food in PDX right now. They have a variety of dinner options (a la carte, a 4 course for $65, and chef's tasting - 10 courses - for $100). If you want the latter, though, you have to call and request the counter seating AND the chef's tasting. Highly recommended!
I think you might like Noisette for your anniversary dinner. VERY small restaurant with a nice atmosphere (including outside seating if you want), great service, and a very knowledgable somm. We have been twice and enjoyed it both times. The last time we went we got into a conversation with one of the servers about their house made whole wheat sourdough bread and she brought us a whole round at the end of the meal to take home gratis!
Another fine dining spot that might satisfy your needs is Castagna (not to be mistaken with Cafe Castagna which is more casual). It also has the option of a la carte vs tasting menu. This is the old restaurant of Matthew Lightner who left Portland and is now the chef at Atera in NYC. So obviously there is a new chef here now but many think the food is still just as good as it was when Lightner was here. We never went before he left so I can't comment. The food has a little more of the molecular gastronomy thing going on, if that matters.
My GF and I had a lovely time having a drink at Whey Bar while waiting for our table for our anniversary at Ox last December. They said 90 min, but the wait ended up being closer to 65/70 minutes...and we enjoyed our drinks and each others' company.
The difficulty is that most places in town are casual and not necessarily romantic...inlcuding Ox.
Genoa is a quiet, romantic atmosphere, but it is also a multicourse dinner. It would still be a nice choice for an anniversary dinner, IMO.
Firehouse has beautiful and, I think, romantic outdoor seating and excellent food and drink, but it is also semi-casual.
Have not been to Noisette, but it seems a good option based on descriptions.
I love Nostrana but it is very big and noisy...although it is more sedate on the patio (which overlooks the parking lot ;o).
Wildwood might fit the bill. I love the food there and Dustin Clark is a great chef. The carpeting and booths keep the noise level down too.
Paley's has the right setting, I think, but I am just not a big fan of the food. I had a bad experience there that put me off, but YMMV, it ight be the right choice for you.
I'm from NYC originally, and it is just way more casual here - Portland doesn't do the fancy white tablecloth high end kind of thing. There will always be folks in jeans/shorts/t-shirts/etc. in every place you go around here - no matter the price point. And many of our restaurants have cement floors and unfinished ceilings...and are often also loud as a result of that.
And when I update http://newfoodeden.wordpress.com/2011..., I will definitely be adding Roe and Castagna to the list. VQ's garden and atrium are also lovely places for an anniversary dinner and you aren't limited to a pre-fixe menu. Beast is fantastic; tables are communal, so something to take into consideration.
Have a wonderful time!