It’s that time of year again! With the grey clouds of winter ready to break and make way for spring sunshine and summer fun, it’s time to revisit the Portland restaurant scene to take a peek of what’s on offer for 2017.
The fact is, the Portland restaurant diaspora is constantly in flux, which is why we like to check in a couple times a year to provide you with the latest updates on who’s hot and new in a city where establishments come and go with a flick of the lease-price switch.
This pre-summer list will encompass the entire metro area and include a number of different cuisines and offerings, each designed to satisfy the needs of foodies of all stripes. We’ll also pay close attention to the almighty dollar. Whether you want to leave a small fortune at the table or stretch a few bucks into a grandiose meal, all will be represented on our current list.
So, without further delay, let’s dive right in!
If you are looking for a restaurant that manages to blend classic technique with creative flair – all without compromising on flavor, texture or cost – Paley’s Place is an excellent first stop. From bizarre combinations of mussel frites and escargots to other interesting variations on the French theme, head chef Vitaly Paley keeps the dishes full of whimsy without breaking your bank. Enjoy an updated happy hour menu that includes $2 oysters and $5 Old Fashions.
1204 NW 21st Ave Portland, OR 97209
(503) 243-2403 – Paley’s Place Website
Higgins Restaurant & Bar
You’ll get few opportunities in any town to partake in food curated by a James Beard Best Chef Northwest award winner. Pay a visit to Higgins Restaurant & Bar and you’ll be able to do just that. Considered one of the premier downtown spots for a business lunch or dinner before you catch a show, Higgins delivers fine dining delivered in a decidedly relaxed atmosphere. Expect delectable offerings that range from white-wine steamed mussels to grass-fed beef burgers.
1239 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97205
(503) 222-9070 – Higgins Restaurant & Bar Website
Sure, Portland has seen the departure of some big-name vegetarian and vegetable-based restaurants, but that isn’t slowing down the scene one bit. This is Portland, after all. Enter Farm Spirit, where Chef Aaron Adams ushers in a new level of plant-based fare. Expect interesting techniques like fermenting sunflower milk, turning it into a Parmesan-like broth. You can also expect locally-sourced ingredients from this true-blue Pacific Northwest establishment. Their website even lists specific items found in the pantry, which include things like Abalone mushrooms and Hubbard squash.
1414 SE Morrison St Portland, OR 97214 – Farm Spirit’s Website
In a town where there’s a lot of different options for pizza, Apizza Scholls stands out. To many, this longtime Portland establishment stands out as offering the best pizza pie in town. Co-owner and pizzaiolo Brian Spangler whips up house-made, quick-fired crusts topped with loads of fresh mozzarella, pecorino Romano and a ton of locally-sourced vegetables and meats. Sure, you’ve got a lot of new pizza joints to choose from, but Apizza Schools continues to stand out, despite the influx of interlopers.
4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97215 – (503) 233-1286 – Apizza Scholls Website
If you’re looking for some traditional-style BBQ that hits on all the right notes, from salty to sweet and fatty, Podnah’s is the place. Oh, and did we mention that their BBQ sauce is second-to-none? From a delicious brisket, never over-cooked, bursting with flavor and texture, there’s no pretense in this food. Even better? Their breakfast options are simply outstanding. Simply put, there’s a reason why Podnah’s has been serving up BBQ goodness to Portland residents for a long, long time.
1625 NE Killingsworth St Portland, OR 97211 – (503) 281-3700 – Podnah’s Pit BBQ Website
We would be remiss to leave off one of Portland’s biggest up-and-coming supper clubs. Occupying a small space behind Old Salt Marketplace, Mae serves up some truly delicious Southern fare thanks to Chef Maya Lovelace’s steady hand. Whether she’s working with heirloom vegetables or offering up authentic items like rubinette apple butter or tomato pie, Mae is steeped in Southern goodness. Just make sure you act quickly; the mailing list fills up fast and there is no walk-in seating.
5027 NE 42nd Ave Portland, OR 97218 – Mae’s Website
Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed our latest Portland restaurant round-up. The fact is, we could write up a hundred of these and still not touch the surface of everything the Portland restaurant scene has to offer. Still, we hope you enjoy trying out some of these latest, greatest and old stalwarts representing the best of Portland restaurants. Now get out there and get to eating!
William Bessette – PDX People Contributor
William Bessette is a journalist and freelance writer who has been covering politics, entertainment, culture and travel for over thirteen years. When he’s not profiling Portland-area restaurants and residents, you can find him reporting on national and international travel and eco-tourism through his travel brand, Floppy Hat Adventures.