Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Metro Portland >
Jun 2, 2014 04:29 PM

Portland restaurant - Wow for atmosphere?

Its a friend's 70th birthday. Three friends are flying in to take him out to dinner. Yes 70 years young and recently moved to Portland so he has not been out much. He's a foodie but we want a WOW restaurant... some kind of memorable decor and happy to be here ambiance. Where should we go? Would be great if the food is interesting and delicious but this evening is more about the fun of going out together than the food itself. What would you suggest?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: oregonjim

      If we could attribute points to posts here, that post ^^ would easily be a +100 oregonjim. ;o)

      1. re: JillO

        oregonjim, you are very, very naughty!

        I'm not from Portland but we just got back from our 8th trip since 2012 so I'll toss out a couple of ideas:

        Nostrana -- I love the giant windows, and it is quite intimate after the sun goes down even though it is large
        Laurelhurst Market -- a solid steakhouse with an unstuffy, lively atmosphere
        Firehouse -- actually in a repurposed firehouse; elevated Italian influenced comfort food
        Coopers Hall -- spare but welcoming, backdrop of wine barrels and beer making equipment, great cocktails and tasty rotisserie chicken

        1. re: grayelf

          Just trying to give out of the box options.

          Portland City Grill: 30th floor of the U.S. Bank Building. Definitely the best view from a restaurant in town.

          Departures: Top floor of the Nines Hotel.

          Noble Rot: East Side roof top dining with a view of downtown and the sunset if you go at the right time.

          Salty's: Located directly on the Columbia River. Their food is better than you might expect.

          Luciere: Oh, wait. No.

          Quartet: Oops. Nope again.

          Chart House: View from the West Hills. Can see the mountains on clear days. Not sure of their food.

          Aqua Riva: Beautiful restaurant on the river south of downtown. You will have the place to yourself.

          1. re: oregonjim

            Those are all good recs ^^

            I might also add, if you like cocktails:
            Expatriate (very exotic decor)
            Hale Pele (Tiki party!)

            Like a Huge Amount of Meat?
            Perhaps one of the churrascurias in town - Brazil Grill or Fogo de Chao.

            Like modernist cuisine that doesn't take itself too seriously in a chic setting?
            That would be Racion.

            I have never been, but I have heard good things about the food at Uptown Billiards (they do a very reasonable themed 5 course and also have a regular menu). And billiards sound me anyway, YMMV. ;o)

            If bowling sounds fun, there is a new upscale bowling alley with higher end food/drink - Grand Central Bowl. Again, I have not been there.

            Another place I haven't been but will throw out there for you is Punch Bowl Social. They have bowling, darts, marbles, ping pong, shuffle board, and vintage arcade games. And they have a full menu (not just bar food) and bar - and yes, you can order bowls of various punches...very festive, no?

            1. re: JillO

              Uptown Billiards was solid and the concept is neat but the room they put you in for the prix fixe is not decorated terribly interestingly, and it is separated from the billiard tables by floor to ceiling velvet curtains.