My wife and I have a bet with 2 friends from Philly that PDX can out duel Philly in a restaurant contest. There are a few guidelines. 3 places, 1 Italian, 1 fish/seafood, so sushi works and 1 any cuisine. At this point I am thinking Ava Gene's for Italian, Roe or Hokusei for fish, and Le Pigeon or Little Bird for the general category. Price is not a consideration but bonus points for low price/great food combo. I am relatively new to Portland, so please any suggestions or critique my list. Thanks!
Ava Gene's is a good pick for Italian.
Though I love Hokusei, for an over the top fancy fish experience, the chef's counter deal (not the regular multi-course, the one you actually have to sit at the counter for) at Roe is hard to beat.
I like both Le Pigeon and Little Bird, but I don't know that I'd pick either for the last category. Ox (especially featuring some of the non-meat options there because the veggie and fish/seafood choices are easily as good) or maybe Racion or Castagna (if you want to go the MG route) or maybe even Aviary...
I'm with you on Ava Gene's. I'd be excited if it were in my neighborhood and I could walk there and be a regular but I don't have an urge to drive across town for what they have to offer. Much prefer Mucca across the board. Depends on what you are looking for in your Italian food though. I think Pigeon is the culty food place of Portland and they live up to expectations.
Not sure if 3 restaurants can determine culinary food superiority but I guess it is someplace to begin the discussion.
Roe for Chef's Counter with tasting menu (must call to confirm) for sure.
I would do Little Bird or OX for the general category.
Italian, consider (in no particular order):
Grassa or Artigiano (these would be the cheaper options, the latter being a food cart)
Perhaps others have some more recent experience at the above mentioned Italian places...